Even with Biden’s original plan for sweeping student loan forgiveness debt relief quashed by the Supreme Court, there is still hope for the 43.5 million Americans still owing an average of $37,787 in student loan debt.
Although the legislation that would have offered at least $10,000 in student loan debt relief was overturned, with payments set to resume Oct. 1, 2023, the Biden-Harris Administration acted quickly to introduce the Saving a on a Valuable Education, or SAVE, Plan to help Americans struggling with student loan debt.
What Is the New Student Loan Debt Relief Plan?
The new SAVE Plan is a new student loan debt relief plan that can reduce some borrowers’ payments to zero while shaving $1,000 per year off other borrowers’ payments. It was introduced as a response to the end of student loan forbearance, which halted interest and payments on student loan debt during the pandemic and beyond.
The SAVE Plan could help more than 20 million student loan borrowers with reduced payments or full student loan debt relief.
How To Get $10,000 Loan Forgiveness (or More): 6 Ways
Just as student loan interest is starting to accrue again and payments resume, you might be wondering how to get student loan forgiveness. The proposal that would have seen borrowers with federal student loans receive $10,000 in student loan forgiveness, and those with Pell Grants receive up to $20,000 in forgiveness is now just a distant dream.
But you can still save $1,000 per month or more on your student loans under the new plan or even have your debt completely wiped out if you meet other requirements.
1. Meet the Requirements for Qualifying Payments Under an IDR
Borrowers with Direct Loans from the federal government with income-driven repayment plans eventually qualify for full student loan forgiveness after the borrower makes a required number of payments.
The Department of Education recalculated payments made for many borrowers, resulting in student loan forgiveness or adjustments in the time before borrowers would qualify for forgiveness.
On Jul. 14, 2023, according to StudentAid.gov, many borrowers were notified that they qualified for forgiveness after the adjustments were calculated. As you reach 240 or 300 months (20 or 25 years) worth of qualifying payments, your student loan debt will also be forgiven automatically.
If you continued paying your loans after you qualified for forgiveness under the new calculations, you will receive a refund for overpayment.
2. Apply for An Income-Driven Repayment Plan
If you have a Direct Loan but aren’t on an IDR, it’s not too late to apply. The U.S. government offers four IDRs, including the new SAVE Plan. The other three programs are:
- Pay as You Earn (PAYE) Repayment Plan
- Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan
- Income-Contingent Repayment Plan
The terms and qualifications vary for each plan but are generally 10% to 20% of your total discretionary income — that is, income left over after necessities.
If your income changes dramatically, you may submit updated information to have your payments recalculated. This can help in the event of job loss. Otherwise, your income and family size will be recertified annually.
3. Apply for the New SAVE Plan
Of IDR Plans available now, the new SAVE plan might make your payments more manageable especially in light of today’s turbulent economy and high inflation. Under SAVE, borrowers with loans for an undergraduate degree can have their payments reduced to 5% of their discretionary income, effectively cutting monthly payments in half.
Borrowers who make less than $15 an hour will not have to make any loan payments.
Additionally, unpaid interest will not continue to accrue. As the White House Fact Sheet explained, if your loan payment is $30 per month but the loan accrues $50 in interest monthly, that additional $20 would not be charged to the loan. This way, student loan balances can only go down or stay the same, not rise.
Additionally low-balance borrowers could receive early forgiveness, rather than waiting 20 to 25 years for a loan discharge.
4. Apply for Forgiveness as a Teacher
If you are a teacher in a low-income school or other educational facility and teach high-need subjects, and have been employed full-time in this capacity for five full, consecutive years, you may qualify for student loan forgiveness for Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized loans as well as Federal Stafford Loans. This program may forgive as much as $17,500 of your student loan debt.
5. Apply for Public Service Loan Forgiveness
If you work in public service in federal, state, tribal or local government or you work for a non-profit organization, you may qualify for public service loan forgiveness of Direct Loan debt. If you have other types of loans, such as through the FFEL Program or Perkins, you can consolidate them into Direct Loans before applying for PSLF.
6. Apply for Student Loan Forgiveness as a Medical Professional
Medical professionals, including researchers, doctors and nurses in areas with health professional shortages, may qualify for loan forgiveness under a variety of state or national programs. Some of these programs include:
- National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program
- NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program
- NHSC Rural Community Loan Repayment Program
- NHSC Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) Loan Repayment Program
- Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Epidemic Intelligence Service Program
FAQHere's more about general student loan forgiveness and debt relief.
- How do I receive student Loan forgiveness?
- You can apply for student loan forgiveness if you meet a variety of criteria, such as working in certain professions. If you make less than $15 an hour, you may qualify for $0 monthly payments and, eventually, loan discharge, under the new SAVE Plan.
- Who gets the $39 billion in student Loan forgiveness?
- More than 800,000 borrowers with more than $39 billion in combined student loan debt will find relief as a result of income-driven repayment plans. Once borrowers have made payments for 20 or 25 years, depending on their loan, their debt will be forgiven by the U.S. Education Department.
- How will I know if my student loans are forgiven?
- You will receive a letter from the U.S. Education Department if you qualify for student debt loan relief. You will have a choice to opt out of forgiveness and continue making payments, or you can accept the loan forgiveness.
- As of now, the Internal Revenue Service does not tax student loan debts that were discharged, but you may want to check with a tax professional regarding tax ramifications of student loan debt relief at the state level.
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- Credit.com. 2023. "U.S. Student Loan Debt Statistics ."
- Federal Student Aid. "Payment Count Adjustments Toward Income-Driven Repayment."
- Federal Student Aid. "Repayment Plans."
- Federal Student Aid. "Income-Driven Repayment Plans."
- WhiteHouse.gov. 2023. "FACT SHEET: The Biden-Harris Administration Launches the SAVE."
- Federal Student Aid. "Teacher Loan Forgiveness."
- Forbes. 2022. "Student Loan Forgiveness for Healthcare Workers."
- Yahoo Finance. 2023. "Will I be taxed on student loan forgiveness?"