Here’s how to get student loan forgiveness.
Here’s what you need to know — and what it means for your student loans.
There’s plenty of student loan cancellation up for grabs—you just need to know how to apply and where to find it. Since January, President Joe Biden has cancelled more student loans than any other president in U.S. history, and Biden will continue to cancel more student loans. You may be wondering how to get your student loans cancelled. Here’s how to get student loan forgiveness and student loan cancellation:
1. How can I get student loan forgiveness?
There are several ways to get student loan forgiveness. Here are a few:
- income-driven repayment plans
- total and permanent disability
- borrower defense to repayment rule
- public service loan forgiveness
- teacher loan forgiveness
- state programs for student loan forgiveness
To get student loan forgiveness, typically you to have complete certain requirements or meet qualifications. Most the student loan forgiveness isn’t automatic.
2. Do I qualify for student loan forgiveness?
Most options for student loan forgiveness relate to federal student loans only. There is no student loan cancellation for private loans through the federal government. That said, contact your student loan servicer to inquire about private student loan cancellation. Here is a snapshot of how to qualify for popular types of student loan forgiveness:
Income-driven repayment plans:
How to qualify: If you have Direct Loans, you automatically qualify for income-driven repayment. If you have FFELP Loans or Perkins Loans, you may need to consolidate student loans into a Direct Consolidation Loans. To get student loan forgiveness, you must make 20 years (undergraduate student loans) or 25 years (graduate student loans) of monthly student loan payments. Choose one of four income-driven repayment plans: Income-Based Repayment (IBR), Pay As You Earn (PAYE), Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) and Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR). (Here are 3 things that student loan cancellation means for your student loans).
How to apply: Contact your student loan servicer.
Total and permanent disability
How to qualify: You have a total and permanent disability.
How to apply: Apply for student loan cancellation due to a total and permanent disability.
Borrower defense to repayment rule
How to qualify: Your college or university misled you or engaged in other misconduct. You may need to demonstrate that your school violated state law related to your student loans or the educational services provided. With borrower defense to repayment, you can get partial student loan cancellation or total student loan cancellation.
How to apply: Apply for student loan cancellation due to borrower defense to repayment.
Public service loan forgiveness
How to qualify: The public service loan forgiveness grants total student loan cancellation to federal student loan borrowers who are enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan, work for a qualified public service or non-profit employer, make 120 monthly student loan payments, and who meet other requirements.
How to apply: Complete the Public Service Loan Forgiveness form to get student loan forgiveness. Remember to submit this form annually or when you change employers.
Teacher loan forgiveness
How to qualify: You can get up to $17,500 of student loan forgiveness if you teach for five complete and consecutive academic years in a low-income school or educational service agency and meet other qualifications. In comparison, if you plan to teach for at least 10 years, you can get total student loan cancellation with public service loan forgiveness.
How to apply: Apply for student loan cancellation through teach loan forgiveness.
State programs for student loan forgiveness
How to qualify: Qualifications to get student loan forgiveness will vary by state and by program.
How to apply: Contact your state’s department of education.
3. How much student loan debt did Biden cancel?
Since becoming president, Biden has cancelled $11.5 billion of student loans. This includes:
Biden will continue to cancel more student loan debt.
4. Will there be wide-scale student loan cancellation?
Last week, a Freedom of Information Act request revealed the apparent existence of a legal memo on student loan forgiveness that the U.S. Department of Education drafted. Some speculate whether this memo reflects the Education Department’s long-awaited opinion on whether Biden has legal authority to cancel everyone’s student loans unilaterally without further congressional authorization. (What this legal memo on student loan forgiveness means for your student loans). Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said the Biden administration is still considering wide-scale student loan forgiveness, implying that student loan cancellation is still alive. That said, there’s a low likelihood that Biden will cancel everyone’s student loan debt. Instead, Biden is more likely to focus on targeted student loan cancellation for specific types of borrowers. So, don’t expect wide-scale student loan forgiveness.
5. What are the major changes to student loan forgiveness?
The Biden administration announced major changes to student loan forgiveness. As a result, student loan forgiveness will become more accessible and you can get student loan forgiveness more easily. By simplifying student loan forgiveness, for example, public servants can count prior student loan payments made for FFELP Loans and Perkins Loans, count late payments, get credit if they used the wrong plan for student loan repayment, and count student loan payments made before student loan consolidation. This is in addition to 22 months of student loan relief and temporary student loan forbearance as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, student loan borrowers collectively will get $110 billion of student loan cancellation. (Here’s who qualifies for student loan forgiveness right now).
6. How do I apply for a limited waiver for public service loan forgiveness?
The historic changes to student loan forgiveness are groundbreaking and long overdue. However, student loan forgiveness has one major problem. To get this additional student loan relief, you must get a limited waiver for public service loan forgiveness. Plus, you only have until October 31, 2022 to count any prior student loan payments, whether they were late, incomplete, made for ineligible student loans, or made using the wrong student loan repayment plan. (Here are 17 ways Biden can fix student loan forgiveness).
7. Can you get student loan forgiveness if your school closed?
Yes, you can get student loan forgiveness if your school closed. This has happened to student loan borrowers who, for example, attended a for-profit school. If your college or career school closed while you were enrolled, or soon thereafter, you can get student loan cancellation through the U.S. Department of Education.
8. How do you get student loan forgiveness if you don’t work in public service?
It’s possible to get student loan forgiveness if you don’t work in public service.
9. How can I get a lower student loan payment?
There are 3 popular ways to get a lower student loan payment.
Student loan relief is ending January 31, 2022. Student loan forgiveness is important, but so is student loan repayment. Here are some popular options to pay off student loans faster:
Student Loans: Related Reading
Here’s who qualifies for student loan forgiveness right now
Student loan forgiveness won’t be available to these borrowers
How to get approved for student loan forgiveness
3 ways to get a lower student loan payment