What happens when almost everyone with student loan debt stops paying, for years : Planet Money The pause on federal student loan payments was just extended for the sixth time in two years. So...what's that been like for the borrowers, and what's in store for them when the system eventually restarts? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here. | Planet Money TikTok has been nominated for a Webby award! Cast your vote for us here.

The student loan paaaaauuuuuse

The student loan paaaaauuuuuse

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1093113723/1198960201" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images
A US flag flies above a building as students earning degrees at Pasadena City College participate in the graduation ceremony, June 14, 2019, in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)
Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

In March 2020, the Trump administration paused student loan payments. Suddenly, collections stopped for most federal borrowers. Now, two years later, the pause has been extended six times. The Biden administration recently pushed the restart date back to September 1.

For some borrowers it has been a period of sweet, sweet relief. They've been using the money they usually put toward student loans to do all kinds of things – pay off other debts, buy a car, even have a baby.

On today's show, why hasn't the government restarted student loan payments? And will borrowers be ready when the switch finally flips?

This episode was produced by Willa Rubin. It was engineered by Isaac Rodriguez and edited by Molly Messick.

Music: "Falcon Hood," "Ant Farm," "Tropical Heat," and "Mello D."

Find us: Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / TikTok

Planet Money TikTok has been nominated for a Webby award! Vote for us here.

Subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify; and NPR One.

Want economics stories from the comfort of home? Subscribe to Planet Money's weekly newsletter.