Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

11:00 AM December 03, 2019

Is Student Loan Forgiveness Real? If So What Are My Options. Student loan debt is a heavyweight to carry. Student loan forgiveness programs are a sure way to get help with student loan debt.

A variety of student loan forgiveness programs are available for those who work in education, healthcare, public service amongst other areas.

Several states are even assisting debt-burdened graduates to settle their loans

Read on to find out which student loan forgiveness program is best for you

1. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

Help with Student Loan Debt: Complete List of Forgiveness Programs

The PSLF assists public service workers. This program focuses more on the company you work for and your job title.

Contrary to what you might think, there are a lot of jobs that qualify for PSLF.

You can gain access to 100% loan forgiveness after 120 payments and the payments don’t have to be in succession.

However, your payments must be under a qualifying repayment plan:

  • Income-Based Repayment (IBR)
  • Pay As You Earn Repayment (PAYE)
  • Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE)
  • Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR)

Ready For a Quick Quiz?

Standard Repayment

  • For most borrowers, an income-driven repayment plan amplifies the amount that will be forgiven and reduces your monthly payments

Eligibility

  • Full-time employees at local, state or federal government agencies or at 501(c) (3)-designated organizations.
  • Religious-based non-profits are exempt.  
  • To ensure eligibility for this loan, submit the Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness form.
  • The PSLF needs this form for each service year so submitting it annually would aid in keeping you on track for the program and getting you help with student loan debt.

Under PSLF, All Direct Loans Qualify, Including:

  • Direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans
  • PLUS loans
  • The direct consolidation loans
  • Federal Perkins loans and Family Education Loans (FFEL) are only eligible for PSLF if first consolidated through a direct consolidation loan.

2. Forgiveness with Income-Based Repayment (IBR)

Help with Student Loan Debt: Complete List of Forgiveness Programs

This is not the most typical forgiveness program, however, your loans can get forgiven through the IBR.

With this program, your student loan payments are regulated at 10% to 15% of your discretionary income.

Following constant payments under IBR for 20 to 25 years (depending on your borrowing terms), any loan balance left will be forgiven.

Eligibility

  • Your IBR payments have to be a smaller amount than your standard repayment plan payment.

Some Loans Are Not Likely to Qualify for IBR, These Loans Include:

  • Subsidized and unsubsidized loans (Direct)
  • 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 were used to repay parent PLUS loans or FFEL loans made to parents

Application

  • Apply by submitting an application through StudentLoans.gov.
  • You could as well get a paper application from your loan servicer.
  • You’d be required to show documentation such as a tax return and proof of income to get help with student loan debt.

3. Forgiveness With Pay As You Earn (PAYE)

Help with Student Loan Debt: Complete List of Forgiveness Programs

PAYE regulates your monthly payment at 10% of your discretionary income.

Following payments for 20 years, any balance left would be eligible for forgiveness

Eligibility

  • Your PAYE payments have to be smaller than they would under the 10-year usual repayment plan.

Loans That Qualify Include:

  • 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
  • The Direct consolidation loans, unless they repaid parent PLUS loans or FFEL loans made to parents

Application

Apply for PAYE through StudentLoans.gov

Bear in mind you would be required to provide income documentation

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

Help with Student Loan Debt: Complete List of Forgiveness Programs

To get help with student loan debt using this plan, your payments would be regulated at 10% of your discretionary income.

Graduate loans are forgiven after 20 years, undergraduate loans – after 10.

It is similar to PAYE except it doesn’t require income eligibility. Anybody with eligible loans can apply.

Eligibility

  • Anyone with qualifying federal student loans.

Eligible Loans Include:

  • Direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans
  • Grad PLUS loans (Direct)
  • FFEL Stafford loans, if consolidated
  • FFEL PLUS Loans made to grad students if consolidated
  • Federal Perkins Loans, if consolidated
  • This type of direct consolidation loans, unless they repaid parent PLUS loans or FFEL loans made to parents

Application

Apply through StudentLoans.gov and you’d also need to process the needed income documentation

5. Forgiveness with Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR)

Help with Student Loan Debt: Complete List of Forgiveness Programs

ICR alters your monthly payments according to your income. You pay either 20% or your discretionary income or what you’d pay on a fixed 12-year plan, whichever is smaller.

Although the ICR doesn’t reduce your payments like other plans, it has the advantage of being the only income-driven plan for borrowers with Parent PLUS loans.

Following 25 years of successive prompt payments, the remaining loan gets forgiven.

Eligibility

  • Anyone with eligible federal student loans.

The Following Loans are Eligible for ICR:

  • Subsidized and unsubsidized loans (Direct)
  • Direct PLUS loans made to grad students
  • Consolidation of direct loans
  • FFEL Stafford loans, if consolidated
  • FFEL loans made to parents, if consolidated
  • Parent PLUS loans, if consolidated
  • Federal Perkins Loans, if consolidated

Application

Check if you qualify in two simple steps

  • Step 1 – Select your debt amount below to see if you’re eligible
  • Step 2 –Answer a few quick questions & join hundreds of thousands of Americans on the path to becoming debt-free

6. Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation

Help with Student Loan Debt: Complete List of Forgiveness Programs

If you took a Federal Perkins loan and work full time, this is for you.

The Perkins loan cancellation and discharge program usually forgive a particular percentage of student loan debt after every service year.

As time goes on, you could get your whole Perkins loan canceled.

