How to get a refund on loan payments you've already made

Pnative Biden announced a plan this week to forgive up to $20,000 per borrower in federal student loan debta long-awaited measure that would eliminate the student debt burden of about 20 million Americans.

The plan would forgive up to $10,000 in federal student debt for people making less than $125,000 a year and up to $20,000 for borrowers who attended college on Pell Grantsdesigned to help low-income students and meet the same income requirements.

Biden also expanded on the pandemic pausing federal student loan payments “for the last time” until December 31, announcing that borrowers are expected to resume payments in 2023.

But if borrowers were still making payments during this pause, which began on March 13, 2020, they can request a refund of any federal loan payments made during that time period.

“You can get a refund for any payment (including Auto Debit payments) you make during the payment pause (from March 13, 2020),” according to explainer on the Department of Education’s federal student aid website.

Who is eligible for student loan repayment?

Borrowers who continued to make payments on their federal student loans as of March 2020 are eligible to request a refund, although the majority of borrowers did not continue making payments during this pause.

Only 1.2% of borrowers did so, according to analysis from Department of Education data by Mark Kantrowitz, student loan expert.

How to request a refund

The U.S. Department of Education said borrowers should contact them servicing credit to request a refund of payments made during this window.

In addition to those refunds, the department plans to release an app in the coming weeks that borrowers can use to apply for loan forgiveness under Biden’s new plan. About eight million borrowers could get debt relief automatically if they qualify for forgiveness and their income information is already on file with the Department of Education.

Is it a good idea to get a refund?

Under the Biden administration’s new debt relief plan, relief for eligible borrowers is limited to the amount of outstanding debt they owe. For example, if a borrower qualifies for $20,000 in debt relief but has already paid off up to $15,000 of their student debt, they will not receive more than $15,000 in debt relief.

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Write to Katie Riley c [email protected].

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