Understanding Student Loan Forgiveness
Can you qualify to erase your student loan debt?
Without a doubt, student loan forgiveness programs are a phenomenal option to use… if you can qualify for them. There’s really nothing better than to be able to have the remaining balances on your federal student loans completely erased without any credit damage. Still, not just anyone can use these programs, and even if you can potentially qualify you have to take a certain path if you want ensure that your loans are forgiven.
The information below has been developed to help you understand student loan forgiveness, in general. At the bottom of the page, you’ll also find links to pages for specific types of loan forgiveness programs available. If you have questions or you’d like to talk to a student loan consultant, for free call us at 1‐888-472-0365 or complete the form to the right.
How student loan forgiveness works
So at a basic level, here’s how loan forgiveness programs work:
- First you have to work in certain industries and be employed for the “public good” – that means you usually have to work in some kind of public service sector, such as nursing, teaching or as a first responder.
- You have to consolidate all of your federal Direct student loans using one of the available consolidation programs
- You have to make payments for ten years. During that time, you have to stay employed in the public sector. That doesn’t mean you have to stay at the same job, but you can’t switch to a private practice or corporate business.
Once you do those three steps, then you can qualify to have the remaining balances on your loans erased. No credit damage, no penalties. It’s basically like you paid the debt off in-full.
Why does loan forgiveness even exist?
Student loan forgiveness is the government’s way of giving people who are out to help the world a way to help with their student loan debt problems. Essentially, it’s the government’s way of rewarding you for serving the common good. It’s also done with the understanding that public service sector jobs usually don’t come with a huge paycheck.
The thinking is that professionals that go into their career to help in the public sector have lower income than those working in the private sector, but they still have the same level of student loan debt. Since the government doesn’t want people to stay out of public service just because the income isn’t enough to cover their loans, they offer forgiveness options.
4 key questions for eligibility
Still not sure if you can qualify for a student loan forgiveness program? Just answer the three questions below. If you can say “yes” to all four questions, then you’re likely to be eligible but you’ll need to talk to a specialist if you want to confirm.
- Are you holding Federal Direct Student Loans?
- Have you already consolidated all of your loans together using one of the three hardship programs listed above?
- Have you been making payments on your loans for 10 years?
- Have you worked that entire time in a public service sector?
Military service members have specialized options for student loan forgiveness that go above and beyond the standard public service forgiveness programs described above. Even veterans who have left the service may be eligible for loan forgiveness, depending on the situation.