Death to Commuting
March 13, 2020 is a day that will be forever remembered in history.
It’s the day that Augusta National announced they were postponing the Masters Tournament to a later date, courtesy of COVID-19. The Masters being postponed was a BIG deal. The last time the Masters was threatened by cancellation was in 1942 — months after the US declared war on Japan and then Germany in, yep, freakin’ World War II.
March 13, 2020 basically marked the unofficial beginning of the pandemic in the US. And as of late, it’s a date that’s come back into fashion because of the recently announced student loan forgiveness by the Biden Administration.
It just so happened to be the date that federal student loan payments were “paused”, alleviating the heavy financial toll the pandemic was expected to take on many. During the “pause”, borrowers weren’t required to pay their monthly minimums and could sleep at night knowing they wouldn’t accumulate interest.
Today, if you have student loan debt and make less than $125,000 as an individual (or $250,000 for households), you qualify for up to $10,000 in student loan forgiveness, and up to $20,000 if you’re a Federal Pell Grant recipient.
For me, this was a bit of a kick to the nuts. I had just paid off the last of my student loans at the end of 2021 after more than 12 years of having them on my balance sheet. While I was super happy for my girlfriend’s $17,500 debt to be wiped, I couldn’t help but feel a little cheated. However, I soon learned that you could request a refund for any payments made during the “pause” from your federal student loan provider (e.g. Nelnet), and they’re obligated to return your money.
That’s when I became hype af.
I had about $9,000 in payments made during the “pause”, and now that money is on its way back to me as we speak, which means eligibility for student loan forgiveness is back on the table. Big win for Team Jason.
That whole experience got me thinking about other things that have happened since the pandemic. Namely, the desirable death of my commute to and from work.