NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York Sen. Charles Schumer is pushing the Biden Administration to extend the payment freeze on student loans.
Schumer said Monday he is asking for the extension as the omicron variant spreads.
The pause is currently set to end on Feb. 1.
He said student loan debt can be overwhelming and COVID only casts more financial uncertainty.
"With the advent of omicron, the continuation of COVID, students should not have this burden placed on their shoulders," Schumer said. "If we don't extend the pause, interest rates just pile up students owe a fortune."
A credit repair specialist at Better Qualified in Eatontown, New Jersey agrees the extension is desperately needed.
The pause has helped millions of students put off paying their student loans to focus on their health and make ends meet with many job situations changing because of COVID.
If an extension is approved, the specialist says do not waste that time either. Talk to the loan companies to make sure you're able to pay up when it's time.
Schumer said the Department of Education should also take into account the impact reinstating these payments will have on borrowers who were in default before the pause on payments began.
Those borrowers can potentially have their wages garnished and tax refunds withheld if the payments now resume, further complicating the economic hardships of COVID.
The average student pays nearly $400 a month in student loans.
New Yorkers owe $91 billion in student debt.
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