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Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

Income Tax Bankruptcy2There are several Student Loan forgiveness programs which cancel all or part of your federal student loans. Each program has different eligibility requirements. Although an IBR or ICR will make the loan affordable and allow the loan to be discharged these programs will pay it off sooner or reduce the payments even more. If you are in an IBR or ICR and have problems making payments due to unemployment you should have your payment recalculated and never apply for a forbearance or deferment. If you are unemployed your IBR or ICR payment should be zero, Every year you are in forbearance or deferment does not count towards the 20 or 25 years of repayment.

Major Programs

The major loan forgiveness programs are outlined by the US Department of Education here. The charts about each program are here. This includes:

  • Total and Permanent Disability
  • School Closure
  • False Certification of Ability to Benefit
  • Unauthorized Signature/Unauthorized PaymentFalse Certification (Identity Theft)
  • False Certification (Disqualifying Status)
  • Unpaid Refund
  • The largest program is Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) where: If you work full-time in certain public service jobs you may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance of your Direct Loans after you’ve made 120 qualifying payments on those loans—that’s usually about 10 years of payments. Serving in the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps is considered qualifying employment. For loan repayment and borrower eligibility requirements, see Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

If you teach full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in certain elementary and secondary schools and educational service agencies that serve low-income families, and meet other qualifications, you may be eligible for forgiveness of up to a combined total of $17,500 on certain federal student loans. For details about this program, see Teacher Loan Forgiveness.

There are additional situations that allow you to apply for cancellation of your federal student loans. For example, if you are totally and permanently disabled, a member of the U.S. armed forces (serving in area of hostilities), a member of the Peace Corps, or a law enforcement or corrections officer, you may be eligible for cancellation of a portion of your federal student loan.

Learn more about how you may qualify for loan forgiveness. One of the problems is that your loan servicer is paid by collecting fees while you are in default and the program they may steer you into will be the one that makes the most money for them and not the program that is best for you. Since it isn’t in the servicer’s best interest to have a loan being paid on time they often are unclear at best and often dishonest in sharing information. Often you have to work through your loan servicer to process any student loan forgiveness program. If you can process the forms directly with the US Department of Education you may get more honest information.

Additional programs

Other programs include:

  • Military Service: In acknowledgement of your service to our country, there are special benefits and repayment options for your student loans available from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Defense. Learn about federal student loan benefits for members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • AmeriCorps: The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award is a post-service benefit received by participants who complete a term of national service in an approved AmeriCorps program – AmeriCorps VISTA, AmeriCorps NCCC, or AmeriCorps State and National. An AmeriCorps member serving in a full-time term of national service is required to complete the service within 12 months. Upon successful completion of the service, members are eligible to receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award which can be used to pay educational costs at eligible postsecondary institutions, as well as to repay qualified student loans.

Remember, there are resources available to help you repay your loans. In addition to loan forgiveness and other benefit programs, you also have other options if you find yourself in a situation where you’re having trouble making your loan payments.

If you want further information on loan forgiveness and all of the different programs you can research it further at StudentAid.gov/repay.