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Biden administration announced suspension of student loan forgiveness program through June 2023.

Credit: Jesse Zhang , Anna Vazhaeparambil

President Joe Biden announced that he will extend the pause on federal student loan payments through June 30, 2023.

The Department of Education suspended federal student loan payments at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide borrowers with more leeway during the difficult financial period. Last Tuesday's announcement is the eighth time the moratorium has been extended since March 2020, when it was put in place in response to the pandemic, according to CNN.

The announcement comes amid court challenges to Biden's student loan forgiveness program. Forbes reported that the program — which promises to offer up to $20,000 of debt relief for millions of borrowers — was blocked by a federal appeals judge in October, which prevented the plan from moving forward. Earlier this month, the Biden administration stopped accepting applications after another court struck down the plan as "unlawful."

"As Americans continue to recover from the pandemic, my Administration's been working to provide student debt relief to millions of working and middle-class families across the country," Biden said in a Twitter video about the matter. "It isn't fair to ask tens of millions of borrowers eligible for relief to resume their student debt payments while the courts consider the lawsuit," he added.

Biden said he hopes the extension will give the Supreme Court time to reinstate his student loan forgiveness program. The Department of Education said it will restart payments 60 days after either litigation is resolved in favor of the program, or 60 days after June 30 if the program has not been implemented.

The Department of Education said that as of early November, around 26 million people had applied for Biden's student debt forgiveness program, and 16 million borrowers had their applications approved.

Throughout the moratorium, borrowers have been free from most loan payments. Interest and collections on defaulted debt have also been suspended, with borrower balances effectively frozen, according to CNN.

In the same video posted to Twitter, Biden went on to say his administration's efforts have been restricted by "Republicans special interest and elected officials" and that he is "completely confident [his] plan is legal."

"Callous efforts to block student debt relief in the courts have caused tremendous financial uncertainty for millions of borrowers who cannot set their family budgets or even plan for the holidays without a clear picture of their student debt obligations" wrote Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona on Twitter.

Last year, Biden's plan received backlash for not including loan forgiveness for students who attend Ivy League schools and other elite universities. Penn students criticized this move, saying that the President was ignoring the financial burdens of first-generation and low-income students.