May 2023

Implications of Student Loan COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Measures for Families with Children

Sarena Goodman, Simona Hannon, Adam Isen, Alvaro Mezza


The initial years of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic fallout likely posed particular financial strain on U.S. households with children, who faced income disruptions from widespread jobs and hours cuts in addition to new childcare and instruction demands. One common expense for many such households is their student loan payment. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act included provisions to curb the impacts of these payments, which have been extended several times. These measures were not targeted and thus applied independent of need. This chapter analyzes two nationally representative datasets and finds: 1) families with children were more likely to benefit from pandemic student loan relief than those without children, but this relief was concentrated among higher-income and White families and 2) there were larger improvements in overall credit health and an increased use of other credit among families with student loan debt that was eligible for relief relative to those with student loan debt that was not.


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Last Update: May 05, 2023