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Student loan forgiveness programs

Federal student loan borrowers may have the right to get forgiveness in different situations. The majority of the information featured on this page comes from our partners who pay us. This could affect the products, the location, and how the student loan forgiveness programs feature in the article. But, it doesn’t affect our assessments. Our opinions are solely ours. 

Can I obtain student loan forgiveness?

To get loan discharge may appear too promising to be true. However, there are legitimate methods to obtain it through the government’s free programs. An example is federal student loans. There is an exception for private loans.

The following options are only available for student loan borrowers eligible for the loans. Specific programs have particular requirements that make them difficult to qualify. However, these repayment plans for federal student loan debt are accessible to the majority of borrowers.

The following information is about the current student loan forgiveness programs. You can also learn more about the possibility of Biden student loan forgiveness. If you are a private borrower, you do not qualify to take advantage of federal student loan programs for forgiveness. However, there are other ways of taking care of debt from private or direct loans.

Here are the options available:

  • Permanent disability discharge
  • Income-driven repayment loan forgiveness
  • Federal student aid offered by the public service through the Department of Education
  • teacher loan forgiveness
  • Obama student loan forgiveness
  • State-sponsored repayments
  • Military students loan forgiveness
  • Discharge due to death

Income-driven repayment forgiveness

The federal government provides four primary income-driven repayment plans. These plans allow you to set the amount of your loan in proportion to your income as a monthly payment. If you enroll in one of the plans, the remaining amount in form of defaulted loans is eligible for forgiveness after 25 years. 

These student loans plans are best for those who have large debts compared to income. Only 32 borrowers qualified for loan forgiveness through the loan servicer. The forgiveness was tax-free retroactively to December. 2020 and through 2025’s end as part of the march 2021 American Rescue Plan.

Most loan consumers will not be eligible for the forgiveness program through qualifying repayment plan based on income up to the early 2030s.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

This is a direct loan is from the public service. Forgiveness is available for all government and eligible nonprofit employees who hold federal loans for students. Qualified borrowers can get the loan balance reduced in tax after making 120 loan payments eligible for the program. 

The Education Department has expanded which the federal student loan payments are counted towards PSLF with a limited waiver. Qualifying payments made to FFEL or Perkins loans and late fees and other repayment plans will count retroactively as eligible payments.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness

 After five consecutive years, teachers working full-time in public elementary or secondary schools might qualify for teacher loan forgiveness. They could receive a direct loan up to $17.500 in Federal Direct and Stafford loans that are forgiven. To be eligible, the teachers have to take out loans before October. 1st, 1998

Obama student loan forgiveness

 There is no anything like “Obama student loan forgiveness.” However, some students’ “debt relief” companies use the term as a catch-all for free federal programs that they charge for taking borrowers on. If you find a company that offers “Obama student loan forgiveness,” beware of it as an indication of fraud. 

Subscribing yourself in federal programs like income-based repayment or Federal student loan consolidation is entirely free to complete by yourself through the Department of Education.

Other programs to forgive student loans

There are other special student loan forgiveness programs and payment aid schemes that you could be eligible for and have your loan forgiven. The eligibility requirements for these programs depend on the type of work you do and where you are employed.

Programs for repayment that are sponsored by states

 licensed nurses, teachers, doctors, lawyers, and other professionals in some states might be able to benefit from these programs that help with the repayment of loans. For instance, the Mississippi Teacher Loan Repayment Program can offer up to $3,000 per year for up to four years for undergraduate education loans to teachers who have the appropriate teaching licenses for each year they teach full-time in a specific geographic or subject area. Contact the department responsible for higher education in your state to determine if you can be eligible for this program.

Student loan forgiveness for military students and aid

Military personnel from those in the Army, Navy, Air Force, National Guard, and Coast Guard may qualify for their respective grant programs for loan repayment. For example, for the National Guard, officers and soldiers with a qualifying score can receive up to ,000 to repay federal student loans via The Student Loan Repayment Program.

Additional programs for student loan repayment (LRAPs) 

These could be additional national or organization-wide programs to repay student loans to public service professionals. For instance, the National Institutes of Health, for example, provides up to $35,000 worth of federal student aid each year for health professionals designated as research assistants by institutes. The American Bar Association has a list of states that have LRAPs specifically for attorneys.

The Perkins Loan Cancellation

The borrowers who hold federal Perkins loans may receive up to 100 percent of their loans canceled. This is when employed in the public sector for over five years. In most cases, approved applicants will see some of their loans disbursed gradually for each year they work. 

The Perkins loan benefit for teachers is intended for teachers who are employed in a public school with a low income or teach a subject that qualifies that requires special education, for example, or math, science, or the language of a foreign country.

Student loan discharge programs

You could be eligible for loan disbursement if the school you attend closes. At the time of closing, the student must be in attendance or leave the school within 120 days without earning any degree. If you are eligible, contact your loan provider to begin applying. Continue to make repayments on your loan until you fully pay. If you get approval,  you won’t have to pay loan installments. You may also receive up to a certain amount or in all prior payments that you made to the loan.

Borrower defense to repayment discharge

The students whose colleges went down might be eligible for relief from debt. You’ll have to file a defense to the repayment claims with the U.S. Department of Education. If you’re eligible, you could have your loans automatically canceled at the sole discretion of the Education Department if your school was the victim of a prominent, widespread fraud or misrepresentation that impacted the majority of students.

Permanent and total disability discharge

Permanent disability discharge is available if you are unable to work because you are completely and permanently disabled mentally or physically. You could qualify for student loan debt forgiven in this case. To qualify for a complete and permanent disability disbursement, you must submit proof of your condition. 

When the government cancels your loans, the government can examine your financial situation and your disability for three years. If you fail to meet the requirements during monitoring, you may have to repay the loan. Details on the application process are available at

Permanent and total disability relief for veterans

Veterans who are fully or permanently handicapped can also get their loans forgiven. This process is seamless. Unless they fail to repay due to a potential tax liability from the state. (where there isn’t any federal tax obligation for loan forgiveness to veterans).

Discharge due to death

 It is available if you pass away and have unpaid federal loans. You get forgiveness when the death certificate reaches the loan servicer. Your parent’s PLUS loans used to help pay for your schooling may qualify for forgiveness if the parent holding the loan dies or you pass away.

The cautions

The legitimate federal forgiveness programs, cancellation, and discharge are available for free through the Department of Education. But additional expenses are considered to have your loans forgiven.

Beware of fraud

These companies promise to help you get rid of debt. But they rarely do so after charging already-struggling borrowers huge charges for upfront payments. One way you can have debt canceled is to avail the government’s legitimate programs mentioned above. It is free to apply for these programs.

More information about student loan forgiveness

When you apply for federal student loans, it is important to ensure that you can comfortably pay. If you accumulate federal student loans, your credit score will suffer in the future. Luckily, public service loan forgiveness programs are available.

Getting student loan forgiveness

Federal student loans are eligible for forgiveness depending on the qualifying payments. When we talk of qualifying payments, it simply means how much you pay before you benefit from loan forgiveness. Student loans come with great benefits. But when it comes to payments, many people default. The advice is to only take out student loans if you are sure to pay.


You’ll have to resort to rehabilitation or direct consolidation loans to bring defaulted Federal student loans in good standing before they qualify for forgiveness programs. If your loan isn’t eligible for forgiveness, student debt settlement or bankruptcy can help. They might lower your debt in the most challenging situations. Federal default loans may be suitable to be discharged under specific programs. A direct consolidation loan can also be an option.


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Jason Rathman