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Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read our methodology to learn how we check claims.


Summarizing an analysis by the nonpartisan nonprofit Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Education Next reported, “The pause of collections on loans, interest, and defaults costs $5 billion per month” — the same amount the U.S. Education Department said was saved by about 40 million student loan borrowers.

Student loan repayments were first paused by the Trump administration in March 2020 because of the pandemic. The Biden administration ordered more pauses.

On June 3, 2023, President Biden signed legislation raising the federal debt ceiling that prevents him from extending the pause past the end of the summer, when it’s set to expire.

Federal student loans are made by the government. Interest did not accrue on these loans during the pause, but continued to on private student loans issued by financial institutions and schools.

Forty-five million Americans collectively owe $1.6 trillion in federal student loans, according to the New York Times.

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


Education Next Student Loan Payment Pause Benefits High-Income Households the Most

Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget Student Loan Pause Could Cost $275 Billion

US Department of Education Biden-Harris Administration Extends Student Loan Pause Through May 1, 2022

New York Times What the Debt Ceiling Deal Means for Student Loan Payments

Federal Student Aid Federal Student Aid

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Tom Kertscher joined as a Wisconsin Watch fact checker in January 2023 and contributes to our collaboration with the The Gigafact Project to fight misinformation online. Kertscher is a former longtime newspaper reporter, including at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who has worked as a self-employed journalist since 2019. His gigs include contributing writer for PolitiFact and sports freelancer for The Associated Press.