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The Complete List of Student Loan Forgiveness Programs and Options


Have you ever wished that your student loans would just go away? While there is no easy way to snap your fingers and have your student loan debt magically disappear, there are ways to get your student loan debt forgiven.

There are various student loan forgiveness programs out there for people that work in public service, education, and more. Some states are even helping debt-saddled graduates with their loans as well.

Whether you’re struggling with six-figure debt or looking for “free money” to pay off your student debt, student loan forgiveness can be a nice alternative.

Get a PDF of the forgiveness programs. Yours to keep forever.

Here is the complete list of student loan forgiveness programs:

1) Public Service Loan Forgiveness

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is a federal program that assists those working in public service jobs, such as nonprofits, manage their debt loan through forgiveness after 120 payments (ten years).

Who is eligible?

Full-time employees at a federal, state or local government agency as well as nonprofit workers at an organization with a 501(c)(3) designation. For purposes of this program, religious-based work at a non-profit does not qualify.

Which loans are eligible?

  • Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford/Direct Loans
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford/Direct Loans
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loans
  • Federal Direct Consolidations Loans

It’s important to note that Federal Perkins Loans and Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) are not eligible for forgiveness through this program unless you consolidate them via a Direct Consolidation Loan from the Department of Education (see below). However, Perkins loans do have their own special cancellation program (more info below).

What are the requirements?

  • Make 120 on-time payments towards your Direct Loans
  • Payments must be under a qualifying plan. Qualifying plans include: Income-Based Repayment (IBR), Pay As You Earn Repayment (PAYE), Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE), Income-Contingent (ICR) and Standard Repayment. (Note that for many borrowers it makes sense to go with an income-driven plan to maximize the amount you will have forgiven and lower monthly payments.)
  • Work full-time at a qualifying organization. You do not have to work at the same place for ten years to qualify

How can I become eligible?

Consolidating your loans with federal government can be a good first step when pursuing Public Service Loan Forgiveness. A Direct Loan Consolidation combines all of your federal loans into one new single loan (even previously ineligible loans like Perkins or FFELs can be included and become eligible). During the consolidation process you can also choose an alternative repayment plan. However, you should keep in mind that consolidating your loans will typically reset the payment count for PSLF.

If it sounds like you might not qualify for PSLF, answer a few questions below so we can help point you towards other repayment options. Otherwise, scroll down to read on.


How do you apply for Public Service Loan Forgiveness?

  1. Fill out the Employment Certification Form each year, or as you change jobs.
  2. Submit the form as instructed.
  3. FedLoan Servicing will review your information and let you know if you qualify. They may ask for more information and ask for pay stubs, W-2s, or other documentation.
  4. FedLoan Servicing will let you know how many qualified payments you have made, and how many payments you will need to make until you qualify for forgiveness.
  5. Once you become eligible, you will submit a PSLF application. It is currently not available, as the first rounds of loans to be forgiven is slated for October 2017.

Currently, there is no limit on the amount forgiven under Public Service Loan Forgiveness. In other words, the full amount of your federal student loans is eligible for forgiveness.

If you have any additional questions, check out our full post on Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

2) Teacher Loan Forgiveness

Teachers are a key asset to the community and play an indispensable role in the lives of children. But it’s no secret that teachers are underpaid, which can affect how teachers pay back their student loans for their own education.

Luckily, there is the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, which helps forgive a portion of debt.

Who is eligible?

Teachers who work at low-income schools are eligible for this program. Check out the Annual Directory of Designated Low-Income Schools for Teacher Cancellation Benefits to see if your school qualifies.

Which loans are eligible?

Direct Loans and Federal Stafford loans are eligible for student loan forgiveness for teachers. Unfortunately, if you only have PLUS loans, you are not eligible for this program.

What are the requirements?

  • You must teach in a low-income elementary or secondary school
  • You cannot have loans that originated before October 1, 1998
  • Your loans must not be in default
  • Work full-time as a teacher for five consecutive years
  • Be a highly qualified teacher, which means obtaining state certification and holding a license in the state you teach in

Highly qualified elementary and secondary school teachers may receive up to $5,000 in loan forgiveness.

Teachers that are considered ‘highly qualified’ and teach math, science, or work in special education are eligible for up to $17,500 in student loan forgiveness.

How do you apply?

After teaching for 5 years, you can apply for teacher loan forgiveness by completing the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Application and then return your application to your loan servicer.

3) Teacher Cancellation for Federal Perkins Loans

If you have a Federal Perkins Loan and are interested in pursuing education, you are in luck. You can have up to 100 percent of your loans forgiven, in a short amount of time.

Who is eligible?

Full-time teachers at low-income public or nonprofit elementary or secondary schools or those that specialize in certain subjects, like math, science, and special education.

There are other special circumstances that make teachers eligible for this program. These include: working in a private school that has its nonprofit status, working at an educational service agency or teaching in a designated subject shortage area.

Which loans are eligible?

Only the Federal Perkins Loans are eligible for this program.

What are the requirements?

Teachers must work full-time for a full academic year to qualify for loan cancellation. Qualified teachers are eligible to have:

Qualified teachers are eligible to have:

  • 15 percent of their loans cancelled for the first and second years of service
  • 20 percent of their loans cancelled for the third and fourth years of service
  • 30 percent of their loans cancelled for the fifth year of service

Therefore, after five years of service, qualified teachers with Federal Perkins Loans can have 100 percent of the loans cancelled.

