September 8, 2021

What Is the Student Loan Forgiveness Program?


Student loan forgiveness programs are opportunities to cancel or discharge your federal student loans. In general, you will no longer have to repay your loans in part or in full when you apply and qualify for forgiveness, cancellation, or discharge.

Specifically, student loan forgiveness or cancellation applies if you no longer have to pay loans due to your job. Student loan discharge also applies if you no longer have to pay loans due to other circumstances. Such cases include school closure and having a total or permanent disability.

You can apply for a student loan forgiveness program by contacting your loan servicer if you believe you qualify for one. Here is an overview of common student loan forgiveness programs and how you may qualify for them.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

The PSLF program cancels the remaining balance on Direct Loans if you are a full-time worker of an eligible public service organization. You may qualify if you work for a government organization at any level, the military, or a not-for-profit organization.

You must have made 120 qualifying monthly payments on your Direct Loans under a qualifying income-driven repayment plan. Some public service organizations may assist you in filling out a PSLF application.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program

The TLF program is an opportunity to cancel up to $17,500 on Direct Loans or FFEL Program loans. You may qualify for this student loan forgiveness program if you are a full-time teacher in a low-income school (elementary or secondary) or educational service agency for five complete and consecutive academic years.

Closed School Discharge Program

This student loan forgiveness program removes your repayment obligations if your school shuts down while you are enrolled. Your student loans may also be eligible for discharge if your school closes soon after you withdrew from the institution.

A closed school loan discharge is available for Direct Loans, FFEL Program loans, and Perkins Loans. The school secretary usually sends you an application for this program upon closure. You may also contact your loan servicer directly.

Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge Programs

You may be eligible for partial or total Federal Perkins Loan forgiveness under certain circumstances. You may cancel a portion or all of your Perkins Loans based on your employment or volunteer service. Education and healthcare workers may qualify for Perkins Loan Cancellation.

Meanwhile, you may have your loans discharged if you cite certain conditions, including bankruptcy, school closure, being a spouse of a 9/11 victim, total and permanent disability, veterans’ disability, or death.

Total and Permanent Disability Discharge Program

You may qualify for TPD discharge if you are totally and permanently disabled. Qualifying federal loans include Direct Loans, FFEL Program loans, and Perkins Loans. This student loan forgiveness program may also relieve you from completing a TEACH Grant service obligation.

Normally, you must complete and submit a TPD discharge application form with evidence of your total and permanent disability. Some borrowers may not have to submit these anymore because their TPD status appears in the Social Security Administration database.

Conclusion: What Is the Student Loan Forgiveness Program?

A student loan forgiveness program relieves qualifying borrowers of their repayment obligations. If you meet a program’s eligibility requirements, you may contact your loan servicer to proceed with the application process. Review the different types of student loan forgiveness programs and see which one closely matches your case.

Let's make chippin' your student loans easier.
Start Now
Top half of an iphone mockup with the Chipper app