Selected Student Loan Borrowers to Receive Refunds Aside From Loan Forgiveness: Who's Eligible?

By Leira Aquino

Mar 27, 2024 01:16 AM EDT

The Biden administration is reviewing payment histories and granting long-awaited forgiveness to borrowers in repayment for 20 to 25 years, while those who paid loans longer than needed are now eligible for refunds.
(Photo : Paul Morigi/Getty Images for We, The 45 Million)

The Biden administration has rolled out a substantial relief measure targeting a specific group of student loan borrowers. Students who have diligently made payments for years under income-driven repayment and forgiveness programs are finally witnessing the fruition of their long-awaited loan forgiveness.

Moreover, as a welcomed addition to this relief, certain borrowers are also receiving refunds for the payments they've made beyond the point of eligibility, as reported by CNBC.

Student Loan Forgiveness: Who Qualifies for Refunds?

The underlying issue stems from a systemic failure in tracking qualifying payments by loan servicers, as higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz elucidates.

"Loan servicers were not tracking the number of qualifying payments, and the automatic forgiveness was not occurring,"  Kantrowitz said.

Consequently, countless borrowers found themselves shackled to their loans for years, or even decades, past the juncture where forgiveness should have been granted.

In response to this predicament, the Biden administration has undertaken a comprehensive review of payment histories, targeting borrowers who have been in repayment for 20 to 25 years, explained Persis Yu, Deputy Executive Director at the Student Borrower Protection Center. 

These individuals are now being granted the long-overdue forgiveness they were promised.

Moreover, to rectify the injustice of borrowers paying loans longer than necessary, those who continued payments beyond their eligibility for cancellation are now eligible for refunds.

READ NEXT: Joe Biden Announces Another Student Loan Cancelation for 74,000 Borrowers: Here's Who Qualifies

Biden Administration Streamline Student Loan Forgiveness Process

The scale of this endeavor is substantial. Nearly 3.9 million borrowers have already benefited from student loan cancellation, totaling a staggering $138 billion in relief.

The convoluted nature of student loan repayment programs, coupled with lapses in oversight by loan servicers, has left many borrowers in financial limbo. 

Nadine Chabrier from the Center for Responsible Lending points out the root of the problem.

"This is due, in part, to strong financial disincentives for student loan servicers to inform consumers about the program and their ability to qualify for it," Chabrier said.

In light of these challenges, the Biden administration's initiatives aim to streamline the forgiveness process and ensure that borrowers receive the relief they are entitled to. 

Ultimately, these efforts seek to alleviate the burden of student loan debt for millions of Americans. 

READ MORE: Joe Biden Lambasted Online for Bragging Supreme Court 'Didn't Stop' Him From Canceling Student Loan Debt

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