Eligibility

This program is popular among teachers and other workers in the education field.

Librarians, speech-language pathologists are among the other teaching professionals that benefit as well.

Other occupations that qualify include nurses, service volunteers, fire-fighters, law enforcement officers, Military and public defenders. 

Application

Speak to your loan servicer and school’s student loan service to find out how to apply.

7. Student Loan Forgiveness For Teachers

Help with Student Loan Debt: Complete List of Forgiveness Programs

A number of loan forgiveness programs aside from PSLF and Federal Perkins cancellation, are available precisely for teachers to get help with student loan consolidation.

Teacher Student Loan Forgiveness

This is a national program assists teachers repay their student loans.

In order to qualify for this, you need to have worked in a qualifying school for a minimum of five successive years.

To find out if your school qualifies, check the low-income school directory.

Loan forgiveness amounts differ based on what subject you teach. 

Eligible Loans for This Program Include:

  • Subsidized and unsubsidized direct loans
  • Subsidized and unsubsidized federal Stafford loans
  • If you only have PLUS loans, you’re not eligible for this forgiveness program.

Application

Apply for teacher loan forgiveness by filling the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Application.

Submit your application to your loan servicer.

8. Student Loan Forgiveness for Nurses

Help with Student Loan Debt: Complete List of Forgiveness Programs

Nurses have access to a number of state and federal student loan forgiveness programs.

NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program

You may be eligible for this program if you’re a registered nurse, nurse faculty member or nurse practitioner working in an underserved community.

You can access about 60% payment of your student loans in two years of employment.  

Working for the third year qualifies you for 25% forgiveness.

Application

Applications open once a year as guidelines are updated yearly.  

Verify the guidelines and ensure you send in your application promptly.

9. Loan Repayment Assistance for Health Care Professionals

Help with Student Loan Debt: Complete List of Forgiveness Programs

Doctors and health care professionals have various options for student loan forgiveness. Here are some programs that offer help with student loan debt:

  • National Health Service Corps (NHSC) loan repayment assistance

The NHSC offers up to $50,000 to licensed health care providers.

You have to be a dentist, a primary care doctor, behavioral or mental clinician.

That having been said, you are obligated to work for two years at an eligible area to receive loan assistance.

Students to Service Program

To qualify, you would be obligated to work as a primary health care provider at an eligible area for three years.

This student loan forgiveness program offers up to $120,000

Indian Health Services Loan Repayment Program

This program pushes doctors to practice in Alaska Native and American Indian communities.

The program pays up to $40,000 of your student loans and in return, you have to commit two service years.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Loan Repayment Programs

The NIH program provides assistance to health professionals in research careers.

The program will pay up to $35,000 of your student loans and in return, you commit two service areas at an eligible non-profit.

Loan Forgiveness for Doctors in the Armed Forces

The military provides several student loan repayment and forgiveness programs to healthcare professionals.

Army doctors can access 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.

For more options, check the complete repayment guide for doctors.

State LRAP Programs for Doctors and Other Health Care Professionals

There are several state loan repayment programs around the country.

The Massachusetts Student Loan Forgiveness Program offers up to $50,000 to health professionals working in shortage areas.

10. Loan Repayment Assistance for Lawyers

Help with Student Loan Debt: Complete List of Forgiveness Programs

National and state repayment programs are available to help with student loan debt.  

You could even get help from your former law school.

Ensure that you check out all the options for student loan forgiveness.

Some universities do help their alumni repay their loans.

The University of Virginia School of Law will cover up to 100% of student debt for graduates making under $55,000 per year.

This program pushes its students to work in public service.

Find out if your state provides loan repayment help.

There is no central database of employers and schools that shows who help with loan repayments.

You must speak to your alma mater or employers on how to obtain repayment assistance.

11. Student Loan Repayment Assistance Programs for Other Careers

Millennials the Debt Generation

Many state loan repayment assistance programs give help to professionals for two years of service in return.

The common career paths that benefit include lawyers, doctors, nurses, and teachers.

Other occupations are eligible as well to receive this benefit.

Some repayment programs for doctors assist veterinarians and pharmacists.

Others, like the Alfond Leaders Program in Maine, assist people in STEM careers.

We recommend that you check out your state’s provisions to find loan repayment assistance to help with student loan debt.

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12. Military & Government Student Loan Forgiveness and Assistance

Help with Student Loan Debt: Complete List of Forgiveness Programs

The military does not just offer loan forgiveness for Navy and Army doctors.

This type of loan program assists veterans and armed forces members.

The National Guard, Army, Air Force, and Navy all provide loan repayment assistance programs.

The Army’s College Loan Repayment Program repays one-third of your loans annually for three years.

You could receive up to $65,000 assistance in total. 

A large number of programs for military student loan repayment and forgiveness are available; just ensure you know which you’re eligible for.

13. Student Loan Discharge for Special Circumstances

Help with Student Loan Debt: Complete List of Forgiveness Programs

Student loan discharge is not like loan forgiveness as it could completely get rid of your debt.

In exceptional situations, borrowers can have their student loans totally.

There are seven circumstances where you could be eligible for student loan discharge and they include:

  1. Closed school discharge
  2. Student loan discharge in bankruptcy
  3. Loan cancellation for total and permanent disability
  4. Discharge for false certification or unauthorized payment
  5. Unpaid refund discharge
  6. Borrower defense discharge

Speak with your loan servicer if you think you qualify for student loan discharge.

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