The White House announced Tuesday that President Barack Obama will delay the federal government’s repayment of federal student loans until April 16, 2020, as part of a wider effort to reduce the number of people who take out federal loans.
The decision is a major win for students and lenders, who were hoping to see an increase in the number and quality of federal loan forgiveness as more borrowers and their families moved to public school.
Obama, who has proposed several ways to reduce student loan debt, has proposed deferring federal student payments until the end of 2019.
The new deadline, which the White House called an “economic reality,” comes as federal student aid is expected to be $5 trillion in the next five years, and has been the subject of controversy.
“Today’s decision is another step in the right direction to lower student loan repayments, while protecting the interests of students and families,” said the White.
“The decision is an important one that will allow students to be able to continue receiving federal financial aid while reducing student loan delinquency rates.
The Administration will continue to work with Congress to achieve a more affordable and secure student loan solution, and we thank all our partners in Congress for their leadership in implementing this plan.”
The announcement came after a meeting of the Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday, which said that postponing payments for a decade would save taxpayers $6.5 trillion.
The Congressional Budget office also projected that postponement would save the government $7 billion in the coming years.
The CBO estimates that the new plan would save more than $9 billion in interest payments over the next decade.
The administration has been negotiating with the Republican-led Congress over the new student loan plan.
Student loan interest rates have been rising at an average of about 5.2% a year since 2013.
Obama has proposed many measures to reduce college affordability, including a $1,500 cap on federal student grants, which will limit the number the federal Government can give to students who qualify for aid.
The cap on grants has been in place since 2010, but has not been enforced because of concerns over whether it will affect college affordability.
The budget office estimates that students with an outstanding federal loan would save $4,600 a year if the cap were not in place.
While the new deadline has been postponed, the Obama administration has said that it will continue making progress toward lowering the number who take on federal loans, and will continue working with Congress on measures to make student loan payments more affordable.
“The President’s plan to defer federal student repayments until April 20, 2020 is another important step in ensuring that our students can continue to receive federal financial assistance while reducing debt and student loan interest,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
“It is good news for students, borrowers, and the economy, as we have already reduced student loan default rates, lowered the cost of borrowing, and helped millions of borrowers and families who are already making payments.
And as we work to lower interest rates on all student loans, we’ll continue to continue our efforts to ensure that every American can make repayments without worrying about default.”