BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — In August, President Biden announced a plan to help millions of Americans help pay off their student loans, and that process is expected to roll our within the coming months. But some borrowers can try to get some of their money back that they paid during the pandemic.
“If you made payments during the pandemic of which only 1.2 percent of payers have done, but if you’ve done that, you may wish to apply for a refund by November 15th in order to have sufficient time for that request to be processed,” said Anthony Ogorek, certified financial planner and President & Co-Founder of Ogurk Wealth Management.
According to financial advisors, 98.8% of people who have student loan debt took advantage of the pandemic pause on student loan payments. However, if you made payments during the pause, you can choose to apply to get a refund on those payments if you want to.
We spoke to Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Buffalo, who provides student loan counseling services for students and their loans, on whether this will be beneficial to loan payers.
“For those that made payments after March 13th, 2020, if those loans are eligible they can get refunds of the payments that they made,” said Robby Dunn, Vice President of Counseling of Consumer Credit Services Buffalo. “The benefit of possibly doing this is to get those payments that you possibly made refunded, and possibly you can then get that amount forgiven with the student load forgiveness cancellation announcement that’s made.”
According to Dunn, only a small amount of borrowers continued to make student loan payments throughout the pandemic, and many who did were unsure if they didn’t need to make them or they were taking advantage of the 0% interest, which helped pay down the balance that they owed.
“It can be a good strategy to get those payments refunded and then potentially get them forgiven, but I will caution people, that a lot of experts are said and are advising to wait until more specific details come out from the department of education, before taking any aggression of active steps like that,” said Dunn. “Remain patient, there will be more details coming out on all of this as we get further into the end of the year, hopefully sooner rather than later, so that we as borrowers know what steps we need to take and what strategies we can implement.”
According to both Dunn and Ogurk, there’s no guarantee that applying for a refund for these pandemic payments will give you more of a refund in your pocket, and as more information regarding this is released, it’s important to stay connected with the information with the Student Aid announcements.
“I think the best way for people to perceive is to have a good relationship with their loan service care provider because they are really the connector between the government and people who got the loans,” said Ogurk. “The question would be if you were to get these payments that you made refunded, payments you made during the pandemic when payments weren’t required, if you could get those back, the question will be is it a for sure thing that your balance will increase back up and you can get that full amount given.”
As more information regarding this policy is expected to be released in the next few months, these advisors say people who want refunds should contact their Service Loan Providers, and if they would like their refunds by the end of the year, claim them by November 15.
For more information on student loans, and the qualifications for these refunds and loans, visit the Federal Student Aid’s COVID-19 loan payment pause page here.
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