Student Loan Forgiveness

Federal Loan Forgiveness

Congress has authorized federal programs that provide loan forgiveness benefits to qualified borrowers. No borrower may be eligible for double benefits. A borrower who receives a loan forgiveness benefit is not eligible to receive an additional loan forgiveness benefit for the same service. These programs and their corresponding borrower eligibility criteria are outlined in the section below.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program

The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is intended to encourage individuals to enter and continue in the teaching profession at an eligible elementary or secondary school or at an educational service agency that serves low-income families. Under this program, the U.S. Department of Education may repay up to a combined total of $17,500 on a borrower’s eligible loans that were obtained through both the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) and the Federal Direct Loan Program.

Eligibility Criteria
1 Loans made on or after October 1, 1998 qualify for forgiveness if, at the time you received the loan, you did not have an outstanding balance on a Direct Loan or a FFELP loan.
2 Employment
You must have been employed as a full-time teacher for five consecutive complete academic years at an eligible elementary or secondary school, as certified by the chief administrative officer at that school, or at an educational service agency. An eligible school or educational service agency is one that meets all of the following criteria:
Is in a school district that qualifies for funds under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended;
Has been selected by the U.S. Department of Education based on a determination that more than 30 percent of the school’s or educational service agency’s total enrollment is made up of children who qualify for services provided under Title I; and
Is listed in the Annual Directory of Designated Low-Income Schools for Teacher Cancellation Benefits

3 You must have taught as a “highly qualified” mathematics or science teacher at an eligible secondary school, or taught mathematics or science to secondary school students at an eligible educational service agency; or taught as a “highly qualified” special education teacher to children with disabilities at an eligible elementary or secondary school or educational service agency. “Highly qualified” means highly qualified as defined in section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended.
To be eligible for forgiveness up to $5,000, you must meet the criteria under 1 and 2 above.
For forgiveness up to $17,500, you must meet the criteria under 1, 2, and 3 above.

General information, definitions, and eligibility requirements may be found on the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Application.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

This program is intended to encourage individuals with Federal Direct loans to enter and continue to work in full-time public service employment.

Eligibility Criteria
1 Term
A Federal Direct loan may be eligible for loan forgiveness after a borrower has remained employed in public service for 10 years and has made 120 qualifying separate monthly payments to an eligible Federal Direct loan, only payments after October 1, 2007 count toward this benefit.
2 Eligible Education Loan
Federal Direct Subsidized Loan, Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, Federal Direct PLUS Loan, or a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan. Note: A borrower in the Federal Direct Loan program would not need to consolidate to qualify for this loan forgiveness benefit, however a borrower in the FFEL program would need to consolidate into the Federal Direct Loan program.
3 Employment
Public service organization: A Federal, State, local and Tribal government organization, agency or entity, but does not include a member of the U.S. Congress ; A public child or family service agency; a non-profit organization under section 501( c ) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code that is exempt from taxation under section 501( a) of the Internal Revenue Code; A Tribal college or university; or a private organization that provides the following public services: Emergency management, military service, public safety, law enforcement, public interest law service, early childhood education (including licensed or regulated child care, Head Start, and State funded pre-kindergarten), public service for individuals with disabilities and the elderly, public health (including nurses, nurse practitioners, nurses in clinical setting, and a full-time professionals engaged in health care practitioner occupations and health care support occupations, as such terms are defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics), public education, public library services, school library or other school-based services; and is not a business organized for profit , a labor union, a partisan political organization, or an organization engaged in religious activities, unless the qualifying activities are unrelated to religious instruction, worship services, or any form of proselytizing.
4 Forgiveness Amount
The amount of principal and accrued interest that remains on all eligible loans for which loan forgiveness is requested by the borrower.

Loan Forgiveness Program for Service in Areas of National Need

This loan forgiveness program may be available to a borrower who seeks forgiveness on a non-defaulted loan and who works full-time in a qualifying profession that service in areas of national need.

