How Can I Get My Student Loan Forgiven? PSLF Waivers and More

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Despite calls for the U.S. government to forgive all or part of federal student loans, there’s little indication that such a move is in the works. For now, millions of borrowers will have to resume student loan payments when the current payment moratorium ends on September 1, 2022.

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However, even if lawmakers don’t pass some kind of forgiveness legislation, there are still ways to get your loans forgiven through government programs. You’ll need to meet specific eligibility requirements to qualify, but if you do, you can have all or part of your loan forgiven.

Here are some loan forgiveness options outlined by the Studentaid.gov website.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness

This option is available to those who teach full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in certain elementary or secondary schools, or work at educational service agencies that serve low-income families. If you qualify, you might be eligible for forgiveness of up to a combined total of $17,500 on eligible federal student loans.

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Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

If you work full-time for a government or not-for-profit organization, you might qualify for forgiveness of the entire remaining balance of your Direct Loans after you’ve made 120 qualifying payments, or 10 years’ worth. To benefit from PSLF, Studentaid.gov says you should repay your federal student loans under an income-driven repayment plan. You can learn more about PSLF by calling 855-265-4038.

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Note that if you’ve been denied loan forgiveness under PSLF because one or all of the payments you made on your Direct Loans were under a nonqualifying repayment plan, you might be eligible for Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Plan

Borrowers who repay their loans under an IDR plan can have remaining balances forgiven after making a certain number of payments over a certain period of time.

Other Options

In addition to the above forgiveness options, you can also get benefits such as reduced interest rates and financial awards to help you pay down student debt if you have served in the U.S. military or AmeriCorps.

If you don’t qualify for forgiveness, you might still be able to lower the amount of student debt you owe. You’ll need to contact your loan servicer to see if you can do the following:

  • Switch your repayment plan to lower your monthly payments
  • Consolidate multiple federal loans into one loan, which could result in a lower monthly payment
  • Apply for deferment or forbearance to temporarily postpone or reduce your payments

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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