The Complete List of Student Loan Forgiveness Programs and Options

student loan forgiveness

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

There are various student loan forgiveness programs out there for people who work in public service, education, and other areas. Some states are even helping debt-saddled graduates pay off their loans.

Whether you’re struggling with six-figure debt or looking for “free money” to pay off your student debt, student loan forgiveness could save the day.

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

Click on the links below to learn more about each option, or scroll down for the complete list of student loan forgiveness programs:

Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Forgiveness from an income-driven plan
Federal Perkins Loan cancellation
Loan forgiveness for teachers
Loan forgiveness for nurses
Loan repayment assistance for doctors and other health care professionals
Loan repayment assistance for lawyers
Additional student loan repayment assistance programs (LRAPs)
Military student loan forgiveness and assistance
Student loan discharge for special circumstances

1) Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program helps people working in public service jobs. Professionals across a variety of fields can qualify for PSLF. For this program, it doesn’t matter what your job is as much as where you work.

After 120 payments, you could qualify for 100 percent loan forgiveness.

Who’s eligible?

To be eligible, you must be a full-time employee at a federal, state, or local government agency. Organizations with a 501(c)(3) designation also qualify. Religious-based nonprofits, however, do not.

Which loans qualify?

Here are the loans that qualify for PSLF:

  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
  • Direct PLUS Loans
  • Direct Consolidation Loans

Federal Perkins Loans and Family Education Loans (FFEL) are only eligible for PSLF if you consolidate them first via a Direct Consolidation Loan.

What are the requirements?

  • Make 120 on-time payments toward 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. For most borrowers, it makes sense to get on an income-driven plan to maximize the amount you will have forgiven and lower your monthly payments.
  • Work full-time at a qualifying organization.

How can I become eligible?

To make sure you’re eligible for PSLF, submit the Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness form. The program requires this form for every year of service, so submitting it on an annual basis will help ensure you’re on track for PSLF.

Another important step is switching to an income-driven repayment plan. You’ll lower your monthly payments while extending your term to 20 or 25 years. If you stay on the standard plan, you won’t have any balance left to forgive after 10 years of payments.

Finally, you may wish to consolidate your student loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan. This step is helpful if you have Perkins or FFEL Loans. Plus, it simplifies your monthly payments, so you’ll only have one loan to pay each month.

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 and submit the Employment Certification Form each year, or as you change jobs.
  2. FedLoan Servicing will review your information and let you know if you qualify. They may ask for more information, like pay stubs, W-2s, or other documentation.
  3. 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.

Currently, there is no limit on the amount forgiven under PSLF. The full amount of your federal student loans is eligible for forgiveness.

2) Forgiveness with Income-Based Repayment (IBR)

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

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

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’s eligible?

To be eligible for the Income-Based Repayment plan, your payments on IBR 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 large debt load compared to your income.

You can use the Repayment Estimator tool to help you calculate your payments and see if you qualify.

Which loans qualify?

  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
  • Direct Grad PLUS loans
  • Subsidized and Unsubsidized FFEL Stafford Loans
  • FFEL PLUS Loans made to grad students
  • Federal Perkins Loans, if consolidated
  • Direct Consolidation Loans, unless they repaid Parent PLUS Loans or FFEL Loans made to parents

What are the requirements?

Borrowers must make consistent payments for 20 or 25 years and update their loan servicers when their income changes. IBR is best for borrowers who 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 application from your loan servicer. You will need to provide documentation as requested, such as proof of income and a tax return.

3) Forgiveness with Pay As You Earn (PAYE)

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.

As with IBR, your forgiven balance may be treated as taxable income.

Who is eligible?

Your PAYE payments must be less than what they would be under the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan.

Which loans qualify?

  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
  • Direct Grad PLUS loans
  • Subsidized and Unsubsidized FFEL Stafford Loans, if consolidated
  • FFEL Loans made to grad students, if consolidated
  • Federal Perkins Loans, if consolidated
  • Direct Consolidation Loans, unless they repaid Parent PLUS Loans or FFEL Loans made to parents

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 Oct. 1, 2007, with a Direct Loan disbursement after Oct. 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.

While pursuing student loan forgiveness or cancellation may seem like an easy option, it still takes years of repayment.

4) Forgiveness with Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE)

Revised Pay As You Earn works much the same way as Pay As You Earn. Under this plan, your payments will be capped at 10 percent of your discretionary income. Undergraduate loans are forgiven after 20 years and graduate school loans are forgiven after 25 years.

