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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Natow

Biden's Day One Executive Orders and Higher Education

Yesterday was Day One of the Biden administration, and as promised, President Joe Biden signed a series of executive orders undoing many Trump-era federal policies. Some of Biden's Day One executive orders have implications for higher education.

From CNN: "The Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation, has been in limbo since President Donald Trump tried to terminate the program in 2017... Biden signed a presidential memorandum directing the Homeland Security secretary, in consultation with the attorney general, to take actions preserving the program. Biden's proposed immigration legislation will include an immediate pathway to citizenship for beneficiaries of the program."

From PBS: "Biden is asking the Education Department to extend a pause on federal student loan payments through at least Sept. 30, continuing a moratorium that began early in the pandemic but was set to expire at the end of January. Borrowers, who owe a collective $1.5 trillion, would not be required to make payments on their federal student loans, their loans would not accrue any interest, and all debt collection activity would halt through September."

Biden also ordered a freeze on recent regulations passed at the end of the Trump administration, pending review.

The president stopped short of forgiving student loan debt via executive action, at least so far. From PBS: "Biden’s order does not include the type of mass debt cancellation that some Democrats asked him to orchestrate through executive action. He has said that action should come from Congress."

NPR reports that more executive action is expected today, focusing on COVID-19. This is expected to include additional guidance for schools to reopen.

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