The pandemic-era federal student loan payment pause expires at the end of August, but Education Secretary Miguel Cardona suggested an extension might be coming.
"We're having conversations daily with the White House, and borrowers will know directly and soon from us when a decision is made," Cardona told Tuesday's "CBS Mornings."
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, about 40 million Americans have had their federal student loan payments put on hold with zero interest.
President Joe Biden extended the pause in April through Aug. 31, but borrowers are potentially on the hook to restart payments in September, barring another extension.
Progressive Democrats and activists have pressured Biden to fulfill a campaign promise to cancel all or some of student debt.
Cardona said the administration wants to fix the "broken system" of costly and debt-crippling higher education.
"The president has been very clear about making sure we're leading with students first, and we've been proud of the $28 billion in loan forgiveness up to this point and the policies that we've changed to fix a broken system," Cardona told CBS. "We recognize that Americans are waiting, and we'll be communicating with them as soon as we can."
Cardona was appearing as the Education Department granted $3.9 billion in debt forgiveness for federal student loans to the now-defunct for-profit college ITT Technical Institute.
ITT Educational Services Inc, which ran ITT Technical Institute, closed its roughly 130 campuses and filed for bankruptcy in September 2016, amid growing regulatory scrutiny of for-profit colleges' recruiting and financing practices.
The loan forgiveness will cancel student debt for 208,000 borrowers, the department said in a statement.
"It is time for student borrowers to stop shouldering the burden from ITT's years of lies," Cardona told Reuters.
The department also said it had formally notified DeVry University that the for-profit school is required to pay $24 million in approved borrower defense claims. The department said DeVry had misled prospective students about graduates' employment prospects, a charge the school has denied.
Student debt cancellation has become a priority for many liberals and one that could shore up popularity with younger and more highly educated voters, who lean Democratic, before November's midterm congressional elections.
Last month, Biden said the government would cancel $6 billion in student loans for 200,000 borrowers who claimed they were defrauded by their colleges.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.
Eric Mack ✉
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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