Reaching your academic goals whether that is in a two or four-year program or perhaps in a trade school can take many sacrifices. These come in the form of long commutes, mental exhaustion, and more. But typically, the most major of these sacrifices is a financial one. Large student loan bills, semester after semester for several years can add up and become a daunting burden, and many students of course take out loans to cover these expenses. And unfortunately, not everyone is able to pay these loans off afterward because of varying circumstances.
Can student loans even be forgiven?
The short answer is, Yes. Some students turn towards student loan forgiveness to ease their worries but there are many qualifications needed to do so. There are three key ways of having student loans forgiven. The first way is heavily dependent on the type of career you choose. The second way is reliant on you how many years you make on-time payments while enrolled in a specific repayment plan. And the third way requires a difficult life circumstance. The first two options are relevant for federal student loans only and the third one is possible for both federal or private student loans.
Here is a breakdown of the three options you have for student loan forgiveness:
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program or PSLF was created to decrease the student loans for qualified graduates to encourage their drive for public service careers.
This option is available for Direct Federal Student Loans, Direct Plus loans, and Direct Consolidation loans. Any private loans are not eligible for PSLF. In order to receive loan forgiveness under this program, you must be a full-time employee in a public service job and make 120 on-time monthly payments after consolidating your federal loans in a qualified repayment program. There are additional programs available for nurses, doctors, teachers, lawyers, and members of the military.
The second type of loan forgiveness is based on how long you make on-time payments with a qualifying repayment plan. For this option, you do not need to be working in a specific career to qualify. There are several plans in place for this option:
The Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan qualifies you for loan forgiveness after 20 years of on-time payments. Enrollment in this repayment plan requires a financial hardship. However, one can remain in the program after the hardship is no longer present. The Revised Pay As You Earn repayment plan is similar but one does not need to demonstrate financial hardship to qualify. The Income-Contingent Repayment Plan qualify you for loan forgiveness after 25 years of on-time payments. All information about these programs can be accessed through studentloans.gov.
The third option is not forgiveness but rather it is called “discharge.” Student loan discharge is granted by a judge for both federal and private loans. But this is only granted for extreme circumstances such as permanent disability, death, identity theft, and in some cases bankruptcy.
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