Do I Qualify for Student Loan Forgiveness?

Posted By Law Office of Simon Goldenberg, PLLC || 10-Aug-2017

If you are struggling to pay off student debt, you’ve likely asked yourself whether or not you qualify for student loan forgiveness. There are various programs, most of which are federally funded, that are designed to help qualifying students. Depending on how much you owe, what degree you obtained, and what line of work you currently practice, you may succeed in having your student debt forgiven.

Failure to make payments on any debt on time, including student loans, can have severe legal consequences. This is why it is so important to be aware of what types of forgiveness options are available.

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You may qualify for student loan forgiveness depending on the following factors:

Income-Based Forgiveness

There are numerous programs in place to help people with low-incomes seek partial or full forgiveness of their student loan debt. The Income-Based Repayment plan, offered by the Department of Education, permits individuals to pay off their student debt in proportion to their income. Individuals may pay up to 10-15 percent of their discretionary income for a set term of 20 or 25 years. After this period, the remaining loan balance will be forgiven.

Like the Income-Based Repayment plan, Pay As You Earn, Revised Pay As You Earn, Income-Contingent Repayment, are other repayment plans that may result in lower monthly payments and partial loan forgiveness.

Public Service Employees

If you work full-time for either the federal, state, or local government, you may be eligible for student loan forgiveness. Only certain loans, including Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, Direct Plus Loans, and Direct Consolidation Loans qualify. A minimum of 120 payments must be made towards the qualifying loans, but the result could be up to 100% student loan forgiveness.

Teachers and Other Education Employees

Those employed in certain education fields, like teachers, may seek partial or full student loan forgiveness because they considered assets to their communities. Teachers may qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, as well as the Federal Perkins cancellation. Also, teachers employed at certain low-income schools for 5 or more years, or those teaching specific subjects may qualify for Teacher Loan Forgiveness, if their school falls under the Teacher Cancellation Low Income Directory. Qualifying schools are determined by the Federal Student Aid Office of the U.S. Department of Education.

There are also numerous repayment plans and financial assistance programs in place to help teachers repay student debt.

Health Care Professionals

There are both federal and state forgiveness programs in place for nurses, including the NURSE Corps Repayment Program. There are also numerous state-funded assistance programs to help nurses repay student debt. Doctors or pharmacists may also receive assistance with their student loans. The NHSC program, for example, will award a doctor a sum of money to go towards their student loans if he or she commits to practicing a certain branch of medicine in that state for a set number of years. Practicing medicine in areas of need, such as Alaskan Native communities or American Indian communities can also result in up to $40,000 of loan forgiveness under the IHS Loan Repayment Program.

Military Members

The military thanks its service members by offering student loan forgiveness to Army and Navy doctors, as well as other active members and veterans. Other branches, including the Air Force and National Guard, may also utilize repayment assistance programs. The army also has a College Loan Repayment Program, which pays one-third of a person’s student loans every year for up to 3 years.

Other Factors / Discharge Due To Disability

Under certain circumstances, it is possible to have student loans discharged. This is not the same as forgiveness, though it can still help those under extreme financial strain. Some special circumstances include the closing of the school, false certification of an unauthorized payment, the discharge of an unpaid refund, or borrower defense. Additionally, if someone with student debt suffers Total and Permanent Disability or files bankruptcy, he or she may have all student loans discharged.

The number of forgiveness programs for public service members, military members, and those in financial need are numerous, but the process can sometimes be overwhelming. If you need help determining how you may seek student loan forgiveness, our firm can help. We will sit down with you and investigate the circumstances of your loans, repayments, and current financial situation to figure out the best plan of action. Also, if you do not qualify for loan forgiveness, our student loan lawyers at Law Office of Simon Goldenberg, PLLC can still help you handle your student debt, either through consolidation or some other means.

Contact us at 877-717-0098 to request a free initial evaluation.

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