How do you apply?

First you will need to request certain forms from the office that administers the Federal Perkins Loan program at the school that has your loans. You will need to provide various types of documentation, at the school’s request. The school handles determining whether you qualify or not for the loan cancellation.

4) Special Teacher Forgiveness Programs by State

As the burden of student debt increases, some states are coming to the rescue in order to keep their workforce and help borrowers. A number of states have programs that benefit teachers — here is a sample of a few.

New York

The New York City Loan Forgiveness program offers teachers working in certain shortage areas the opportunity to forgive a portion of their loans. The award amount varies, but its value is up to $24,000.

Teachers must work for 6 years in an authorized New York City Department of Education school. Learn more about eligibility, requirements and the application.


The Teach for Texas Loan Repayment Assistance Program can forgive up to $2,500 for teachers that work in a field as well as a community, where there is a shortage of teachers. Learn more about the program here.


The Illinois Teachers Loan Repayment Program is awarded to teachers who work in low-income schools. You must work in a low-income school for 5 years. Teachers must be eligible for a federal loan forgiveness program — this program can make a matching award up to $5,000.

Find out more information about the program here.

5) Special Forgiveness Programs for Doctors by State

Doctors are an asset to society and a necessary part of public health. However, being a doctor comes with years of education and a hefty debt load. Luckily, these states offer some relief in the form of special forgiveness programs for doctors.

New York

The Regents Physician Loan Forgiveness Award Program can help physicians practicing in New York and award up to $10,000 each year, for 2 years. Applicants must be licensed in New York State and have completed residency in the past 5 years. The focus on this program is primary care. Applicants must agree to work in a specific area or work with an underserved population. Find out more.

In addition, there is also the Physician Loan Repayment – Qualified Educational Loan Repayment, which awards up to $150,000 to physicians that commit to a 5-year term of working in an underserved region.


Healthcare professionals like doctors, nurses, pharmacists and dentists can apply for The Health Professional Loan Repayment Program. This program awards up to $35,000 per year, for 2 years. Healthcare professionals must provide primary care in an underserved or rural area.

Get the full scoop on this program.


Primary care practitioners such as doctors and dentists can get up to $100,000 (yes, really) awarded for working full-time for two years with medically underserved populations.

Physicians must be licensed in Pennsylvania and meet certain requirements. Learn more about this program, which has one of the best awards we’ve seen.

6) Federal Perkins Loan Discharge for Nurses

Did you use Federal Perkins Loans to pay for your schooling? If you work as a full-time nurse, you might be eligible for up to 100 percent of your loans discharged.

What are the requirements?

You must be a registered nurse and employed full-time. Loans aren’t discharged immediately, though; instead, they are discharged over five years.

How do you apply?

You can apply through your loan servicer or through the school that disbursed the loans.

7) NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program

If you work in an underserved community, you might be eligible for the NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program. You can get up to 60 percent of your student loans in two years of employment. If you work for a third year, you might qualify for another 25 percent being paid.

What are the requirements?

You must a registered nurse and work in a facility that is qualified as a Critical Shortage Facility. You need to work at least 32 hours a week at the facility.

How do you apply?

Applications are accepted once a year, and guidelines are updated annually. Check the program requirements and guidelines ahead of time and turn in your application on time.

8) Special Forgiveness Programs for Nurses by State


The SHARP program recruits healthcare professionals to work in certain areas of shortgage. In return, they get loan assistance as long as they work at a site with an employer match.

Nurses can receive up to $27,000 per year in loan assistance under the Tier-2 program.


If you work in a healthcare shortage area, you might be eligible for help under the Arizona Loan Repayment Program. Nurse practitioners can work full- or part-time at a qualified facility for at least two years. You can get up to $50,000 in repayment help for each year of service.


Registered nurses working in a Health Professional Shortage Area or Medically Underserved Area in California can receive up to $8,000 to help with student loans. You must work for two years. After that, you can reapply and get up to $11,000 in assistance.


The Colorado Health Service Corps program offers full-time nurse practitioners the chance to receive up to $50,000 in repayment assistance for working in for three years in a qualifying organization. Half-time nurses can receive up to $25,000.


The Florida Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program offers up to $4,000 per year for those who work in Health Professional Shortage Areas at qualifying organizations. Your loans must come from a nursing education program, and you must be licensed as an LPN, RN, or ARNP in the state of Florida to qualify.


If you work in a Health Professional Shortage Area in Hawaii, you can receive loan assistance. You need to work full-time for two years or half-time for four years to qualify. Award amounts vary based on available funds, as the Hawaii State Loan Repayment Program is a grant program.


Idaho offers a program to a variety of healthcare professionals, including nurses, who work in Health Professional Shortage Areas. The awards range from $5,000 to $25,000 a year, depending on where you work and your qualifications.


If you are a nurse committed to working in a veterans’ home, you could be eligible for repayment assistance of up to $5,000 per year. You do need to be an Illinois resident and meet licensing requirements. Your employment must be verified in good standing by the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs.


Iowa offers the Registered Nurse & Nurse Educator Loan Forgiveness Program which helps pay off up to 20 percent of your student loan balance.

You must be employed in Iowa to qualify. If you hold a master’s degree or higher and teach at a qualified college or university, you can qualify as a nurse educator. You must be in good standing with your federal loans and be employed at least quarter-time.


