Student Loan Forgiveness (and Other Ways the Government Can Help You Repay Your Loans)
Here’s a common question from customers who have taken out student loans… Is it really possible to have my federal student loans forgiven or to get help repaying them?
The answer: Yes!
However, there are very specific eligibility requirements you must meet to qualify for loan forgiveness or receive help with repayment. Loan forgiveness means you don’t have to pay back some or all of your loan.
You never know what you may be eligible for, so take a look at the options we have listed below.
One-time Student Loan Debt Relief
One-time student loan debt relief is provided by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) as part of the Biden-Harris Administration student debt relief plan. You may be able to receive up to $20,000 in debt relief if you received a Federal Pell Grant and up to $10,000 in debt relief if you didn’t receive a Federal Pell Grant. If you have loans held by ED, you’re eligible for this relief if your individual income is less than $125,000 (or $250,000 for households).
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
If you work full-time for a government or not-for-profit organization, you may qualify for forgiveness of the entire remaining balance of your Direct Loans after you’ve made 120 qualifying payments—that is, 10 years of payments. To benefit from PSLF, you need to repay your federal student loans under an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. Learn more about PSLF now!
If you’re interested in PSLF, use the PSLF Help Tool to generate a form to submit to MOHELA, the PSLF servicer. If you’ve been denied loan forgiveness under PSLF because of a nonqualifying repayment plan, you might be eligible for Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF). Learn about TEPSLF.
Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Forgiveness
An IDR plan bases your monthly payment on your income and family size. If you repay your loans under an IDR plan, any remaining balance on your student loans will be forgiven after you make a certain number of payments over 20 or 25 years.
Past periods of repayment, deferment, and forbearance might now count toward your IDR forgiveness because of the one-time IDR adjustment.
Borrowers with certain non-Direct loans may need to take action before May 1, 2023, to benefit from this adjustment. Learn about the one-time IDR account adjustment.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness
You may be eligible for forgiveness of up to $17,500 if you teach full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in certain elementary or secondary schools or educational service agencies that serve low-income families and if you meet other qualifications. Get details about Teacher Loan Forgiveness.
See our other resource article, “4 Loan Forgiveness Programs for Teachers.”
In acknowledgment of your service to our country, there are special benefits for your student loans available from ED and the U.S. Department of Defense. Benefits include interest rate caps under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and Department of Defense student loan repayment programs. Learn more about federal student loan benefits for members of the U.S. armed forces.
The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award is a benefit received by participants who complete a term of national service in an approved AmeriCorps program—AmeriCorps VISTA, AmeriCorps NCCC, or AmeriCorps State and National. After you successfully complete your service, you are eligible to receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, which can be used to repay qualified student loans.
Check out our student loan forgiveness page for info about other types of loan forgiveness and discharge that might be available if you meet certain conditions.
If the options listed above don’t apply to you but you need help making your federal student loan payments, contact your loan servicer about the options to
- switch your repayment plan to lower your monthly payments,
- consolidate multiple federal student loans into one loan which may result in a lower monthly payment, or
- apply for deferment or forbearance to temporarily postpone or reduce your payments.
Beware of Scams
You might be contacted by a company saying they will help you get loan discharge, forgiveness, cancellation, or debt relief for a fee. You never have to pay for help with your federal student aid. Make sure you work only with ED and our loan servicers, and never reveal your personal information or account password to anyone.
Our emails to borrowers come from firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org. You can report scam attempts to the Federal Trade Commission by calling 1-877-382-4357 or by visiting ReportFraud.ftc.gov.