Roxanne Dougherty made payments on her student debt during the pause at the start of the pandemic.
After Biden announced broad debt relief, she asked to be refunded her $5,000 in voluntary payments.
Six months later, she’s still waiting — and hasn’t been able to get help from her servicer.

Roxanne Dougherty always made sure she was staying on top of her student-loan payments.

After graduating from a state school in 2014, Dougherty had about $25,000 in student debt — after receiving a Pell Grant — that she started paying off immediately. She missed just one payment on her loans when she first got out of college, and Dougherty said it dinged her credit report right off the bat. Since then, she’s always diligent in paying them off as fast as she financially can.

“Even if they say I don’t have to pay, I still pay because I’m so afraid of the consequences,” Dougherty, 31, told Insider.

That’s why she kept on making payments on her student loans when President Donald Trump first implemented the payment pause in March 2020 to give borrowers relief from the financial strains of the pandemic. She wanted to take advantage of the 0% interest on her loans during the pause to make a dent in her balance, and she now holds just over $10,000 in student debt after making about $5,000 in payments during the pause, according to documents viewed by Insider.

Roxanne Dougherty, 31, is waiting for a $5,000 refund on her student-loan payments.

But President Joe Biden’s August announcement of up to $20,000 in student-debt relief changed things for Dougherty. Federal Student Aid reiterated at the time that borrowers who made payments during the pause could get a refund on those payments by contacting their student-loan servicer. The process was estimated to take six to 12 weeks, and borrowers with a balance below $10,000 who made payments during the pause would get refunded automatically.

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Dougherty jumped on the opportunity, requesting a refund in September from her student-loan company, the Higher Education Loan Authority of the State of Missouri.

A month later, she decided to consolidate her eight federal loans into two because she believed it would help her credit. She later worried it would interfere with her refund, so she said she asked to cancel her consolidation request. But after following up multiple times with MOHELA regarding the status of her refund, the only communication Dougherty said she received from the company was that her consolidation request went through.

Now she’s left wondering whether she’ll get the $5,000 back that she was promised — on top of Biden’s broad student-debt relief.

“I’m 31. I’m trying to invest in myself with a home and start a family soon, but we’re really limited on how today is with the economy, how things are going with the housing market and all of that,” Dougherty said. “Five thousand dollars would really help our situation right now and relieve us of some of the stress that we’ve been going under since we settled …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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