Student Loan Forgiveness: How To Qualify

In many cases, student loan forgiveness is the grand finale of your loan repayment plan. As you put more money into your remaining balance, however, you may wonder if there’s a way for your student debt to be forgiven now rather than in 20 to 25 years. If your goal is to rid yourself of all debt within a short time span, knowing the different kinds of student loan forgiveness and how to qualify can shave years of payments off your total school loan.

Finish Your REPAYE, ICR, or IBR Repayment Plan

Federal student loans that you’re paying off through a REPAYE, ICR, or IBR repayment plan end in 20 to 25 years, based on the amount of schooling you’ve completed with loans. For REPAYE and IBR plans, the remaining debt is forgiven after 20 years for undergraduate completion and 25 years for graduate school or professional study. ICR repayment plans are forgiven after 25 years, no matter what level of schooling you’ve completed. Once you’ve finished the payments and the government has forgiven the remaining debt, you may need to pay taxes on the full forgiven amount.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

If you’ve begun working as a public service worker for state or local not-for-profit agencies and you have student loans, you may qualify for a special type of loan forgiveness called Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or PSLF. To qualify for PSLF, you must work full-time for a qualifying U.S. federal nonprofit organization and pay your Direct Loans using an income-driven repayment plan. Once you’ve made 120 payments under these qualifications, you can apply for the PSLF. Those who work in AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps also qualify, but they may need to transition to making their own payments instead of using a U.S. Department of Defense loan repayment plan.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness

Teachers who work full-time in a low-income school district or educational service may qualify to have up to $17,500 forgiven from their total student debt. Secondary school-level math or science teachers along with special education teachers at either level are qualified for the full $17,500, while all other teachers are qualified for $5,000 in forgiveness. Only teachers who have taught for five consecutive years qualify for this type of forgiveness. The loans that qualify for Teacher Loan Forgiveness are Direct Loans and FFEL Loans. You may qualify for both PSLF and Teacher Loan Forgiveness, but not during the same period of teaching.

If you have a defaulted payment, you won’t qualify for Teacher Loan Forgiveness. A federal student loan reliefservice from Hope Credit can ensure you meet every qualification for loan forgiveness.

Other Situational Types of Student Loan Forgiveness

There are several unique types of student loan forgiveness, and how to qualify for them depends on specific circumstances. The following situations may offer you partial or total federal student loan forgiveness:

  • Your school closes while you’re enrolled or after you withdraw
  • Cancellation or discharge of Perkins Loans
  • Death or total, permanent disability to borrower or parent for Parent PLUS loans
  • Some bankruptcy
  • School misleading or misconduct
  • False loan certification by school
  • Unpaid refund by school after a withdrawal