You’ve graduated from college, and you’re finally beginning to think about what you want to do with your life, but the thought of student loan debt brings on a whole new set of worries. If you live in the United States, there’s no need to fret; there are several programs available to help you pay off your student loans and get on with your life.
What is the student loan forgiveness program?
In America, The Student Loan Forgiveness Program is a loan forgiveness program aimed at encouraging and assisting those who wish to enter the public service sector. Public servants are often educators, members of the armed forces, government employees, and volunteers. If you meet the qualifications for this program, all qualified student loans may be forgiven after 10 years (120 eligible payments) of full-time public service.
Applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements in order to be considered for this program.
If you are a recent graduate who has a mountain of student loan debt, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program may be able to relieve some of your financial burdens. The program was created under the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 and allows you to get out of federal student loan debt by performing full-time public service.
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is administered by the Department of Education. Once you have applied, the department reviews your employment and payment history to determine if you qualify for the program. In addition, the program is subject to yearly recertification. Applicants must be full-time employees of qualifying employers to be eligible.
The PSLF program is currently in need of improvements. There are too many borrowers not receiving forgiveness, and the eligibility requirements are confusing. However, the program is responding to comments and identifying ways to improve it.
Requirements for Borrowers
You need to have the following qualifications to apply for this program:
(1) complete 120 or more qualified payments on a Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized loan;
(2) be enrolled in a qualifying repayment plan (as described below), and
(3) be either gainfully employed or engaging in public service work as described below. If you’re a student who owes a large sum of money to the federal government, you may be eligible to receive student loan forgiveness.
The federal government has several programs available to people who want to reduce or eliminate their student loan debt. These programs include the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program and the Faculty Loan Repayment Program. However, to receive loan forgiveness, you must be in the public service full time.
Benefits of Applying
By applying for the Student Loan Forgiveness Program, you can receive forgiveness on a portion of your outstanding student loans. You will then be free from the burden of payments that have been keeping you from making other major financial decisions.
- With approval for the program, some federal student loans are eligible for complete forgiveness within 10 years or in public service jobs after 10 years. * Depending on your eligibility and the type of loan you have, some or all of your balance may be forgiven. A variety of Federal Loans including Perkins Loans, Stafford Loans, and PLUS Loans are eligible for forgiveness programs with Public Service Jobs in particular. Borrowers must make 120 qualifying monthly payments before they’re eligible.
How To Apply
- Contact your lender or servicer and ask for a copy of your student loan’s promissory note and schedule, or an Income-Based Repayment plan application.
- Gather all of the documentation that you need for filing an income-based repayment plan application.
- File an Income-Based Repayment plan application with your servicer along with documentation showing you’re working towards forgiveness (i.e., employer-provided tax forms).
- If your servicer denies the request, they must provide a written explanation of why they denied it so that you can appeal their decision within 60 days
- Apply here at PSLF.gov (must apply by 10/31/22).
The student loan forgiveness program has a number of application deadlines that must be met. To qualify, borrowers must submit their application before the deadline, which is November 15 of this year or December 31 of 2022. To qualify, borrowers must meet certain income criteria and have federal student loan debt.
As the application deadlines for the program draw near borrowers should begin to evaluate their options. The White House recommends that borrowers apply by Nov. 15 to ensure they will see an adjustment before Dec. 31. The Department of Education will continue to process applications after this deadline, but loan relief will end at the end of 2023.
The Department of Education also wants borrowers to know that the program will continue to process applications for federal student loan forgiveness after Dec. 31. That means that borrowers who missed the deadline will have a year to apply and will have to enter repayment before being eligible to receive forgiveness.
Students who take out federal loans can qualify for forgiveness on either the loans themselves or their remaining interest. Eligibility depends largely on income, which is determined by student borrowers’ household size and the difference between their discretionary income and the poverty line.
The program provides for students in undergraduate or graduate programs who began school after 2007. They must have taken out a Direct or Grad PLUS loan and meet other requirements including public service work or another type of service that’s in the public interest.
After making 120 qualifying payments over 10 years, they’ll then be eligible for forgiveness on all remaining debt, provided they work in a public service field or a related profession with a qualified employer.
