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People who work for specific charitable organizations or the government may be eligible for loan forgiveness under the public service loan forgiveness program. Borrowers eligible for the loan forgiveness program and who have made 120 payments that qualify for the program may not be required to pay taxes on the remaining balance of their loan obligation.

What is forgiveness of loans?

You are no longer required to repay all or a portion of your loan when it is canceled, forgiven, or discharged.

Why are the notions of forgiveness, cancellation, and discharge distinct from one another?

Forgiveness, cancellation, and discharge refer to different contexts. This is known as loan forgiveness or cancellation if you no longer need to pay your student loans because you have a job. Your student loans will often be “discharged” if you no longer have to pay them back. This could happen if you cannot work or the school where you got the loans.

How Do I Make a Loan Forgiveness Application?

If you believe you may be eligible, contact the company that manages your loan. If you have a Perkins Loan, you need to talk to the place that gave you the loan or the loan servicer that the school chose.

Am I required to pay any fees while the application is being reviewed?

You may be required to make payments while your application is being processed. Get in touch with the company that handles your loan to determine if you need to keep making payments while your application is being looked at.

Am I still obligated to make any payments if I have already received the loan?

You will no longer be obligated to make loan payments if you receive loan forgiveness, cancellation, or discharge for the total loan amount. If you only qualify for a part of your loan to be forgiven, canceled, or discharged, you still have to pay the rest.

If you qualify for a specific type of debt discharge, you may also be entitled to a refund of some or all of your prior loan installments. In addition, any inaccurate information concerning your loan delinquency or default may be removed from your credit report. The default status may be removed if the loan was already in default before the discharge. You would be able to restore eligibility for federal student aid if you did not have any other loans in bankruptcy.

What types of loan cancellations, discharges, and forgiveness are there?

The summaries below give a quick look at the different loan cancellation, discharge, and forgiveness options for the different types of student loans.

A Loan for Government Employees

Suppose you are currently employed by a government agency or a nonprofit organization. In that case, you may be eligible to have some or all of your student debt forgiven under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.

Educator Loan

Suppose you were teaching as a full-time teacher for five consecutive academic years in a low-income elementary school, high school, or educational assistance organization. In that case, you might be qualified to have up to $17,500 of your direct loan forgiven. Both elementary and secondary schools must comply with this requirement.

Consider requesting both Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Loan Forgiveness. If so, there’s a chance you won’t be qualified for a benefit for the same number of qualifying payments or length of service.

School is not in session or closed.

You might be eligible for a student loan discharge if your school closes while you are still enrolled there or soon after you withdraw. Quite often, this occurs.

Perkins loans for teachers

You may be eligible to have some or all of your Perkins Loan canceled due to your work or volunteer work, or it may be dismissed entirely (under certain conditions). The Perkins loan for teachers has also been canceled.

A complete and unchanging disability

If you are totally and permanently disabled, the service requirement for your student loans and the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant may be waived.


The debt owed on the student loans will be discharged in the event of the borrower’s demise or the beneficiary student of a PLUS loan.


You might be able to get your student loan debt discharged once you file for bankruptcy. A discharge, however, is not always the result of filing for bankruptcy.

Protection of the Borrower from Repayment

Let’s say you took out federal student loans to pay for your education, but the institution did nothing to support you or provide you with educational services. You might qualify for a cancellation of your federal student loans based on your borrower’s defense to repayment. If you took out loans to attend school, you incurred debts. Depending on how you got your loan, the conditions you must meet to get a borrower defense discharge may differ.

False Authentication

If your school gave you a fake certificate that said you qualified for a loan, you might not have to pay back the money you borrowed from the school.

Expired Refund

If you withdrew from school and the school did not make a required return of loan funds to the loan’s servicing company, you might be able to get out of paying the portion of your federal student loan(s) that the school failed to return to the loan servicer. This discharge would only request to the amount of your loan(s) that the school could not produce.


A written document being fabricated or altered to commit fraud is a forgery. Fraudulent activity frequently targets people whose identities have been stolen.

The federal student loan(s) that were fraudulently obtained in your name may be canceled if you believe you were the victim of identity theft.

What happens if my application is rejected?

You would still be accountable for repaying the loan by the promissory note you signed if your request for financing was turned down. You should discuss your repayment options with the loan servicer if you have a direct or FFEL loan. Examine the available payment options.

Visit the “Getting Out of Default” page if your loan defaults. You can learn how to pay off your debt and your options for avoiding bankruptcy there.

If you believe your application was denied due to an error, you can find out more information from the business handling your loan.