If you commit to working in a Health Professional Shortage Area for two years, you can receive up to $20,000 in repayment assistance from the Kansas State Loan Repayment Program. This award is open to a variety of healthcare professionals.


For every dollar provided by the program to help repay your student loans, your employer, a foundation, or a friend needs to match as well. You must work in an area that is qualified as a shortage area for two years to qualify. You can get between $20,000 and $40,000 depending on your designation.


Receive up to $15,000 a year in repayment help when you commit to three years in a Health Professional Shortage Area or nonprofit in Louisiana. If you are licensed in Louisiana and in good standing with your student loans, you can get this help if you work full-time.


The Janet L. Hoffman Loan Assistance Repayment Program offers between $1,500 and $10,000 per year for three years. You need to work as a nurse in low-income and underserved areas, and your gross salary can’t be more than $60,000. Awards are given based on how much student loan debt you have.


You can get up to $200,000 over eight years to help you repay your student loans through the Michigan State Loan Repayment Program. You need to be a nurse practitioner in an area that is considered underserved and work at least two years.


The Minnesota Nurse Forgiveness Program provides assistance to registered nurses or licensed practicals who are willing to work in a licensed nursing home or with the developmentally disabled. You need to work for at least two years, and receive up to $5,000 a year. You can apply to extend for another two years.


If you are a registered nurse working full-time at a Montana state hospital or prison, you might be eligible for the Montana Institutional Nursing Incentive Program. With this program, you need a loan balance of at least $1,000. You will receive assistance based on state funding and candidates applying for help. You can apply for up to four years.


You can participate in the matching fund program offered by Nebraska. It’s designed to attracti healthcare professionals. Employers willing to help with student loan repayment can receive matching funds from the state, up to $20,000 a year. You must be willing to work three years in an area designated as one with a shortage.

New Hampshire

You can receive up to $45,000 for working three years in an underserved area with the New Hampshire State Loan Repayment Program as a nurse practitioner. You can apply to extend by another two years and an additional $20,000 when you complete your three years.

New Jersey

The Primary Care Practitioner Loan Redemption Program offers certified nurse practitioners the opportunity to get up to $120,000 in assistance over four years. You need to work in Health Professional Shortgage Areas to qualify, depending on your outstanding loan balance.

New Mexico

Get up to $25,000 or $35,000 a year from the New Mexico Health Professional Loan Repayment Program if you are an advance practice nurse working full-time for two years. You must be licensed in New Mexico and a resident, and work in a designated area.

New York

If you are a registered nurse with a graduate degree, you might qualify for the New York State Nursing Faculty Loan Forgiveness Program. You can receive up to $8,000 a year for up to five years if you work as an educator in the field of nursing.


Ohio nursing students who plan to work as nurses or instructors post-graduation can receive loan assistance from the Nurse Education Assistance Loan Program. You get up to $1,500 per year, and it’s possible to receive up to 100 percent loan cancellation if you work as a full-time nurse in Ohio for five years.


The Oregon Partnership State Loan Repayment program is designed to attract healthcare providers, including registered nurses and nurse practitioners. If you work in a Health Professional Shortage Area for two years, you can have a percentage of your loan balance repaid. You can also apply for additional years.


As a registered nurse who works full-time in designated areas, you might be able to receive up to $60,000 in repayment help if you commit to two years. You can receive $30,000 in help if you are a half-time worker.

Rhode Island

Take advantage of the Rhode Island Health Professional Loan Repayment program if you are a nurse practitioner or registered nurse working in an underserved area. You can make a two-year commitment for full-time work or a four-year commitement for part-time work. Award amounts vary.

Rhode Isalnd also offers up to $5,000 a year in repayment help for nursing faculty for up to four years.


If you are a Tennessee resident with a nursing license and you are enrolled in a higher education nursing program, you might be eligible for the Graduate Nursing Loan Forgiveness Program. This program acts as a student loan program that forgives you after you work as a teacher after you finish your higher degree.


Receive up to $10,000 for working at least 12 months as a health care provider in an underserved area. You just can’t be a physician to take advantage of the Rural Communities Health Care Investment Program.


The Educational Loan Repayment Program for Nurses provides up to $10,000 a year when you work 12 or 24 months in an area that underserved. You must work at least 45 weeks each year and dedicate 20 hours a week to clincial hours.


Serve two years as a nurse in Virginia, and you could be eligible for up to $25,000 a year toward your student loan balances. You need to have a post-baccalaureate certificate or master’s degree in nursing from a school accredited by the National League of Nursing and work in your field at least 40 hours a week to qualify.


If you work as a primary care provider for three years, you can receive up to $75,000 from the Health Porfessional Loan Repayment Program. You must work in an area designated as a Health Professional Shortage Area.

West Virginia

The State Loan Repayment Program offers up to $40,000 for a two-year commitment in a rural, underserved area. You must be a full-time nurse. You can extend for another two years and be eligible for up to $25,000 more.


Nurses can receive up to $100,000 in loan repayment help through the Health Professions Loan Assistance Program. You must commit to work in an underserved community for at least three years to be eligible.


If you work full-time as a nurse in a qualifying Health Professional SHortage Area, you cn receive up to $20,000 in help paying your student loans. You need to work for at least two years.

9) Special Forgiveness Programs for Lawyers by State

Lawyers are increasingly facing high debt loads as well as high unemployment — not a good combination. But certain states are offering help. Here is a sample of a few states offering forgiveness programs for lawyers.

Washington D.C.

