When I had student loans I was able to make minimum payments on mygreatlakes (the website I was directed to go to after graduating). I have some recollection about these being special loans with extra protections; I know I had to fill out a fafsa form every semester in order to get the loans, and I think the interest was fixed at some low number, maybe 3% but it's been a decade or two since I thought about the loans any further than "I need to make this payment"
I didn't go about refinancing because I had heard horror stories about variable interest; I also didn't need to look into an income based repayment because I was fortunate enough to be able afford to make payments. I also recognize that my loans were under a special program, presumably with lots of extra regulation -- it was explained to me when I applied that since my education wasn't like a car or a house (something that could be repo'd), the student loan issuers wanted to ensure that I had the best change of paying it off.
With the news about student debt relief, I'm hearing about people who were making payments reliably and having their balance either barely move or even increase in value. I'm not discounting the veracity of these stories, just asking how things like this occurred -- I know the general rule of credit is to set minimum payments so that they would cover at the very least the interest and a few pennies of the principal.
Also, how does the changes packaged with the $10,000 relief changed this? Is it still possible for the balance to go up when making payments?
TL;DR -- How could a student loan balance go up instead of down if the debtor was making consistent minimum payments, also is this still possible under the recent changes from the Biden admin?