How To Qualify For Student Loan Forgiveness Even If You Paid Your Debt Off

Borrowers who paid their loans between March 13, 2020, and today can request a refund and qualify for additional student loan forgiveness.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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There are plenty of reasons for Americans to be upset over President Bidens decision to cancel student loan debt. For many, it was a feeling of unfairness, as millions of citizens have gone through college and paid their debt off without government help. But for those who recently paid down their loans, some can still qualify for student loan forgiveness, here’s how. 

Imagine a student loan borrower that was not required to make payments to their federal student loans for the past two years because of a nationwide payment moratorium. Let’s say this borrower had the means to continue paying down their debt and did so. During that period of time, they brought their balance down from $11,000 to $8,000. 

Logically, one would think that this means they only qualify to have $8,000 wiped from their student loan debt. However, according to the Department of Education, this individual would still qualify for the program’s full refund of $10,000. However, there are some stipulations.

To fall into this category, borrowers had to have widdled down their student loan debt between now and March 13, 2020, according to reports from The Associated Press. For some, the refund will be automatic, and others will have to apply through this website.  But most important of all, borrowers must first apply to have those payments refunded to their balance.

Likewise, borrowers that paid off their entire student loan debt during the pandemic can apply for a refund. For example, let’s look at a  borrower that held a balance of $3,000 as of March 13, 2020. If they paid that bill off completely, they can apply for a $3,000 refund today.

To request a specific amount of student loan balances refunded, borrowers will have to go through their loan service provider. At the present time, all of these requests are being done by telephone, and borrowers cannot make requests through email or websites. When Biden first announced the student loan forgiveness program weeks ago, providers were bogged down with calls.

To date, loan providers and borrowers are both reporting that the length of time waiting for customer service has drastically improved. Most callers report only holding for minutes. However, student loan borrowers should be cautious, as some have reported that the loan service providers may try to persuade them from making the refund request.

After the refunds are approved, the balance goes back into the account. At that point, borrowers can qualify and apply for student loan forgiveness. This information came directly from a spokesperson from the Department of Education, speaking directly to The Press.

For those unsure of whether or not this applies to them, it is best to first check which loan you held or still owe on. Borrowers can do this by logging into their dashboard at studentaid.gov and look to the “my loan services” section. If you are unable to log in, you can call the Federal Student Aid office at 1-800-433-3243.

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Above all, it should be noted that borrowers should make absolutely sure that their student loan qualifies for federal relief before requesting any payment refunds. Borrowers have more than a year to get this taken care of, as the deadline to apply for a refund is December 31st, 2023. Once refunds show up back in the borrower’s accounts, the education department recommends applying for student loan forgiveness, which can take about four to six weeks to be processed.