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WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The federal government is extending its federal student loan forbearance, pausing interest accrual and halting collections activity into the next administration and Congress.

The COVID-19-related actions were set to expire at the end of year, but Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced Friday an extension until Jan. 31, 2021.

Federal loan borrowers can still make payments on the principal of the loan, since there is 0% interest rate, but no payments will be required until at least February.

“The coronavirus pandemic has presented challenges for many students and borrowers, and this temporary pause in payments will help those who have been impacted,” said Secretary DeVos in a statement. “The added time also allows Congress to do its job and determine what measures it believes are necessary and appropriate. The Congress, not the Executive Branch, is in charge of student loan policy.”

Loan payments have been on pause since March 13.

President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn into office on Jan. 20. The 117th Congress will begin meeting Jan. 3.