Unlike IBR and PAYE, however, there’s no income eligibility requirement to get on REPAYE. Anyone with eligible loans can apply.

That being said, you could end up with high monthly payments on REPAYE. If you start making a lot of money, you could end up paying more on REPAYE than you would on the standard 10-year plan.

Who’s eligible?

Anyone with qualifying federal student loans is eligible for REPAYE.

Which loans qualify?

  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
  • Direct Grad PLUS loans
  • FFEL Stafford Loans, if consolidated
  • FFEL PLUS Loans made to grad students, if consolidated
  • Federal Perkins Loans, if consolidated
  • Direct Consolidation Loans, unless they repaid Parent PLUS Loans or FFEL Loans made to parents

What are the requirements?

Borrowers with undergraduate loans must make consistent payments for 20 years. Those with loans for graduate school or professional study must make payments for 25 years.

How do you apply?

As with other income-driven plans, you’ll submit an application on StudentLoans.gov. Plus, you’ll upload any necessary income documentation.

5) Forgiveness with Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR)

Income-Contingent Repayment also adjusts your monthly payments according to your income. You’ll either pay 20 percent of your discretionary income or what you’d pay on a fixed 12-year plan, whichever is less.

While ICR may not lower your payments as much as other plans, it does have one advantage. ICR is the only income-driven plan available to borrowers with Parent PLUS loans. If you have Parent PLUS loans, you can apply for ICR as long as you consolidate them first.

After 25 years of on-time payments, you’ll get the rest of your loan balance forgiven.

Who’s eligible?

Anyone with eligible federal student loans is eligible for ICR.

Which loans are eligible?

  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
  • Direct PLUS Loans made to grad students
  • Direct Consolidation Loans
  • FFEL Stafford Loans, if consolidated
  • FFEL Loans made to parents, if consolidated
  • Parent PLUS Loans, if consolidated
  • Federal Perkins Loans, if consolidated

What are the requirements?

Anyone with eligible student loans can apply for Income-Contingent Repayment.

How do you apply?

Submit your income documentation and application on StudentLoans.gov. For more information, speak with your loan servicer.

6) Federal Perkins Loan cancellation

If you took out a Federal Perkins Loan to pay for school, you could qualify for loan cancellation in a variety of ways. The Perkins Loan cancellation and discharge program typically forgives a certain percentage of student loan debt after every year of service. Over time, you could get up to 100 percent of your Perkins Loan canceled.

Who’s eligible?

Perkins Loan Cancellation is a popular program among teachers, as many people who work in education qualify. You might be a teacher, librarian, speech language pathologist, or professional in the Head Start program.

Other eligible occupations include, but aren’t limited to, firefighters, law enforcement officers, nurses, public defenders, and service volunteers. People in the military might also qualify.

What are the requirements?

You must have a federal Perkins Loan and work in a qualifying profession. Most recipients work full-time for at least one year. Additional eligibility requirements vary by profession, but they often involve working in a high-needs or critical shortage area.

How do you apply?

To learn more about Perkins Loan cancellation and apply, speak with your loan servicer and school’s student loan office.

7) Student loan forgiveness for teachers

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 they pay back their student loans.

Fortunately, there are several loan forgiveness and repayment assistance programs for teachers. For instance, teachers can qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness or Federal Perkins cancellation. Below are some additional programs specifically for teachers.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness

This national loan forgiveness program helps teachers pay back their student loans. You must work in a qualifying school for at least five consecutive years. Check out the Teacher Cancellation Low Income Directory to see if your school qualifies.

Loan forgiveness amounts vary depending on what subject you teach. Most elementary school teachers receive up to $5,000. Secondary school teachers who teach math, science, or special education could receive up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness.

Which loans are eligible?

  • Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loans
  • Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans

Note that if you only have PLUS Loans, you’re not eligible for this student loan forgiveness program for teachers.

What are the requirements?

  • You must teach in a qualifying organization. These include elementary and secondary schools, as well education service agencies, that serve low-income people.
  • You cannot have loans that originated before Oct. 1, 1998.
  • Your loans must not be in default.
  • You have to work full-time as a teacher for five consecutive years.
  • You’re a highly qualified teacher, meaning you have state certification or a teaching license.

How do you apply?

After teaching for five years, you can apply for teacher loan forgiveness by completing the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Application. Return your application to your loan servicer.

Student loan repayment assistance programs for teachers

The Teacher Forgiveness Program isn’t your only option for student loan help. Many states also offer loan repayment assistance for teachers. Most of these programs require state licensure, as well as a commitment to working for two years in a qualifying area.

