Student loans can be a burden for many people. In fact, the average graduate has nearly $30,000 in student loan debt. If you’re struggling to make your student loan payments, you may be wondering if there’s any way to get your loans forgiven. While it’s not easy, there are a few options that may be available to you.
One option is to work in a public service job. If you work full-time for a government or non-profit organization, you may be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Under this program, your remaining student loan balance will be forgiven after you make 120 qualifying monthly payments.
Another option is to join the military. If you enlist in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, you may be eligible for the Student Loan Repayment Program. This program offers up to $65,000 in student loan repayment assistance.
Finally, you may be able to get your student loans forgiven through bankruptcy. However, this is a last resort option as it will damage your credit score and make it difficult to borrow money in the future. If you’re considering bankruptcy, be sure to speak with an attorney first to see if it’s the right option for you.
While it’s not easy to get your student loans forgiven, there are a few options that may be available to you. If you’re struggling to make your student loan payments, explore these options and see if one of them could help you get out of debt.
There are a number of ways that you can get your student loans forgiven. The most common is through public service loan forgiveness. To be eligible, you must work for a government or non-profit organization and make 120 monthly payments on your loans. You also must have a Direct Loan from the Department of Education. If you meet these requirements, the remaining balance on your loan will be forgiven after 10 years.
Another way to get your loans forgiven is through income-driven repayment plans. These plans lower your monthly payment based on your income and family size. If you make payments for 20 or 25 years, depending on the plan, the remaining balance on your loan will be forgiven. You may also be eligible for loan forgiveness if you become disabled or die. If you have federal student loans, you should contact your loan servicer to discuss your options.
- Forgiveness is the best kind of student loan debt relief, but it’s hard to come by.
- Income-driven repayment plans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) can erase people’s remaining debt after many years of payments.
- Only federal student loans can be forgiven.
- Forgiveness can leave recipients with a big tax bill.
- Forgiveness and forbearance sound similar but are not the same.
Student Loan Forgiveness: Which Loans Are Eligible?
If you’re struggling to repay your student loans, you might be wondering if any of your loans are eligible for forgiveness. The answer depends on the type of loan you have. Only direct loans made by the federal government are eligible for forgiveness.
Stafford loans, which were replaced by direct loans in 2010, are also still eligible. If you have other kinds of federal loans, you might be able to consolidate them into one direct consolidation loan, which may give you access to additional income-driven repayment plan options. Non-federal loans (those handled by private lenders and loan companies) do not qualify for forgiveness.
In 2020, borrowers with federal student loans who attended for-profit colleges and sought loan forgiveness because their school defrauded them or broke specific laws were dealt a setback when then-President Trump vetoed a bipartisan resolution that would have overturned new regulations that made it harder for them to get relief.
However, there are still some avenues available for borrowers who believe they were misled by their school. If you’re struggling to repay your student loans, it’s important to know all your options.
On August 23, 2022, the United States Department of Education approved $32 billion in student loan debt relief for over 1.6 million borrowers. This is a significant victory for those who have been struggling to repay their loans, many of whom were victims of for-profit college fraud. The Biden administration has made it a priority to provide relief for student loan borrowers, and this is a major step in that effort. If you are one of the 1.6 million borrowers who will receive relief, you should contact your loan servicer to find out more about the process. In the meantime, you can rest assured that your debt burden will soon be lighter.
The Biden administration has announced several measures to help student loan borrowers during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes debt cancellation of up to $20,000 for recipients of Pell Grants with loans through the Department of Education and as much as $10,000 for non-Pell Grant recipients. This is in addition to student loan forbearance that expires on Dec. 31, 2022.
These measures will provide relief to many borrowers who are struggling to repay their loans due to the pandemic. If you are a borrower who is struggling to make your payments, be sure to contact your lender or servicer to find out what options are available to you. You may also want to consider consolidating your loans or enrolling in an income-driven repayment plan, which can lower your monthly payments. For more information on these and other options, visit https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/covid-19.
Income-Driven Repayment Plan Forgiveness
If you’re struggling to make your monthly student loan payments, you may be able to enroll in an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. IDR plans are designed to make your payments more affordable by stretching them out over a longer period of time.
The four IDR plans offered by the Department of Education have repayment terms of 20 or 25 years, and after that term, any remaining balance on the loan is forgiven. Payments under an IDR plan are based on your household income and family size, and they will typically be capped at 10%, 15%, or 20% of your discretionary income. If you’re considering enrolling in an IDR plan, it’s important to know that there are pros and cons associated with each type of plan.
For example, while the PAYE and REPAYE plans have the same monthly payment cap, the REPAYE plan offers forgiveness after 20 years for undergraduate loans and 25 years for graduate loans. On the other hand, the PAYE plan only offers forgiveness after 20 years for both undergraduate and graduate loans. Be sure to do your research and choose the IDR plan that’s right for you.
Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment (REPAYE) Plan
The REPAYE Plan is an income-driven repayment option for federal student loans. The Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) Plan caps your monthly payments at 10% of your discretionary income and provides for a repayment period of 20 to 25 years, depending on when you received the loans you’re repaying under the plan. If you repay your loans under REPAYE, any unpaid portion of the loan will be forgiven after 20 or 25 years (depending on the type of loan). You may have to pay taxes on the forgiven amount. Only Direct Loans are eligible for REPAYE.
The spouse’s income is not factored into monthly payments if the couple files taxes separately. If you have eligible loans from before October 1, 2007, or if you’ve never had a Direct Loan, you may be able to recast them as a Direct Loan to get them into REPAYE. The biggest downside to this plan is that you may end up paying more interest over time than you would with other repayment plans. But if you’re struggling to make monthly payments, REPAYE could be a good option for you.
Pay As You Earn Repayment (PAYE) Plan
The PAYE Repayment Plan is a great option for borrowers who are struggling to make their monthly student loan payments. Under this plan, your monthly payments are based on your discretionary income, and the repayment period is 20 years. This can be a great option for borrowers who are employed in low-paying jobs or who are working part-time. In addition, the monthly payments under this plan are typically lower than they would be under the Standard Repayment Plan. The only downside to this plan is that if your income increases over time, your monthly payments could increase as well. But if you’re looking for a flexible repayment option, the PAYE Plan could be a good choice for you.
Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan:
The Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan is designed to make repaying your student loans more affordable. Monthly payments are based on a percentage of your discretionary income, and the repayment period is 20 or 25 years, depending on when you received your loan. This plan can help you if you’re struggling to make payments on the Standard Repayment Plan.
IBR is available for both direct loans and Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL). If you have an outstanding balance on your loan when you switch to IBR, your monthly payments will be 15% of your discretionary income; if you don’t have an outstanding balance, they’ll be 10%. In either case, your monthly payment cannot exceed the amount you would pay under the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan. You may also be eligible for loan forgiveness after 20 or 25 years, depending on when you received your loan. If you think IBR could be right for you, contact your loan servicer to get started.
Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan:
The Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan is a great option for those who are struggling to make their monthly student loan payments. Under this plan, your monthly payment is based on your income, so if you happen to lose your job or have a decrease in income, your monthly payment will be lower. This can give you some much-needed financial breathing room.
In addition, the repayment period for this plan is 25 years, which is longer than most other repayment plans. This means that you will have more time to pay off your loans and less chance of defaulting. However, it is important to remember that you will ultimately end up paying more interest over the life of the loan under this plan. But if you are having trouble making your monthly payments, the ICR Plan may be a good option for you.
For many recent graduates, the burden of student loan debt can feel overwhelming. While there are a number of repayment options available, Income-Driven Repayment plans can be a good option for those in low-paying fields. These plans set your monthly payment at a percentage of your income, and extend your repayment period to 20 or 25 years. As a result, your payments will be more manageable, and you will ultimately pay less interest on your loans. However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all federal loans are eligible for IDR plans, and you will have to recertify your income and family size each year. Nonetheless, an IDR plan can be a helpful way to make your student loan payments more manageable.
How to Apply
Applying for an Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plan can help lower your monthly student loan payments. To apply, you’ll need to submit an Income-Driven Repayment Plan Request, which is available online or from your loan servicer. Once you’ve completed the form, you can choose a specific IDR plan or ask that your loan servicer place you on the income-driven plan with the lowest monthly payment amount. Keep in mind that your loan servicer may require additional information to process your request. For example, you may need to provide proof of your income or household size. But once your application is approved, you can start enjoying the benefits of lower monthly payments and the peace of mind that comes with them.
AGI is a term that is used on your federal income tax return. It is the total of your wages, salaries, tips, interest, dividends, capital gains, business income, rental income, royalty income, alimony, and several other types of income. You will report this number on line 7 of your Form 1040. If you have not filed a federal income tax return in the past two years or if your current income is different from what was reported on your most recent tax return, then you will need to provide alternative documentation of income. This could include pay stubs, W-2 forms, 1099 forms, bank statements, or other financial documents that show your income. The specific documentation that will be required will vary depending on the type of plan you are applying for. However, most plans will require some combination of these types of documents. Providing accurate and up-to-date information on your income is essential for determining your eligibility for certain plans and calculating your monthly payment.
- In the former case, if applying online, you can use the included IRS Data Retrieval Tool to pull your AGI information from your federal income tax return. Alternatively, if applying with a paper form, you will need to include a printed copy of your most recently filed federal income tax return or Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax return transcript.