The District of Columbia Bar Foundation Loan Repayment Assistance Program helps qualified attorneys by awarding up to $12,000 annually.

The program seeks to increase the amount of lawyers working with low-income communities. Applicants must be a D.C. resident, in good standing with the bar, and also working in the law field for at least 17 hours a week. Learn more.


The Loan Repayment Assistance Programs for Lawyers awards up to $5,000 per year for lawyers who work at legal aid or legal services organizations.

Applicants that work full-time or part-time for a year are eligible for having their loans forgiven annually. More info, including who to contact.


The John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program awards up to $10,000 annually to attorneys who work in certain sectors, like juvenile delinquency. Applicants can have up to $60,000 total forgiven.

Attorneys must be licensed in Michigan and be in good standing with the bar. Find out more here.

10) Forgiveness With Income-Based Repayment

While this isn’t a forgiveness program in the typical sense, you can get your loans forgiven through the Income-Based Repayment program.

Through income-based repayment, your student loan payments are capped at 10-15 percent of your discretionary income. After making consistent payments under IBR for 20-25 years (terms depend on when you borrowed), your remaining loan balance will be forgiven.

It’s important to note that under current tax law, loans that are forgiven under this program can be taxed as income. Keep this in mind when pursuing this program, so you are not surprised by a potentially large tax bill.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for income-based repayment, your payments must be less than what your payment would be under the Standard Repayment Plan. This is an easy requirement to meet if you have a much larger debt load, compared to your income.

You can use the Repayment Estimator tool to help you calculate your payments, to see if you qualify. You will need to either log in or proceed without logging in to use the tool.

Which loans are eligible?

The types of loans eligible for Income-Based Repayment include:

  • Direct Loans
  • Direct PLUS loans for graduates and professionals (Direct Plus loans made to parents are not eligible)
  • Direct Consolidation loans
  • Federal Stafford loans
  • FFEL PLUS Loans made to graduate or professional students
  • FFEL Consolidation Loans, which did not repay any PLUS loans made to parents

What are the requirements?

Borrowers must make consistent payments for 20-25 years and update their loan servicers when their income changes. Again, this option really only works for those that expect to stay in low-paying fields, but have high-figure debt loads.

How do you apply?

To apply for Income-Based Repayment submit an online application at StudentLoans.gov. You can also obtain a paper from from your loan servicer. You will need to provide documentation as requested, such as proof of income and a tax return.

11) Forgiveness With Pay As You Earn

Pay As You Earn is similar to Income-Based Repayment in that it isn’t a typical forgiveness plan, but you are eligible for forgiveness after a certain period of time.

The Pay As You Earn program caps your monthly payment at 10 percent of your discretionary income. Under the Pay As You Earn program, borrowers make payments for 20 years. Any remaining balance is then eligible for forgiveness.

However, under this plan your forgiven balance can also be seen as taxable income, so be sure to weigh the costs and benefits of pursuing forgiveness through this program.

Who is eligible?

Similar to IBR, your must have some financial hardship and your payments must be less than what they would be under the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan.

Which loans are eligible?

The loans that are eligible under the Pay As You Earn plan include:

  • Direct Stafford loans
  • Direct Grad PLUS loans
  • Direct Consolidation loans, excluding those that include a Parent PLUS loan or a loan made prior to October 1, 2007

What are the requirements?

You must make consistent payments under the program for 20 years in order to be considered for loan forgiveness. Your payments will be based on your income and family size. In order to qualify for the program, you need to be a new borrower as of October 1, 2007, with a Direct Loan disbursement after October 1, 2011.

How do you apply?

To apply for this program, complete an application on StudentLoans.gov and be prepared to send in income documentation to qualify.

While pursuing student loan forgiveness or cancellation may seem like the easy option, as you can see it still takes some work. Not only that, but each program is pretty particular about the requirements.

Our final words:

If you are ineligible for student loan forgiveness, but are having trouble managing your loans, you have a few other options:

The key is to talk to your lender and explore all of your options, so that you can effectively manage your student loans.

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Published in Direct Loan Consolidation, Direct Subsidized Loans, Federal Student Loan Repayment, Pay As You Earn (PAYE), Pay Off Student Loans, Private Student Loan Consolidation, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Student Loan Forgiveness, Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans, Teacher Student Loan Forgiveness

  • Brooke

    Hi! I found this extremely helpful, thank you. However, I am a teacher who is NOT in a low income school district, with private and FFEL loans – it looks like there is zero possibility of forgiveness for me. Am I correct?

  • Clint Haynes

    Great piece. Quick question. I have a client who is an attorney that works for a school district in Missouri. Would he be able to apply for the Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness Program?

    • Hi Clint,

      If he’s an employee of the school district, it sounds as though he may be eligible. You can find out for certain by having him submit the Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness form here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/public-service-employment-certification-form.pdf

      When you do this, the government servicer will verify his employment and other information is eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

      Hope this helps. Let us know if you have other questions.


      Student Loan Hero

      • Clint Haynes

        Thanks, Jeffrey!

  • shana

    I have had calls from a lot of companies that all tell me I qualify for $0 payments for the next 20 years (income based) and they can do it for $500-$1500. Is there a government website where I can apply and not pay these companies? Also, what does entering a program do to a person’s credit? Naturally, not that I would want to, I could not take out another student loan. But how else would it affect my credit?

    • Hi Shana,

      I’d be very careful with this. It sounds like a scam to me.