The Iowa Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, for example, forgives up to 20 percent of a teacher’s student debt every year. The Teach for Texas Program gives yearly assistance to teachers in designated shortage areas.

To find programs in your state, head to the full list of Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAPs) and filter the results by occupation. You can also find a full list of options in The Complete Guide to Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers.

8) Student loan forgiveness for nurses

Like teachers, nurses also have access to a variety of federal and state programs for loan forgiveness. This first program is available to nurses all across the country.

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 paid over two years of employment. If you work for a third year, you could qualify for forgiveness toward another 25 percent.

What are the requirements?

To qualify for the NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program, you must be a registered nurse, nurse practitioner, or nurse faculty member. Nurses must work in a critical shortage area and serve a high-needs population. Nurse faculty members must be at an accredited school of nursing.

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 make sure to turn in your application on time.

Student loan repayment assistance programs for nurses

In addition to national programs, many states offer loan repayment assistance to nurses. The Illinois Nurse Educator Program, for example, awards up to $5,000 per year for four years to qualifying nurses and nurse educators in Illinois. The RISLA Nurse Educators Program offers the same for nurses in Rhode Island.

For a full list of LRAPs for nurses, see this comprehensive list. You can search by state, occupation, or award amount. You’ll also find additional loan forgiveness options in this Complete Guide to Student Loan Forgiveness for Nurses.

9) Loan repayment assistance for doctors and other health care professionals

Physicians have a number of options when it comes to student loan forgiveness. Most of these programs also award money to other health care professionals, like pharmacists. Here are some national and state forgiveness programs for doctors and other people in health care.

National Health Service Corps (NHSC) loan repayment assistance

The NHSC program awards up to $50,000 to licensed health care providers. You must be a primary care doctor, dentist, or a mental or behavioral clinician. In exchange for this student loan assistance, you must commit to work for two years at an eligible site.

Students to Service Program

If you’re in your last year of medical service, you could qualify for significant loan assistance from the Students to Service Program. This student loan forgiveness program provides up to $120,000. To qualify, you’ll commit to working as a primary health care provider at an approved site for three years.

Indian Health Services Loan Repayment Program

The IHS Loan Repayment Program encourages doctors to practice in American Indian and Alaskan Native communities. You must commit to two years of service. In exchange, the program will repay up to $40,000 of your student loans.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Loan Repayment Programs

The NIH program offers aid to health professionals in research careers. If you commit to two years of research at a qualifying nonprofit, the program will repay up to $35,000 of your student loans.

Loan forgiveness for doctors in the Armed Forces

The military offers a number of student loan forgiveness and repayment assistance programs to health care professionals. Army doctors could receive up to $120,000 from the Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment Program. The Navy Financial Assistance Program offers up to $275,000 in loan assistance for medical residents. Check out the Ultimate Student Loan Repayment Guide for Doctors for even more options.

State LRAP programs for doctors and other health care professionals

While all of the programs above are available on a national basis, you might also find loan assistance from your state. There are a variety of state LRAPs across the country.

The Massachusetts Student Loan Forgiveness Program, for instance, awards up to $50,000 to health professionals working in shortage areas. Use this student loan repayment assistance program tool to find programs in your state.

10) Loan repayment assistance for lawyers

Law school isn’t cheap, but fortunately some attorneys may qualify for student loan repayment assistance. Not only do lawyers have national and state programs, but some also get help from their former law schools. If you’re an attorney, make sure to explore all your options for student loan forgiveness.

Department of Justice Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program

Lawyers who work for three years at the Department of Justice could earn up to $60,000 in loan assistance. To qualify, you must have at least $10,000 in federal loans.

John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program

The John R. Justice program helps lawyers in the public sector. If you’re a public defender, you could earn up to $10,000 per year for a maximum of $60,000.

Herbert S. Garten Loan Repayment Assistance Program

This student loan forgiveness program repays up to $5,600 in student loans to about 70 attorneys each year. Besides being employed in a qualifying organization, there’s not much you can do to qualify. The program uses a lottery system to pick a few lucky recipients every year.

State and university-sponsored LRAPs

Like teachers and doctors, lawyers may also qualify for state or local repayment assistance programs. The Florida Bar Foundation, for instance, awards up to $5,000 to lawyers in Florida.

Plus, some universities help their alumni pay back their loans. The University of Virginia School of Law, for instance, will cover up to 100 percent of student debt for graduates who make less than $55,000 per year. With this incentive, the law school seeks to encourage its students to work in public service.

