Since Joe Biden took office, the Department of Education has prioritized targeted forgiveness. Over $40 billion in student loan debt has been wiped away for over hundreds of thousands of borrowers in the past year. The beneficiaries include those defrauded by failed for-profit schools, soldiers deployed to war zones, permanently disabled people, and public servants.
If you have not benefited from this parade of relief, there are still student loan forgiveness programs you can benefit from.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
PSLF eliminates the balance owed on Direct Loans if you work full-time for the government or nonprofit. If you have FFEL Loans, you’ll need to consolidate them into a new loan made through the Direct Loan Program to meet the program’s eligibility requirements. You can apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan on the Federal Student Aid website, StudentAid.gov. Learn how to consolidate student loans for PSLF.
Income-Driven Repayment Plan Forgiveness
Repayment plan forgiveness wipes out your loan balance after making at least 240 payments under an income-driven repayment plan. Depending on your plan, your monthly payment amount will be capped at 10-20% discretionary income, which is based on your family size and adjusted gross income.
While 20 years seems like a long-time to wait until you’re free of your student loans — especially if you’ve already been in repayment for years — you might not have to wait that long for relief.
The Education Department is in the process of reviewing borrowers’ accounts to give them credit toward IDR forgiveness for all the student loan payments they made under any repayment plan, regardless if they ever enrolled in income-based repayment.
It’s also counting time spent in long-term forbearances and some deferments.
Other forgiveness programs
Borrower Defense to Repayment discharges debt you borrowed to go to a sham school that lied to you about job prospects, career earnings, and the quality of education you’ll receive.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness provides nearly $20 thousand in loan cancellation for educators who work in schools in low-income communities.
Total and Permanent Disability Discharge cancels your debt if the SSA, VA, or doctor certifies that a physical or mental impairment prevents you from working. This type of debt forgiveness is tax-free.