      Yes, you can apply for income-driven repayment options with the government for free and without needing to pay for any outside service. You can do that here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/understand/plans/income-driven

      You might also do this from with our app (if you qualify) by creating a free account here: https://secure.studentloanhero.com/users/sign_up

      In terms of $0 payments, it’s true you can qualify for this if you have a low income. This shouldn’t negatively impact your credit either.

      However, at a minimum, you need to pay 10% of your discretionary income towards your student loans on these plans. So if your income increases and you can suddenly afford to make payments (according to the repayment guidelines), you’d no longer be paying $0 per month.

      Does this make sense? If not or if you have other questions, let me know!


      Student Loan Hero

  • Emmalee

    I have a super problem. I finished two years of my undergrad however I won’t be able to finish because I have had extreme hardships with my family not making me able to apply as a dependent anymore on my fafsa however I am not old enough to apply as independent even though I completely support myself. Between working my waitressing job and having to pay for rent and insurance, I can’t afford the monthly loan payment. What do I do ?

    • Hi Emmalee,

      Sorry to hear about the troubles you’re going through. Do you have federal student loans? If so, the first thing I’d do is take a look at income-driven repayment options. You can find them here: studentloanhero.com/featured/complete-guide-income-driven-repayment-plans-federal-student-loans/

      Hope this helps. If you have other questions, let me know!



      • Kayla Bullard

        Hello Emmalee,
        I just thought I would share with you that I also came from a hard rough family and my mother would not sign for me to help with my fafsa. I went to the office in the school and explained my situation, there is a way around it. I had to get 3 people to write letters stating that I was fully independent and that the situation I explained was true and they wound up letting me do it on my own. So I would def talk to them about it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to finish school! Best of luck!

  • Hi Shelby,

    Typically the payment is based on the AGI from your last tax return you filed. So you’ll use this number unless you believe your income now is significantly different from that number. If so, you’re typically given the option to prove what your income actually is presently.

    I’m not sure exactly how your waitressing income would fit in, but considering how much you make on average each month is likely a reasonable way to estimate if you need to do so.

    I hop this helps. Let us know if you have other questions.


    Student Loan Hero

  • Hi Sandy,

    Sorry to hear about this. Are these federal or private loans? If they’re federal loans, you may have the option to at least go on income-driven repayment. If they’re private, you likely can’t do much except to talk to your servicer.

    Unfortunately, I do not think there are any forgiveness programs that can help you with this.



  • Hi Joshua,

    I’m not sure if there are any options here unless she has total permanent disability. In this case, it would be a discharge or cancellation. You can read more here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation#when

    If you have any other questions, let me know.



  • Hi Maryann,

    Thanks for your question. You may be able to, but it depends. Please see this post for more information: https://studentloanhero.com/federal-student-loans/parent-plus-loan-forgiveness-is-possible-heres-how-to-get-it/



  • Hi Michael,

    To be honest, I’m really not familiar with this. However, this article may be helpful: http://www.studentloanborrowerassistance.org/loan-cancellation/school-related/false-certification/ability-to-benefit-atb/

    If you have other questions, let me know.



  • Hi Marivi,

    Which repayment plan are you on? Forgiveness is offered after 20-25 years of repayment depending on your degree and the plan you’re on. You’ll also need to have a balance left to repay after that period.

    Once you find out which repayment plan, you can see above what the forgiveness requirements are.

    Hope this helps. Let me know if you have other questions.



  • Teresa Turner

    Can my student loans be forgiven if I have kids with special needs? I am not able to work because of it..

  • Hi Irene,

    Generally, someone needs to be employed for at least 30 hours per week at a nonprofit or in government. Is that the case for your son? If so, it’s likely he qualifies.

    Hope this helps. If you have other questions, let me know.



  • Hi Heather,

    Thanks for your question. The answer is that that really depends. I’d do the math on both and see which results in a lower overall amount paid.

    Are you comparing the teacher loan forgiveness to Public Service Loan Forgiveness?

    In any case, our calculators here may be able to help: https://studentloanhero.com/calculators/

    If you have other questions, let me know.



  • Hi Jennifer,

    It’s likely the only option when it comes to private loans is to look into refinancing. You can learn more here: https://studentloanhero.com/featured/5-banks-to-refinance-your-student-loans/

    Unfortunately private lenders typically just won’t do much to adjust payments, regardless of any circumstances. Your best bet is to talk to the servicer directly to see what the options are, if any help is available at all.

    If there’s anything else I can do, let me know.



  • DeJean Marker-Brock

    Hi Jeffrey, I took out 3 separate loans. 1st was subsidized FFEL Stafford Loan for $4287 in Sept. 2008. 2nd and 3rd was unsubsidized FFEL Stafford Loan. 1st loan is at 6% the other two are at 6.8%. I have not made one payment. Was single mom and able to defer due to income and a lot of the time not working. Then had mild stroke and filed for Social Security Disability now waiting for court date. I am not able to defer anymore used all up. No income coming in except husbands. We were married 2 years ago as of April 19, 2016. We filed taxes jointly. Looking for any advice on how to get payments very low or deferred for a little longer. Navient has given me till Aug. 24, 2016 to figure something out. Any help is much appreciated.

  • David Han

    Under the Teacher Loan Forgiveness,

    I have Direct Loans and Federal Stafford loans. I have not began the teaching process but I wanted to know about the following two statements from this article:

    1) “Highly qualified elementary and secondary school teachers may receive up to $5,000 in loan forgiveness.”