What are your options?
- What is Income-Based Repayment? In order to qualify for Income-Based Repayment, you must demonstrate a partial financial hardship. What that means is that your debt load and income should not be higher than the national average. The way it works is that your remaining loan payments are calculated based on what percentage of your income you make each month. This typically translates into lower monthly payments with the option to pay off your loans more quickly and have less leftover interest (which only increases your debt). The downside is that monthly expenses could increase if you need time before paying off these loans, so making sure you have an emergency fund saved up in case of emergencies will help make this plan more feasible.
- What are my options? There are two types of student loan forgiveness programs. One is called public service forgiveness, which covers any federal student loans or other federal student loans where the borrower has been working full-time for 10 years in some type of public service jobs like teaching or law enforcement. If you meet those requirements, then after 120 qualifying payments over 10 years, all remaining debt will be forgiven – no matter how much money was borrowed or how high the interest rates were. To see if you’re eligible for public service forgiveness, click here!
Common student loan forgiveness programs and how they work.
In an effort to help make college more affordable, there are several programs that may result in the cancellation of a student’s debt. In order for your loans to be eligible for forgiveness under these programs, you will need either have a balance remaining on your loan after the cancellation period or be enrolled in certain repayment plans, including Income-Based Repayment (IBR) and/or Pay As You Earn (PAYE).
There are some key points about each of these programs that prospective students should be aware of:
Income-Based Repayment Plan -a monthly payment that is determined by income level and family size with no payments accruing interest while on this plan.
Faculty Loan Repayment Program
The HRSA Faculty Loan Repayment Program was created to help ease the economic barriers that prevent people from pursuing a faculty career. It provides up to $40,000 in loan repayment assistance to eligible faculty members. This program is designed to benefit those who face a variety of environmental and financial challenges during their academic careers.
The first step in applying for this program is to complete an application. All interested participants must meet certain eligibility criteria. Applicants must be full-time faculty members for at least one academic year. They must also have a legitimate promissory note. The maximum repayment period is five years. Applicants must apply before June 30 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
The Faculty Loan Repayment Program is designed to help health professionals who are facing financial hardships repay their student loans. In order to be eligible for the program, applicants must have an eligible health profession degree and have an employment commitment at a health professional school for a minimum of two years. The award is for up to $40,000, which can be used to help the recipient reduce educational debt.
Military and armed forces offer loan forgiveness programs
If you’re in the military or armed forces, you may be eligible for student loan forgiveness. Some armed forces and military branches offer their own student loan forgiveness programs.
Some of the programs are for active duty service and some are not. These programs are designed to make paying back student debt easier for members of the armed forces and their families.
Serving in the armed forces can be a life-changing decision. Not only can it provide you with a wealth of experience and freedom, but you can also pursue an education through the military.
The great thing about military and armed forces student loan forgiveness programs is that you can take advantage of them both while serving and after you return to civilian life.
While eligibility requirements for these programs vary by branch, there are some general guidelines that can help service personnel make the best decision for their financial situation. The amount of money you can receive varies, but the maximum amount of money you can get from the program is about $65,000 and depends on your branch of service.
How to opt-out if you don’t qualify
One in four people who have student loans isn’t eligible for forgiveness, even if they’ve been paying for 10 years. There are various reasons you might not qualify, including your income being too high or your debt coming from certain types of federal loans. Here’s how to figure out if you qualify and what to do if you don’t.
First, find out which type of debt you have by checking your loan details on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). Your specific eligibility depends on which type of federal student loan you have and the type of repayment plan that applies to it.
Is it worth it?
The idea of taking on so much debt for the possibility of it being forgiven is terrifying, but there are a lot of factors that can make this worth it. First off, depending on your income and career field you might not need to start paying anything back.
Plus, even if you do have to start paying back part of your loans (in addition to interest) this could lead to a major difference in the amount you end up paying back, especially if you want any chance at a good credit score.
The last thing worth mentioning is that forgiving these loans will not impact how many other loans you’re eligible for – so don’t let them stop you from going after the goals you want!