Some individuals will receive a refund for student loans paid during the pandemic pause. (Courtesy of Student Loan Planner)
Some individuals will receive a refund for student loans paid during the pandemic pause. (Courtesy of Student Loan Planner)

Despite criticism from Republicans and even some Democrats about the Biden-Harris administration’s massive student loan forgiveness, silver linings tucked within the plan continue to reveal a wide range of benefits.

When the federal government paused student loan repayments in March 2020, many borrowers used the money to pay down their principal debt.

Now, those who did just that count among those in line to receive refunds for any payments made during the pause – a result of the Biden Administration’s new plan.

“You can get a refund for any payment including auto-debit payments you make during the payment pause beginning March 13, 2020,” administration officials wrote. 

They advise borrowers to contact their loan servicer to request a refund.

According to CNBC, Kaitlyn Koterbski, a personal finance fellow at Fortune, described her personal experience of getting a refund this way, reporting that it took “two phone calls and several hours on hold with her student loan servicer for her refund of nearly $3,000 to be processed.”

The network noted that several tweets and TikTok videos have also featured borrowers sharing their stories about how they were able to get refunded for payments made since the freeze began in March 2020.

President Biden extended the moratorium on payments for a final time through December 31.

The administration has continued to push everyone to visit the Federal Student Aid website for details about the plan and how to receive refunds or other benefits.

“This is a big deal,” said Dr. Tony Allen, the President of historically Black Delaware State University and the chair of the President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs.

“HBCUs do more with less,” Allen asserted. “Less is no longer acceptable and the Biden Administration has heard us in word and deed.”

Still, criticism from the right continues– and the White House has taken notice.

In a series of tweets, the White House spotlighted lawmakers complaining about student loan forgiveness despite the government ultimately forgiving those members of Congress Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.

The White House account specifically homed in on GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Reps. Markwayne Mullin and Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania and Vern Buchanan of Florida.

Each received large PPP loans during the pandemic.

Greene went on television to call Biden’s student loan forgiveness unfair – to which the White House Twitter account sprang into action.

“Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene had $183,504 in PPP loans forgiven,” the White House tweeted along with a video of the congresswoman complaining about Biden’s new student loan policy.

On Fox News, Buchanan insisted, “As a blue-collar kid who worked his way through college, I know firsthand the sacrifices people make to receive an education. Biden’s reckless, unilateral student loan giveaway is unfair to the 87% of Americans without student loan debt and those who played by the rules.”

Tweeting the video, the White House rebuked Buchanan: “Congressman Vern Buchanan had over $2.3 million in PPP loans forgiven.”

Also on Fox, Mullin claimed, “We do not need farmers and ranchers, small business owners and teachers in Oklahoma paying the debts of Ivy League Lawyers and doctors across the U.S.”

The White House fired back and put him on blast:

“Congressman Markwayne Mullin had over $1.4 million in PPP loans forgiven.”

Responding to Hern’s tweet that claimed the administration “forced [taxpayers] to pay for other people’s college degrees,” the White House replied, “Congressman Kevin Hern had over $1 million in PPP loans forgiven.”

The White House also pointed out that Congressman Mike Kelly had $987,237 in PPP loans forgiven and Congressman Matt Gaetz had $482,321 in PPP loans forgiven.

Social media erupted over the White House’s diss of Republicans attacking loan forgiveness.

“Today is the day that Joe Biden officially became the second Black president of the United States,” Twitter user @BlackKnight10K wrote. “Because only my people would do some [stuff] as gangster as this.”

@BlackKnight10K wasn’t done.

“Yo, the White House twitter account has temporarily reinstated slavery in the United States because they are owning every single Republican who had a PPP loan forgiven,” the user wrote.

Added U.S. military veteran Eric Garcia: “My house provides shelter. The White House provides shade.”

The White House “Twitter account pulling a ‘this you?’” Philip Lewis, a Huffington Post editor, tweeted.

Singer and actress Malynda Hale tweeted, “The @WhiteHouse putting Republicans on blast that had PPP loans forgiven is the kind of petty [thing] I want to see more of. Drag them. DRAG. THEM.”

Rep. Eric Swalwell of California chimed in: “Dear GOP colleagues, before you offer your hot takes on student debt relief, please make sure you or your colleagues didn’t have one of your government loans forgiven. Otherwise, I will absolutely scorch you.”

Biden also offered a hot take.

“To those Republicans in Congress who believe student debt shouldn’t be forgiven: I will never apologize for helping America’s middle class – especially not to the same folks who voted for a $2 trillion tax cut for the wealthy and giant corporations that racked up the deficit,” Biden wrote. 

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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