Joe Biden New York 2020 pandemic Department Joe Biden New York

Paid your student loans during the pandemic? Here's how to get a refund

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NEW YORK (AP) - When President Joe Biden announced a plan to forgive student loan debt, many borrowers who kept making payments during the pandemic wondered if they'd made the right choice.Borrowers who paid down their debt during a pandemic freeze that started in March 2020 can in fact get a refund — and then apply for forgiveness – but the process for doing that hasn’t always been clear.If you think you’re eligible, here’s what you need to know:Borrowers who hold eligible federal student loans and have made voluntary payments since March 13, 2020, can get a refund, according to the Department of Education.For some people, that refund will be automatic.

You can get a refund without applying if your payments brought your loan balance below the maximum debt relief amount: $10,000 for all borrowers, and $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients.

Borrowers can check their balance in their account.For example, if a borrower paid $100 a month for 10 months of the pandemic and their balance is now $8,000, that $1,000 will automatically be refunded.

Then they can apply to get the rest of their debt forgiven.But if a borrower paid throughout the pandemic and still owes $14,000, they won’t get an automatic refund.

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