Tiny graduation cap on top of a pile of student loan cash

What You Don’t Know About Student Loan Forgiveness

There are a lot of misconceptions about student loan forgiveness. If you have student loans, it’s doubtful that you’ll get through your life without paying them. However, you may qualify to have some of your loan debt forgiven.

  1. There’s more than one way to qualify for student loan forgiveness.
    Before you try to get your student loans forgiven, you’ll want to make sure that you are set up on the payment plan that best fits your lifestyle and income. There are several federal loan payment plans, many of which are income-driven, and more than one of them can lead to forgiveness of your student loans. Your choice of career can also help you get student loan forgiveness.
  2. Even if you qualify, you'll still have to pay some of your loans (probably).
    For example, to qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, you’ll have to work at a nonprofit job and have made 120 loan payments within a 10-year span of time. If you’ve made 120 payments, even 120 low payments, you’ve probably paid a fair amount of money on your loans. However, it is possible, under some income-driven repayment plans, to have monthly payments that are equal to zero dollars. If your payments are only $0 for each month, it is possible that you might not have to pay any money on your loans (but rare).
  3. Your job determines you qualify for student loan forgiveness.
    If you are trying to qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, your job will determine whether or not you are eligible. To have your student loans forgiven because of public service, you will need to be employed full-time in a non-profit or public service position. The only payments that count toward your 120 total are those that are made while you are employed in a nonprofit or public service job.

    That means that you’ll have to commit 10 years to working in the public service sector. If you become a teacher or join the military, there may be more ways for your job to help you get loan forgiveness. Five years as a teacher could get part of your Stafford or Perkins loans forgiven, and different branches of the military have their own loan forgiveness programs.
  4. You can plan ahead for student loan forgiveness.
    If you already know that you want to work for a non-profit organization or be in public service, then you can start planning your career with the knowledge that it can help you get your student loans forgiven. Graduates that go into teaching, public safety, health care, government, or even the Peace Corps may qualify for loan forgiveness. Keep track of your payments so you know exactly when you can apply and you’ll be ready when your opportunity comes!
Last Updated: October 21, 2015