Student Loan Forgiveness (and Other Ways the Government Can Help You Repay Your Loans)
The Supreme Court blocked the one-time debt relief plan (you may also know this as the forgiveness of up to $20,000 for Pell Grant borrowers). But you may be able to get help repaying your loans, including full loan forgiveness, through other federal student loan programs.
You never know what you may be eligible for, so take a look at the options listed below.
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. Be sure to check out our newest IDR plan, the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan.
Use Loan Simulator to compare plans, estimate monthly payment amounts, and see if you’re eligible for IDR loan forgiveness.
Your loan forgiveness timeline and monthly payment amount depend on which IDR plan you’re eligible to choose from. The SAVE Plan includes additional forgiveness benefits that will go into effect in July 2024.
See below for a quick comparison of the plans. Ready to apply? Apply for an IDR plan now.
Due to the one-time IDR adjustment, past periods of repayment, deferment, and forbearance might now count toward your IDR forgiveness.
Borrowers with certain non-Direct Loans will need to act by the end of 2023 to benefit from this adjustment.
Learn about the one-time IDR payment account adjustment and any actions you should take.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
If you work full time for a government or nonprofit organization, you may qualify for forgiveness of the entire remaining balance of your Direct Loans after you’ve made 120 qualifying payments—i.e., 10 years of payments. To benefit from PSLF, you need to repay your federal student loans under an IDR plan.
New to PSLF? Check out our 4 beginner tips for PSLF success.
If you’re interested in PSLF, use the PSLF Help Tool to apply.
If you have certain non-Direct Loans, you can get additional credit toward PSLF payments if you consolidate by the end of 2023. Learn about the IDR account adjustment for more info.
School-related Discharge Options
Borrower defense to repayment is a legal ground for discharging federal Direct Loans. Borrowers apply for borrower defense if they believe their school misled them or lied to them about something central to their decision to enroll and take out loans. If you think your situation qualifies for borrower defense, submit a borrower defense application.
Another form of school-related discharge is closed school discharge. If your school closes while you’re enrolled or soon after you withdraw, you may be eligible for discharge of your federal student loan if you meet certain requirements.
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.
Remember, you may not receive a benefit under both the TLF Program and the PSLF Program for the same period of teaching service.
For more resources for teachers, check out our article, “4 Loan Forgiveness Programs for Teachers.”
Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge
To get TPD discharge, you must have a disability that severely limits your ability to work, now and in the future. This can be a physical or a mental disability. If you get a TPD discharge, you don’t have to repay any of your federal student loan(s) or complete your TEACH Grant service obligation.
In most cases, you’ll have to provide specific kinds of proof of your disability. But some people get an automatic discharge if they are identified as eligible by the Social Security Administration or Veterans Affairs. Learn about the three ways to qualify for TPD discharge.
The U.S Department of Education and Department of Defense have special benefits for military service members with federal student loans. Benefits include interest rate caps under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and Department of Defense student loan repayment programs.
In addition, your military service can also count toward PSLF.
Listen to a recording of experts discussing these benefits for military service members, and follow the threaded comments for resources mentioned in the recording. Find more information about these benefits at VA.gov/education.
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.
AmeriCorps service can also count towards PSLF.
Check out our student loan forgiveness page for information about other types of loan forgiveness and discharge.
You never have to pay for help with your student loans. Learn how to avoid student loan forgiveness scams.