Perkins loans do not qualify for most loan forgiveness programs. If you consolidate your Perkins loan into a Direct Consolidation Loan, you can access programs such as PSLF (public service loan forgiveness).
Some teachers qualify for Perkins loan forgiveness without consolidating.
You may be able to have your Perkins loan fully discharged due to bankruptcy, school closure, or certain significant disabilities.
If you’re a teacher…
The Perkins Loan Program was the first program to provide teachers with cancellation (i.e., loan forgiveness). Teachers must work in low-income school districts (Title I schools) to qualify.
More specifically, teachers have to work:
Related: Check if Your School or Educational Service Agency is a Title I School
Full-time special education teachers also qualify for Perkins loan forgiveness, even if they don’t work for a Title 1 school. If you teach children with disabilities in a public or nonprofit elementary or secondary school, you are eligible for Perkins loan forgiveness.
And if you’re a full-time faculty member at a Tribal College or University, you can also qualify for Perkins loan cancellation.
Finally, you can qualify if you’re a full-time teacher of math, science, foreign languages, bilingual education, or other fields designated as teacher shortage areas.
Perkins Loan Cancellation for Teachers covers teaching periods that started on or after August 14, 2008.
Remember that qualifying for Perkins loan forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean a full discharge of your entire debt. Repayment cancellation for Perkins loans follows a graduating scale, eliminating a higher percentage of your original debt with each additional year of service.
If you work in other public service or a government organization…
Aside from being a teacher, you can get your Perkins Loan canceled if you work full-time as a:
qualified professional provider or early intervention service provider for the disabled;
employee (often a social worker) of a public or nonprofit child or family service agency providing services to high-risk children and their families from low-income communities;
nurse or medical technician;
law enforcement or corrections officer;
staff member in the education component of Head Start;
Vista or Peace Corps volunteer;
active duty armed forces service member in a hostile fire or imminent danger pay area
member in a pre-kindergarten or child-care program that’s licensed or regulated by a state;
firefighter for a local, state, or federal fire department;
speech pathologist with a master’s degree working in certain elementary or secondary schools;
librarian working in certain schools or public library serving Title I schools; or
attorney employed in public or community defender organization.
If your occupation is not on the above list, but you work for a nonprofit or government organization, consider consolidating your Perkins loans to access Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).
This program allows for loan forgiveness after 10 cumulative years of full-time public service in a qualifying occupation.
Related: Limited PSLF Waiver Explained: What It Is & How To Qualify