Beyond checking your state for LRAPs, find out if your law school helps its graduates pay back their loans.

11) Student loan repayment assistance programs for other careers

Most state LRAPs award loan assistance to professionals in exchange for two years of service. The most common occupations are doctors, nurses, teachers, and lawyers, but some other career paths qualify, too.

Several LRAPs for doctors, for instance, help out pharmacists and veterinarians. Other programs award people in STEM careers, like the Alfond Leaders Program in Maine.

Even if you’re not a doctor, teacher, or lawyer, check your state’s offerings to find out if it has a loan repayment assistance program for you.

12) Military student loan forgiveness and assistance

Not only does the military offer loan forgiveness for Army and Navy doctors, but it also helps armed forces members and veterans. The Army, Navy, Air Force, and National Guard all offer loan repayment assistance programs.

The Army’s College Loan Repayment Program, for instance, pays one-third of your loans every year for three years. In total, you could get up to $65,000 in aid. The Navy program also awards up to $65,000, and the National Guard LRAP contributes up to $50,000.

For the full list of programs, check out the Complete Guide to Military Student Loan Forgiveness and Repayment.

13) Student loan discharge for special circumstances

While student loan discharge isn’t the same as forgiveness, it could leave you debt-free. In rare circumstances, borrowers can get their student loans canceled outright.

In fact, there are six situations when you could qualify for student loan discharge. These are the options:

  • Closed school discharge
  • Student loan discharge in bankruptcy
  • Loan cancellation for Total and Permanent Disability
  • Discharge for false certification or unauthorized payment
  • Unpaid refund discharge
  • Borrower defense discharge

You can learn more about each scenario on the Federal Office of Student Aid website. If you think you could qualify or want to learn more, speak with your loan servicer.

Other options for managing your student loans

Not everyone qualifies for student loan forgiveness. If you’re ineligible but are struggling to pay your loans, here are a few approaches that could help:

When it comes to student loans, you don’t have to stick with your original repayment plan. You may be able to lower monthly payments on an income-driven plan or snag a reduced interest rate through student loan refinancing.

The key is to explore all your options to find the best student loan solution for you. For more strategies, check out these 14 tips for paying off your student loans as fast as possible.

Rebecca Safier contributed to the reporting for this article.

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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.

      Best,

      Jeffrey
      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!

      Best,

      Jeffrey
      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!

      Best,

      Jeffrey

      • 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!
        Kayla

  • 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.

    Best,

    Jeffrey
    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.

    Best,

    Jeffrey

  • 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.

    Best,

    Jeffrey

  • 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/

    Best,

    Jeffrey

  • 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.

    Best,

    Jeffrey

  • 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.

    Best,

    Jeffrey

  • 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.

    Best,

    Jeffrey

  • 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.

    Best,

    Jeffrey

  • 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.

    Best,

    Jeffrey

  • 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.”

    and

    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.”

    Question:
    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.

    Best,

    Jeffrey

  • 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).

      Best,

      Jeffrey

  • 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.

    Cheers,

    Jeffrey

  • 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!

    Jeffrey

  • 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.

    Best,

    Jeffrey

  • 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!

    Best,

    Jeffrey

  • 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!

      Best,

      Jeffrey

  • 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!

    Best,

    Jeffrey

  • 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!

    Best,

    Jeffrey

  • 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.

    Best,

    Jeffrey

  • 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!

    Best,

    Jeffrey

  • 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.

    Best,

    Jeffrey

  • 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!

    Best,

    Jeffrey

  • 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.

    Cheers,

    Jeffrey

  • 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.

    Best,

    Jeffrey

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  • 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.

    Best,

    Jeffrey

  • 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.

    Best,

    Jeffrey

  • 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?

    Best,

    Jeffrey

  • 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!

    Best,

    Jeffrey

  • 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:

    https://studentloanhero.com/featured/10-questions-to-ask-before-refinancing-your-student-loans/

    https://studentloanhero.com/featured/should-you-refinance-your-federal-student-loans/

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

    Best,

    Jeffrey

    • 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!

    Best,

    Jeffrey

    • 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.

        Jeffrey

  • 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!

    Best,

    Jeffrey

  • 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!!
    Lauren

    • 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.

      Best,

      Jeffrey

  • 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.

      Best,

      Jeffrey

  • 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.

      Best,

      Jeffrey

  • 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.

      Best,

      Jeffrey

  • 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!

    Best,

    Jeffrey

  • 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!

      Cheers,

      Jeffrey