Have Student Loans? It’s Possible To Have Them Forgiven

Young woman on her graduation day in university holding diploma.
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Currently, 45 million people are carrying student loan debt, adding up to about $1.7 trillion total. Many borrowers might feel like they’re drowning; some can’t imagine a future where all their debt is paid off.

Fortunately, there are some viable methods to have student loans forgiven so you’re no longer left with debt looming over your life. Read on to find out if you meet the criteria to have your student loans discharged. 

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Income-Driven Repayment

When standard payment plans are set up for federal student loans, most of them are figured over the course of 10 years. However, if the monthly amount to pay back the student loan over 10 years is too great, you can apply for an income-driven repayment plan. These plans structure repayment over 20-25 years, and the most taken out of your monthly income would be 15%. If you’ve made all of your payments, the rest of the loan is forgiven after the predetermined pay period.

Make Your Money Work for You

Say your plan is set up for 10% of your monthly take-home pay for 20 years starting in 2021. If you’ve made every payment come 2041, no matter how much is left on your loan, you won’t have to pay it. You do have to declare how much you make at the start of every year, so if you start to make more money, your monthly payments will go up, but it won’t affect the other terms of the loan. 

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Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Depending on your line of work, you might be able to have your Direct Loans forgiven. If you’re employed by the government, work for a nonprofit, or serve in the military and are already enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan, you can apply for public service loan forgiveness. This requires that you’ve made 120 qualifying payments already, and that you’re working full-time for your employer

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Teacher Loan Forgiveness

Make Your Money Work for You

Teaching is another occupation that can potentially save you money on your loans. In order to qualify, you must have a bachelor’s degree and full state certification and teach full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in a low-income elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency. If you meet all the requirements, you can have up to $17,500 of your Direct Loan or Federal Family Education Loan forgiven. If you don’t meet all of these stipulations, you might still be eligible to get up to $5,000 forgiven, so it’s worth looking into.

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Closed School Discharge

If the school you attended closed while you were enrolled, were on approved leave, or within 120-180 days of  your withdrawing (depending on the year you were granted a loan), you’ll be provided with an application to have the loan discharged, according to the Federal Student Aid website. Some loans may also be subject to an automatic discharge based on when funds were disbursed and depending on whether a student has attended another institution that offers federal loans within three years of the school closure. 

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Perkins Loans

If you have a Perkins loan, you could be eligible for 100% forgiveness, depending on your job. If you have worked full-time in a public or nonprofit elementary or secondary school system as a teacher who serves mostly students from low-income families, a special education teacher or a teacher in a field that is determined to have a shortage of qualified teachers, you can file for loan forgiveness.

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Total and Permanent Disability Discharge

Certain loans are forgiven if you’re found to be permanently and totally disabled. Documentation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Social Security Administration or a doctor is required to file for the discharge.

For more information on eligibility information and how to apply for loan forgiveness, visit studentaid.gov.

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Last updated: Aug. 10, 2021

About the Author

Sam DiSalvo is an LA-based comedian, writer and actor who's performed all over the country. Her written work has appeared in numerous digital publications. As a copywriter, she's worked with a variety of major brands including GoldieBlox and Thrive Causemetics. Sam loves dogs and is currently perusing leisure suits to buy for her corgi mix, Barry

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