    2) “Teachers that are considered ‘highly qualified’ and teach math, science, or work in special education are eligible for up to $17,500 in student loan forgiveness.”

    If I wanted to teach elementary, I am only eligible for $5,000 in loan forgiveness, but if I teach Math in secondary, I will be able to get up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness?

  • Hi Keyona,

    We generally advise borrowers not to pay anyone for services. There’s typically no need to as all these programs can be accessed for free through the federal government without a monthly fee (although you’ll still have to make your monthly student loan payments, of course).

    You can sign up for Pay As Your Earn for free simply by applying with the Dept. of Ed. Here’s the link: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/understand/plans/income-driven

    Are you currently working for a nonprofit or government agency? This is the only way to be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (which I think you’re referring to). You can read more here: https://studentloanhero.com/featured/public-service-loan-forgiveness-do-you-qualify/

    I hope this helps. If there’s anything else I can do, let me know.



  • Sarah Milton

    I owe about $45,000 dollars in student loans, I called a student loan forgiveness company, they will definitely help reduce my payment from $600 a month to $39.00 a month, but they want $800.00 for enrollment into the program. Does this sound legitimate, that just sounded a little steep. Please advise me.

    • Hi Sarah,

      No, this does not sound legitimate to me. I don’t know of any programs that these companies have access to that a normal borrower can’t already access for free. From the sounds of it, they’re simply enrolling you in income-driven repayment, which you can do for free. You can learn more here: https://studentloanhero.com/featured/complete-guide-income-driven-repayment-plans-federal-student-loans/

      Before signing up, I’d ask them how they’d reduce your payments. Unfortunately, student loans don’t magically go away, so they must be accessing some sort of program to do this. I’d find out more and see if you can do it yourself (and save $800).



  • Hi Nikiya,

    Sorry to hear about your troubles. It seems like an income-driven plan would be able to help you. Are you ineligible for some reason? I can’t seem to figure out why you would be from your description.

    Outside of that, I don’t think there’s a whole lot you can do if you have federal student loans you want forgiven.

    Let me know, and we can take it from there.



  • Hi Karla,

    The rules I’m reading state: “You must not have had an outstanding balance on Direct Loans or Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans as of Oct. 1, 1998, or on the date that you obtained a Direct Loan or FFEL Program loan after Oct. 1, 1998.”

    I’m seeing that here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/teacher#what-are-the-eligibility

    So based on this, it sounds like you might not qualify. But it might be worth checking with the Dept. of Ed. to see.

    To be honest, I’m not sure why these restrictions exist. My guess it it’s something to do with law or policy, but I’m just not sure.

    If there’s anything else I can do, let me know. Best of luck!


  • Hi Rhonda,

    I’m not certain, but from what I’m reading, it sounds like you might only be eligible to claim one award. But I just can’t say for sure, so you may want to contact your servicer to see if they’re able to help.



  • Hi Jennifer,

    Unfortunately, there are not any programs like this that I can think of. The closest option I can think of is enrolling in income-driven repayment for federal student loans. This will limit payments based on income, and payments could be $0 per month.

    At the end of 20 years of being on this repayment plan, the rest of balance is forgiven.

    You can red more about this here: https://studentloanhero.com/featured/complete-guide-income-driven-repayment-plans-federal-student-loans/

    if you have other questions, let us know!



  • bjorktaiwan

    Hello – I’m already in the income based repayment with a calculated monthly payment of $0… I live in a foreign country teaching English and plan to continue this work… I suspect I will be eligible (eventually) for loan forgiveness. However, if my student loan balance (it’s around 90k now and after 20 years I can’t imagine how much higher it will be) becomes TAXABLE INCOME, I seriously don’t know what I could do…? Can you tell me what options I would have as a permanent resident of a foreign country? Would I have some reasonable payment plan? My income is VERY low (less than 16k per year) and it seems crazy to me that my loan servicer calculates my ability to pay as ZERO but then I will be on the hook for a tax bill of what I suspect will be over 35,000 dollars?? Any advice?

    • Hi,

      Thanks for your question. I’m not really sure if you have any special options as I’m not a tax professional. I’d recommend talking to someone to discuss what your options may be in this case.

      We’re still hopeful that this law will be changed in the meantime, though that obviously hasn’t happened at this point.

      If you have other questions, let us know!



  • Hi SK,

    Have you looked into Public Service Loan Forgiveness? It sounds like you may be able to qualify for that. You can learn more here: https://studentloanhero.com/featured/public-service-loan-forgiveness-do-you-qualify/

    Outside of that, I’m not sure if there are other opportunities you can qualify for. You may want to check and see if there are any options within your state to help with repayment.

    I hope this helps. If you have other questions, let me know!



  • Hi Mike,

    Do you mean for Public Service Loan Forgiveness? If your employer is considered a Federal, state, local, or tribal government organization or a 501(c)3 nonprofit, then you should be able to qualify.

    You can learn more here: https://studentloanhero.com/featured/public-service-loan-forgiveness-do-you-qualify/ I’d recommend submitting the Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness form to confirm that you’re eligible.

    If there’s anything else I can do, let me know!



  • Hi Max,

    Thank you for your service in the military.

    Do you have student loans from this situation? If yes, are they federal or private student loans? I’m just trying to understand your situation to give you a better answer.



