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Published: Dec 07, 2020 6 min read
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The Education Department gave millions of Americans a brief reprieve Friday when it extended a payment pause for federal student loans for an additional month. Ultimately, borrowers may be able to avoid making payments until much later in 2021, experts say.

Relief for student borrowers had been scheduled to expire at the end of the year. The announcement from the Education Department officially extends the relief through Jan. 31, and it helps to avoid a chaotic situation in which borrowers may have been required to make one payment in January before then being put back into forbearance.

Several experts told Money in interviews around the election that there was a very high likelihood an incoming Biden administration would continue a policy started under the CARES Act by leaving interest at 0% and allowing federal borrowers to avoid making payments for at least a few months into 2021, if not longer.

“There’s generally recognition that it needs to be extended across the board, given that we’re still in the thick of the reason for doing it in the first place,” Michele Streeter, a senior policy analyst at The Institute for College Access and Success, said at the time.