- In the latter case, if you are currently receiving taxable income, you are limited to the paper Income-Driven Repayment Plan Request and must include the alternative documentation of your income (i.e., a pay stub). However, if you currently have no income (or if you only receive untaxed income), then you can indicate that on either application and won’t be required to supply any further documentation.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is a federal program that offers student loan forgiveness for teachers who teach at low-income schools or educational service agencies. To qualify, teachers must have taught for five complete and consecutive academic years (at least one of which must have been after the 1997–98 academic year). Up to $17,500 of federal direct and Stafford student loans can be forgiven under this program. However, it is important to note that PLUS and Perkins loans are not eligible for forgiveness under this program. For those who do qualify, the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program can provide much-needed relief from the burden of student loan debt.
Even if you were unable to complete a full academic year of teaching, it may still be counted toward the required five academic years if you completed at least half of the academic year; your employer considers your contract requirements for the academic year fulfilled for the purposes of salary increases, tenure, and retirement; and you were unable to complete the academic year because you either returned to postsecondary education in an area of study directly related to the five academic years of qualifying teaching service, had a condition covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993, or were called to over 30 days active duty as a member of a reserve component of the U.S. armed forces.
In order to be eligible for federal student loan forgiveness through the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, you must be classified as a highly qualified teacher. This means that you must have at least a bachelor’s degree, full state certification, and not had certification or licensure requirements waived on an emergency, temporary, or provisional basis. Additional qualifications may be required depending on your status as a new or experienced teacher. For example, new teachers must complete an accredited teaching program in order to be eligible for up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness. However, this amount is capped at $5,000 for experienced teachers. If you meet all of the eligibility requirements, you can apply for loan forgiveness through your lender or servicer. Once your application is approved, your remaining student loan balance will be forgiven.
If you’re a teacher who is hoping to qualify for student loan forgiveness, there are a few things you need to know. First, you must have an outstanding balance on a direct loan or FFEL as of Oct. 1, 1998. Additionally, only loans made before the end of your five academic years of qualifying teaching service will be eligible for Teacher Loan Forgiveness.
However, it’s important to note that you can potentially qualify for both the Teacher Loan Forgiveness and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) programs. But you can’t use the same years of teaching service to meet the eligibility requirements for both programs. So if you want to qualify for both programs, you’ll need 15 years of teaching service, in addition to meeting all the specific requirements to earn each type of forgiveness.
With that being said, if you’re a teacher who is looking to have your student loans forgiven, make sure you understand all the requirements needed to qualify for each program. That way, you can plan accordingly and maximize your chances of having your loans forgiven.
How to Apply
After you have completed five years of teaching, you may be eligible for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. To apply, simply submit a completed Teacher Loan Forgiveness Application to your loan servicer. The program forgives up to $17,500 of your student loan debt, making it easier for you to stay in the teaching profession. In order to qualify, you must teach full-time for five consecutive years at a low-income school or educational service agency. You must also have made 120 payments on your Direct Loans after October 1, 2007. If you have any questions about the program or the application process, you can contact the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243). Applying for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is a simple way to reduce your student loan debt and make it easier to continue teaching.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is a program that forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments while working full-time for a qualifying employer. To qualify, you must be employed by a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government agency, organization, or service, or a not-for-profit organization that has been designated as tax-exempt by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You must also be enrolled in a repayment plan based on your income and have made 120 consecutive monthly payments under that plan.
The PSLF program was created in 2007, and the first borrowers became eligible for forgiveness in 2017. However, the program has been fraught with controversy, as almost all of the initial applicants were denied forgiveness, often due to technicalities. The government has since made some changes to the program in an effort to make it more accessible, but it remains to be seen whether these changes will be sufficient. If you think you might be eligible for PSLF, it’s important to stay updated on the latest developments to ensure that you don’t miss out on this potentially life-changing opportunity.
Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) might help you if your Public Service Loan Forgiveness application was previously denied. TEPSLF may grant qualifying borrowers the forgiveness they were denied under PSLF, but only if they apply before the Oct. 31, 2022 deadline.
On Oct. 6, 2021, the Education Department announced temporary changes to the PSLF program (due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic) that will allow borrowers to receive credit for past payments regardless of payment plan or loan program—and regardless of whether payments were made on-time or in the full amount. Borrowers have to submit a PSLF form by Oct. 31, 2022, to receive these benefits.
Many of the previous requirements for PSLF are waived as part of the change, with two key requirements remaining: first, that borrowers must have made 120 qualifying monthly payments; and second, that at least one of those payments must have been made after Dec. 31, 2017. This means that borrowers who have been making on-time payments for 10 years or more may now be eligible for PSLF, even if they were previously ineligible due to having an older loan or being enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan.
