Before exploring Georgia state-specific programs, let’s discuss the federal student loan forgiveness programs offered by the U.S. Department of Education to all Americans. These programs provide relief for federal loans based on factors such as your profession or income.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF)
The PSLF Program is designed for individuals with Direct Loans working in qualifying public service jobs. To be eligible, borrowers must make 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer, such as a government agency, public school, or nonprofit organization.
Income-Driven Repayment Plan Forgiveness Waiver
Starting in spring 2023, most borrowers who have been paying their federal student loans for 20 years or longer will automatically receive relief, allowing the rest of their debt to be discharged.
This change results from a new IDR account adjustment announced by the Biden administration in April 2022. That fix gives borrowers credit toward income-based repayment forgiveness for the time spent in repayment, forbearance, and some periods of deferment.
It’s open to all federal student loan borrowers, but those with FFEL or Perkins Loans may need to be consolidated into a Direct Consolidation Loan. Borrowers can consolidate their loans for free on the Federal Student Aid website, StudentAid.gov.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
Eligibility criteria include working full-time for five consecutive years in a low-income school or educational service agency and having taken out federal Direct or Stafford Loans after October 1, 1998. Forgiveness amounts vary, with up to $17,500 for highly qualified math, science, and special education teachers and up to $5,000 for other eligible teachers.
President Joe Biden’s Broad Debt Cancellation Plan
This student loan relief program promises to wipe out up to $20,000 of debt for Pell Grant recipients who meet income criteria and up to $10,000 for other qualifying borrowers whose loans are held by the federal government.
According to White House officials, about 1.5 million Georgians are eligible for the student loan forgiveness plan, most of them low-income borrowers. Nearly 70% of those in Georgia eligible for forgiveness are also Pell Grant recipients.
Applications are on hold as the Supreme Court assesses the program’s legality after a challenge by six Republican-led states.
In the meantime, the Biden administration has extended the pandemic-related payment pause and interest rate freeze until late summer 2023.