Understanding Loan Forgiveness

Is there an application for student loan forgiveness?

No repayment is required for any portion of the loan amount.

There is a difference between cancellation, forgiveness, or discharge

Although these terms are often interchangeable, they can also be called forgiveness or cancellation. Also known as discharge.

Except for circumstances that may qualify you for loan forgiveness, cancellation, and discharge, your loan payment is still due. This applies regardless of whether or not you complete your education, find work related to your program, and are satisfied with the education you received with your loan.

Types for forgiveness, cancellation, or discharge

These summaries provide a quick overview of the different forgiveness, cancellation, and discharge types available for federal student loans.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Direct Loans Available*

If you work for government agencies or non-profit organizations, you may be eligible to receive loan forgiveness.

PSLF will forgive your balance on Direct Loans if 120 qualifying monthly payments are made, and you work full-time for a qualified employer.

Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFEL), Perkins Loans, could be eligible for PSLF if consolidated into Direct Loan Program.

Forgiveness for Teacher Loans

Direct loans are available, and FFEL Program loans

If you have taught in a low-income school for five consecutive years, you may be eligible for a $17.500 loan forgiveness on your Direct Loans or the FFEL Program loans.

Learn more about the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program and eligibility requirements. Learn how to apply.

Not – You might not be eligible to receive the duplicate qualifying payments or service period for Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Loan Forgiveness.

Closed School Discharge

Direct Loans and FFEL Program Loans are available.

Your federal student loan may be discharged if your school closes during your enrollment or shortly after you withdraw.

Perkins Loan Cancellation & Discharge

Available only for Federal Perkins Loans

Perkins Loans can be canceled or disbursed based on the circumstances. Perkins Loan Teacher Cancellation.

Permanent and total disability discharge

Direct Loans and FFEL Program Loans are available.

You might be eligible to get a discharge from federal student loans and/or teacher education aid for college and higher education (TEACH), Grant.

Discharge Due to Death

Direct Loans and FFEL Program Loans are available.

Federal student loans can be canceled upon the death of the borrower or student for whom a PLUS Loan was taken out.5

Discharge in Bankruptcy (in rare cases)

Direct Loans and FFEL Program Loans are available.

Your federal student loan may be forgiven if bankruptcy is declared.

Learn how federal student loans can be discharged through bankruptcy

Repayment and Borrower Defense

Direct Loans Available*

If your federal student loans were used to pay for school and the school fails or does something related, you may be able to get your national student loan debt forgiven. Your date of receipt will determine your eligibility for borrower defense to repayment discharge.

Learn about the eligibility requirements and borrower defense to repayment. Learn how to apply.

False Certification Discharge

Loans and FFEL Program loans

You might be eligible for your federal student loan to be discharged if your school falsely certifies you eligible for a loan.

Unpaid Refund Discharge

Loans and FFEL Program loans

If you withdraw from school and the loan servicing has not returned the loan funds, you might be eligible for a discharge.

Forgery Discharge

Direct Loans are available along with Federal Perkins Loans, FFEL Program loans, and Federal Perkins Loans.

Forgery is the creation of fake documents or the altering of genuine papers with the intent of defrauding.

If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, you may be eligible for federal student loans or any other loan.

Eligibility for Parent Borrowers

Parents can have their PLUS loans disbursed if they die, become permanently disabled, or die.

In these cases, you can also discharge your PLUS loan parent partially or wholly:

  • The school was closed, so the student you borrowed couldn’t finish his/her program.
  • Your school falsely confirmed your eligibility for the loan.
  • Your eligibility for the loan was falsified due to identity theft.
  • The school refused to refund the loan money the student had borrowed, even though he or she withdrew.

For more information, contact your loan agent.

How to Apply For Forgiveness

Contact your loan agent if you think you may be eligible. For Perkins Loans, you should contact the school or designated loan servicer.

Loan payments during the application review period

Fees may apply depending on the type of forgiveness, cancellation, or discharge you use. Please contact your loan servicer to find out if you must continue paying your loan provider during the application review.

My application has been approved.

You are not required to make loan payments if you are granted forgiveness, cancellation, and/or discharge of all or a portion of your loan.

You may be eligible for your loan discharge if you meet specific criteria. If you meet specific criteria, your loan discharge may be possible.

My Application Was Denied

You are still responsible for repaying the loan if you get denied.

Get out of Default. This guide will show you how to repay your loan, and your options for getting out of default.

If your application has been rejected, don’t hesitate to contact your loan officer.

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