Eligibility Criteria
1 An individual is employed in an area of national need if the individual is a full-time employee in one of the following occupations, as defined by the HEOA: early childhood educators; nurses; foreign language specialists; librarians; highly qualified teachers serving students who are limited English proficient, low-income communities, and underrepresented populations; child welfare workers; speech-language pathologists and audiologists; school counselors; public sector employees; nutrition professionals; medical specialists; mental health professionals; dentists; STEM employees; physical therapists; superintendents, principals, and other administrators; and occupational therapists.
2 Eligible Education Loan
Federal student loans (both Federal Family Education loans and Direct loans); however, Parent PLUS loans and commercial and alternative loans are not eligible.
3 The U.S. Department of Education may forgive up to $2,000 of the borrower’s eligible outstanding student loan obligation after the completion of each school year, academic, or calendar year of employment respectively, for each school, academic, or calendar year of full-time employment in an area of national need that a borrower completes on or after August 14, 2008, not to exceed five years of service or $10,000.
4 Forgiveness Amount
The amount of any forgiveness benefit is provided on a first-come, first-served basis and is subject to the availability of Congressional appropriations. Funds have not been appropriated.

Loan Repayment Program for Civil Legal Assistance Attorneys
FY 2011 is not appropriated.

The purpose of this program is to encourage qualified individuals to enter and continue employment as civil legal assistance attorneys. Distribution of any Congressional appropriations will occur on a first-come, first- served basis and priority must be given by the U.S. Department of Education to those who practice law for five years or less and, for not less than 90 percent of the time in such practice, served as a civil legal assistant attorney; received this benefit the previous year; and completed less than three years of the first required period of service.

For additional information, visit Federal Student Aid.

Eligibility Criteria
1 The borrower must be employed as a civil legal assistance attorney, not be in default, and must enter into a specific written agreement with the U.S. Department of Education.
2 An eligible attorney must be a civil legal assistance attorney, continually licensed to practice law. The attorney must be a full-time employee of either: a nonprofit organization that provides free civil legal assistance to low-income individuals, or a protection and advocacy system or client assistance program that provides legal assistance with respect to civil matters and receives funding under a qualified federal program.
3 Eligible Education Loan
Federal student loans (Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL), Federal Direct Loans (DL), and Perkins Loans) a FFEL or Direct Consolidation loan to the extent that such loan was used to repay a Stafford Loan, an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, or a PLUS Loan made under the FFEL or Direct Loan programs or a Perkins Loan are eligible for assistance; however, Parent PLUS loans and commercial and alternative loans are not eligible.
4 Forgiveness Amount
The U.S. Department of Education may make direct payments to the lender on behalf of the borrower up to $6,000 per calendar year; or an aggregate total of $40,000 to a borrower who continues to renew the service commitment. The amount of any forgiveness benefit is provided on a first-come, first-served basis and is subject to the availability of Congressional appropriations. Funds have not been appropriated.

Loan Forgiveness Under the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Schedule

As of 07/01/2009 a borrower may elect the income-based repayment (IBR) plan for eligible federal student loans. After 25 years, if they qualify and satisfy the loan forgiveness requirements involved with this repayment plan the U.S. Department of Education may repay the outstanding balance and accrued interest on eligible Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) and Direct Loan Program loans.

Eligibility Criteria
1 Term
A loan may be eligible for loan forgiveness after 25 years if during that time period the borrower participated in the IBR plan and satisfied at least one, or a combination, of the following monthly conditions for a 25-year period: made monthly payments calculated on the basis of the borrower having a partial financial hardship, made monthly ‘permanent-standard’ payments, made monthly payments under any repayment plan not less than the ‘standard-standard’ payment amount, received an economic hardship deferment.
2 Eligible Education Loan
A loan with an outstanding balance made to a borrower under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) and Federal Direct Loan Program: Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford, SLS and ALAS (Student PLUS), Grad PLUS, Consolidation Loan that repaid loans under other programs (e.g., Stafford, SLS, Perkins, HPSL, HEAL, FISL, etc.), other than parent PLUS.
3 Ineligible Education Loan
Defaulted FFELP and Direct Loans with an outstanding balance, a FFEL or Direct PLUS loan made to a parent borrower, a FFEL or Direct Consolidation Loan that repaid a FFEL or Direct PLUS Loan made to a parent borrower, and any other loan type that is not an FFELP or Federal Direct Loan Program loan.
4 Forgiveness Amount
The outstanding principal balance and accrued interest that remains on eligible loans.