Students breathe a sigh of relief as executive order extends a hold on student loan payments

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — It’s a pause button that’s worth thousands of dollars for some college graduates.

In the first hours of his presidency, President Joe Biden signed more than a dozen executive orders. One of them extends a hold on student loan payments.

“I have worked both full- and part-time the entire time I’ve been in college to save up and to be able to afford going to college,” Darian Rader said.

Still, the UNC-Greensboro graduate student has some hefty payments ahead of her.

“In total, I’m looking at about $40,000 in student loans,” Rader said.

When she gets her master’s degree in May, she’ll join the 40 million Americans with a federal student loan waiting to be paid back.

The average payment is $200-300 per month.

“With living expenses and everything else, I’m hoping to have enough time to secure a job that will help me with that,” Rader said.

Now, she will have at least an extra five months to save up to pay it all off.

Biden’s executive order suspends student loan payments and any interest accrual until September 30, 2021.

“It was a huge relief to know that they were pausing and considering all of the impacts the pandemic was having for people,” Rader said.

While she knows the day will come when she has to pay up, Rader feels better knowing she has some extra time to financially plan.

“It is important to pay those things back and to do your diligence, but I think the living expenses and all of those things, kind of come as a priority to me,” Rader said. “Knowing that that’s something I’ll be able to prioritize first is really beneficial. I’m hoping we’ll see that continue as we keep working towards managing the pandemic.”

There was already a pause on student loan payments in place since March. It was set to expire at the end of the month.

The extension only applies to federal student loans, not loans backed by private lenders.

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