How Can I Get Student Loan Forgiveness?

February 12, 2021

There have been a lot of news headlines swirling around about student loan forgiveness, and you may be wondering—how does this apply to me? Can I actually get my loans forgiven?

Let’s take a look at the options that are actually out there for federal loans depending on your situation. You probably won’t get all of your loans forgiven tomorrow, but there are a few programs you can enroll in to get you on the right track!

I’m having trouble making my monthly payments

Income-Driven Repayment

You may have heard of income-driven repayment (IDR) as a way to lower your monthly student loan payments by basing them on your income. But did you know that if you stay on an IDR plan your loans can eventually be discharged? After 20 or 25 years of staying on an IDR plan (the timeline varies by plan), the remaining balance is wiped away.*

Summer’s IDR tool can help you figure out which IDR plan is the best for you, estimate how much forgiveness you’ll receive, and enroll online.

*The amount that’s forgiven may be taxed as income. A lot of these plans haven’t been around for 20 or 25 years yet, so it remains to be seen how exactly this will shake out.

I work in the government or the public sector

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

If you work full time for the government or for a non profit, you could be eligible for the best deal in the student loan universe—Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or PSLF. If you make payments for ten years while working full time, the rest of your loans will be forgiven tax free.

There are other requirements to meet during those ten years too, so use Summer’s tool to make sure you qualify!

I went to a for-profit school that over promised and under delivered

Borrower Defense

If you have student loans from a school that misled you about the program you attended, broke state or federal laws, or was closed by the government, you could be eligible for a program called Borrower Defense to Repayment. If your application is approved, the loans you took out to attend that school can be forgiven.

I’m unable to work due to a disability

Total and Permanent Disability Discharge

A federal program called Total and Permanent Disability Discharge can forgive your student loan balance if you’re permanently unable to work due to a disability. You’ll need to certify that you’re unable to work and undergo a review in three years.

I heard that the new administration is going to forgive my loans

Federal Loan Forgiveness

Federal officials in Congress and the administration have floated several proposals to forgive a set amount of debt for each person with federal student loans. These have ranged from $10,000 to $50,000 per person. None of these proposals has been confirmed yet, although we’ll certainly let you know if and when they are.

The current payment and interest freeze on federal loans only applies to “federally held” student loans, and it’s possible that any across the board forgiveness would have the same requirement. If you’re not sure if your loans qualify for the freeze, or if you want to consolidate so that they do, Summer is here to help! We’ll make an individual recommendation for your situation, make sure you’re eligible, and help you enroll in forgiveness programs.

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