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Published: Jul 10, 2023 7 min read
People for student debt relief demonstrate in front of the White House
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Alex Dwan just wanted to be debt-free. Early in the pandemic, she was doing fairly well financially and decided to pay off her remaining $2,300 in federal student loans ahead of schedule.

For a little while, she enjoyed that elusive debt-free status. Then she took advantage of a trendy student loan “hack,” it backfired, and now — thanks to the recent Supreme Court decision striking down President Joe Biden's student loan forgiveness plan — 28-year-old Dwan is financially worse off.

Once again, she's stuck with the debt, and payments are restarting soon.

She's not alone. Data from the Department of Education suggests at least 9 million borrowers are eligible for refunds for the payments they made at any point during the student loan moratorium that's been in place since March 2020 (and is still in effect until the end of August). How many borrowers have actually received refunds remains unclear — but many of those who did were banking on forgiveness, leading them to use the cash for other expenses.

Now that they're on the hook again, that refunded money simply isn't there anymore.