  • Max Keepon

    Thanks Jeffrey… The loans have been in default for ages so to speak. I have several debt agency letters from different companies all saying different amounts owed. To answer your question, I am pretty sure they are sub and unsubsidized Stratford loans. From what I can make of it so far, and this is not a thorough study, is they were roughly combined @ about $8000 plus.

  • Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your question. In terms of reducing your payments, have you looked into income-driven repayment options? If it’s looking as though it’s going to take you close to 20 years to pay off your student loans anyway, you might be able to get student loan forgiveness on federal loans.

    You can learn more here: https://studentloanhero.com/featured/complete-guide-income-driven-repayment-plans-federal-student-loans/

    Additionally, for any private loans you might have, it’s still possible to apply to refinance those separately and leave the federal student loans alone.

    Hope this helps. If you have other questions, let me know!



  • Hi Ken,

    Are you referring to Public Service Loan Forgiveness? The general requirements are that you must work at a nonprofit as an employee averaging at least 30 hours per week.

    If you can meet these along with the other eligibility requirements, you may qualify. If not, you probably do not qualify.

    Hope this helps. If there’s anything else I can do, let me know.



  • Hi Jon,

    Generally no, consolidated FFEL loans are not eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). However, they become eligible if consolidated into a Direct Consolidation loan.

    You can read more about PSLF here: https://studentloanhero.com/featured/public-service-loan-forgiveness-do-you-qualify/

    If there’s anything else I can do, let me know!



  • Hi CBR,

    Thanks for your question. Can you tell me a bit more about what you’re looking for help with? I’ll be glad to assist then.



  • Hi Scott,

    I’m not aware of there being a Public Service Loan forgiveness program specifically for FFEL loans. From what I know, only Direct loans qualified.

    If you find anything about this please let me know. Otherwise, let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help.



  • Thanks for Information about Student Loan. Your Article is impressive and very informative. I am now regular visitor of your website and bookmarked it.

  • LGeer

    My 66 year old sister got stuck with an $18,000 student loan from her deceased husband’s son. My sister’s husband had a stroke and died shortly after they were married (2nd marriage) and now my sister is stuck with his son’s student loan. Is there anything she can do? (the son’s name was never on the original loan because he couldn’t qualify for it by himself)

  • Hi JR,

    From the sounds of it, no, you would not qualify. From our post here: https://studentloanhero.com/featured/public-service-loan-forgiveness-do-you-qualify/

    The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is available only to employees of:
    Federal, state, local, or tribal government organizations
    A 501(c)3 nonprofit
    A not-for-profit that’s not 501(c)3 designated but meets other requirements related to public service
    AmeriCorps, in a full-time capacity, or the Peace Corps

    You must be employed and you must work an average of at least 30 hours per week each year, or at least the number of hours that your employer considers to be full-time work.

    If there’s any other questions I can answer for you, let me know.



  • Yes, Christina, that’s right. One important thing to keep in mind is that only payments made after the consolidation count towards the total of 120. Payments made previously to the FFEL loans do not count.



  • Hi Alodia,

    Thanks for this question. However, I’m not familiar with that program. Is this a nonprofit? If so, do you mean qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness?



  • Hi Antoinette,

    Thanks for your question. I’m not familiar with that company. However, we generally recommend borrowers avoid paying anyone for help with their student loans. Borrowers can access just about every assistance program there is without paying for help.

    If there’s anything else I can do, let me know!



  • Hi Vanessa,

    Thanks for your question. I’m not sure there’s anything you can do to provide immediate relief. Your best bet may be to work to pay off your student loans as quickly as possible to reduce this debt that counts towards your debt to income ratio.

    You might also want to look into refinancing. However, you need to weight the tradeoffs of refinancing federal student loans if you choose to consider this option. Here are some sources of information:



    I hope this helps! if you have other questions, let me know.



    • Michelle A-G

      Quickly….pay off student loans…best bet. What a joke! Student loan debt is a national problem when people can’t make enough to pay them off. Living like a pauper to save only pennies doesn’t even put a dent in the loan. Getting a job that pays enough for just a basic life is still not enough. Second jobs will just work a person to death. Work-Life balance. College expenses are a ball and chain. I am 51, have over 100K in loans, three degrees, and make $70,000. I have a house that is 100 years old and a used car. I am eligible for PSLF, but unless my salary doubles, I still don’t have enough to pay the $822 monthly payment. I am also a single parent, and I take care of my disabled mother, who lives with me. I pay all the bills. I lie awake at night and worry about how I’m going to get those things paid off. Bless you Vanessa and all of you out there working hard to live a basic life. I went to college, but I’ve always been behind the 8 ball. The American Dream for me is a dream still.

  • Hi Maggie,

    Thanks for your question. While I can’t say for sure, it seems like it would be in your best interest to apply for both.

    I hadn’t heard of the requirement to wait another 10 years after Teacher Loan Forgiveness to get PSLF. Can you tell me where you read or heard this?

    In any case, you can’t apply for PSLF yet as no one has yet become eligible for this program. However, the Dept. of Ed. does recommend filing the verification form ahead of time and at least once a year to ensure you’re on track to receive PSLF. You can find it here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/public-service-employment-certification-form.pdf

    If there’s anything else I can do, let me know!



    • Tim Allen

      On the Public Service Employment Cerification form (https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/public-service-employment-certification-form.pdf) on page 5 it states “You are not permitted to apply the same period of service to receive PSLF and the Teacher Loan Forgiveness, Service in Areas of National Need, and Civil Legal Assistance Attorney Student Loan Repayment programs.”