This is good news for many struggling borrowers who have been trying to qualify for PSLF but have been unable to do so due to the restrictions of the program. If you think you may be eligible for PSLF under the new rules, be sure to submit your form by Oct. 31, 2022. And if you have any questions about the process, you can always reach out to your student loan servicer for guidance.
- Full-time employee or qualifying employee when the prior payments were made.
- All loans must be federal direct student loans (or consolidated into a direct loan program by Oct. 31, 2022).
The recent update to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program includes a few key changes that could make it easier for borrowers to qualify. First, the waiver will now allow active-duty service members to count deferments and forbearances toward PSLF. This means that if you’ve been in deferred or forbearance status for any reason, you can still qualify for PSLF as long as you make 120 qualifying payments. The second change is that the government will now review denied PSLF applications for any errors and allow borrowers the ability to have their PSLF determination reconsidered. This is a huge relief for borrowers who may have been incorrectly denied in the past. Finally, the update also clarified that only payments made after October 1, 2007 will count towards PSLF, so if you’re close to qualifying, be sure to make your last payment on or after this date. These changes should make it easier for more borrowers to take advantage of this important program.
How to Apply
First, if you have FFEL Program loans and/or Perkins Loans, be sure to consolidate these into a direct consolidation loan by Oct. 31, 2022. You can’t receive credit for time in repayment if you consolidated and submitted your PSLF form after that date.1513
Actually applying for PSLF boils down to a four-step process, each of which require utilizing the online PSLF Help Tool:
- Search with the PSLF Help Tool to determine if you work for a qualifying employer.
- Have your employment for each year certified by the official who is authorized to do so by your employer.
- Apply for forgiveness once you’ve met all the programs requirements.
- Sign your PSLF form and then submit it to the PSLF servicer.
For the final step, send the completed form, alongside your employer’s certification, to MOHELA, the U.S. Department of Education’s federal loan servicer for the PSLF Program. If MOHELA is already your loan servicer, you may upload your PSLF form directly to their website. Alternatively, you can fax your PSLF form to 866-222-7060 or mail it to the following address:
- U.S. Department of Education
- 633 Spirit Drive
- Chesterfield, MO 63005-1243
Student Loan Forgiveness Is Not the Same as Forbearance
For many people, student loan debt is a major financial burden. If you’re having trouble making your payments, you may be considering forbearance as a way to reduce your monthly payment. However, it’s important to understand how forbearance works and what the consequences may be.
When you’re in forbearance, your lender agrees to temporarily postpone your payments. This can be helpful if you’re facing a temporary financial hardship, such as unemployment or medical expenses. However, interest on your loan will still accrue during this time, and it will be added to your principal balance once the forbearance period is over. As a result, your monthly payment will be slightly higher after forbearance, and you’ll end up paying more interest in the long run.
Forgiveness and forbearance are two separate things. Forgiveness means that you’re no longer responsible for repaying your loan, while forbearance simply postpones your payments. If you’re struggling to make your student loan payments, you should explore all of your options before deciding on forbearance.
CARES Act Automatic Federal Student Loan Forbearance
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act automatically places your federal student loans into forbearance for up to 6 months. Your payments are suspended during this time and no interest accrues on your loans. You do not need to contact your loan servicer to request this forbearance; it is automatic and applies to all federal student loans, including Direct Loans and Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program Loans. Private student loans are not included in this relief. The CARES Act forbearance period began on March 13, 2020, and will last through September 30, 2020. If you have questions or need assistance, you can contact your loan servicer. We encourage you to visit our website for updates related to the CARES Act as they become available.
Potential Pitfalls of Forgiveness
Many people view forgiveness as a purely altruistic act, but there can be potential pitfalls associated with forgiving someone who has wronged you. For example, if you forgive someone for a debt they owe you, the IRS may treat that forgiven debt as taxable income. Similarly, if you have your student loans forgiven through an income-driven repayment plan, the forgiven balance may be considered taxable income. Thankfully, the American Rescue Plan includes a provision that forgives student loan debt issued between Jan. 1, 2021 and Dec. 31, 2025 will not be taxable. However, it is still important to be aware of the potential tax implications of forgiveness and to plan accordingly.
The Bottom Line
Student loans can be a huge burden to take on, and earning forgiveness for them isn’t easy. It takes years before you even see any results from your efforts in this department; ultimately it may not work out like planned- which means servicer changes could put an end all of those hard work right away!
Student loan forgiveness programs come with certain conditions, requirements and limitations. You must follow the rules to a T if you want qualify for any of these options- student debt relief being one that could be available out an emergency financial situation like yours; however bankruptcy might also provide some solutions in dire circumstances .
The future of student loan forgiveness is uncertain. This could be a welcome possibility for some, but it’s important to note that the policy only applies if you’re an undergraduate or graduate degree candidate in good standing at least half way through your repayment period—so don’t take on more than what can afford!
The above content source is Investopedia