      It comes down to choice. If you are willing to wait another 5 years to reach your 10 and you are on track to reach the 120 qualifying payments then wait and be debt free. If you want to take the $17,500 for the Teacher Forgiveness so you can restructure your payments and maybe pay less every month, then go that route.

      My wife is in the same situation you are. We are about to hit the 5yr mark as a special ed teacher and we are trying to decide which way to go.

      • Thanks for pointing that out, Tim! Very helpful information.


  • Mamma G

    Yes, it is a scam. Anyone who tries to charge you to forgive student loans is a scammer.

  • Mamma G

    That’s a scam. You would not be charged at all by a legitimate organization.

  • Hi Denise.

    Sorry to hear about your tough situation. Unfortunately, I can’t think of any forgiveness programs for this case.

    However, have you looked into income-driven repayment options? These can reduce your monthly payments to as low as $0, and you can have the remaining balance forgiven after 20 years. You can learn more here: http://studentloanhero.com/featured/complete-guide-income-driven-repayment-plans-federal-student-loans/

    Hope this helps. If you have other questions, let me know!



  • Christine

    I owe about 5,000 in student loans. I’m single and living paycheck to paycheck. Would I qualify for loan forgiveness?

  • Lauren

    I am special education teacher going into my 11th year of teaching. I do not work in a low income district and do not qualify for the public teacher forgiveness loan. I also applied for the public service loan forgiveness and was denied due to “no eligibile loan type”.

    I have loans with NJCLass and Sallie Mae which were transferred over to Navient.

    Is there any type of loan forgiveness that I would qualify for? I am desperate to try anything!!

    Thank you in advance!!

    • Hi Lauren,

      Sorry to hear about this! I’m assuming at least some of these loans are federal student loans? If so, they may be in the FFEL loan program, which would make them ineligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).

      The good news is that if this is the case, FFEL loans can be converted into the Direct Loan program to make them eligible simply by consolidating them. The bad news is that only payments made after this happens count towards the 120 payments for PSLF.

      Again, this assumes that the only issue is that they’re FFEL loans. If the issue is something else, this solution likely won’t help.

      If you’d like to learn more about PSLF, see here: https://studentloanhero.com/featured/public-service-loan-forgiveness-do-you-qualify/

      if there’s anything else I can do, let me know.



  • andre rojaz

    I contact a student loan forgiveness program I heard about on the radio. they was helpful in finding out my complete student debt and why it was all over the place with different agencys.the asking of a $575 processing fee has me on stand still.IS THIS A SCAM?

    • Hi Andre,

      That does sound like a scam to me. What do they want the fee for?

      Pretty much all student loan programs can be accessed for free without the need to pay someone for help. These companies do not have access to other programs that borrowers can’t access on their own, either.

      If there’s anything else I can help with, let me know.



  • cathy

    I had several student loans and consolidated them years ago. they were recently taken over by a company called Navient. I work as a paramedic for a non-profit hospital and am technically employed by the county government where we live. Is there any way to qualify for forgiveness?

  • michelle

    Hello, I have about $25,000 in student loan debt and looking at the forgiveness programs. Not sure if I would be eligible for any or not. I make about 36,000 a year and am a single mother. I do public service job. I am a caseworker for a county agency, I work with youth and families in need.

    • Hi Michelle,

      Sounds like you could potentially be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. To qualify, you must work in public service and make 120 qualifying payments after October 1, 2007. So no one is eligible yet.

      There are some other important qualifications here, like that the loans must be Direct loans. You can read more about it here: https://studentloanhero.com/featured/public-service-loan-forgiveness-do-you-qualify/

      If you have other questions, let me know.



  • Jared

    Hey Jeff, is 1file.org a safe student loan consolidation program?

    • Hi Jared,

      Thanks for your question. To be honest, I’m not familiar with that website.

      However, in general we recommend borrowers never pay website or companies or anyone for help with their student loans. Borrowers can generally get this help for free, and companies that charge borrowers generally don’t have access to any specialized programs.

      If there’s anything else I can do to help, let me know.



  • Kim Spencer

    Isn’t there also a loan forgiveness program for nurses working in under served areas?

  • Gary M Hammond

    I owe approximately 7800.00 in Student Loans and work as a Registered Respiratory Therapist and work for a Catholic Institution in a Rural area. Am I eligible for loan forgiveness since I work for NPO?

  • Hi Gary,

    Here’s the info on Perkins Loan cancellation/forgiveness: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts#perkins-loan-cancellation

    The site states: “If you have a Federal Perkins Loan, you must apply to the school that made the loan or to the loan servicer the school has designated. If you have any questions on Perkins Loan cancellation, contact the school or loan servicer.”

    If you have any other questions, let me know!



  • Justine Walker

    I will be graduating from a Masters program in 6 months and I owe 100K in loans
    I do not work in the field of my degree and I live in Virginia, how may I get forgiveness?

  • Vickie Shaw

    I had Direct loans that I consolidated many years ago and are now FFEL. I work in public service. Will these be excluded from PSLF?

  • RR

    Why no mention of the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program or the Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program?

    • Hi RR,

      Thanks for your comment. This post is primarily geared towards forgiveness programs as repayment programs like the ones you mentioned work a little differently. However, we did add some repayment programs as well, so we may add more soon. Thanks for your suggestion!