If you don’t qualify for the California student loan forgiveness programs above, there are a handful of federal loan forgiveness options to explore, such as:
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program promises tax-free student debt forgiveness to teachers, nurses, social workers, and other full-time government and nonprofit employees. To qualify, you normally have to make 120 qualifying payments on Direct Loans. But until Oct. 31, 2022, you can get credit for the payments you made on Federal Family Education Loans and Federal Perkins Loans. Read more about the PSLF Waiver.
Related: Student Loan Forgiveness for Healthcare Workers
If you have those types of loans, you’ll need to consolidate them into a Direct Consolidation Loan before you qualify. You can do that on the Federal Student aid website, studentaid.gov.
Income-Driven Repayment Plan Forgiveness forgives borrowers’ remaining loan balance after they make at least 240 student loan payments under an IDR Plan. Most federal student loan borrowers are eligible for this forgiveness opportunity. But due to forbearance steering and other misconduct by student loan servicers like Navient, millions of borrowers were screwed out of gaining progress towards this option for debt relief. The Education Department plans to fix that issue by performing a one-time waiver later this year.
The IDR Account Adjustment credits borrowers for monthly payments they made under any repayment plan. It will also increase their payment count for periods their accounts were in long forbearances or in certain deferments. Most borrowers don’t need to apply for this relief — it will happen automatically. But if you have FFEL or Perkins Loans, you may need to consolidate those loans into a Direct Consolidation to be eligible.
Total and Permanent Disability discharges disabled borrowers’ remaining balances after they suffer a physical or mental impairment that leaves them unable to work. To qualify, you must submit proof from your doctor, the Social Security Administration, or Veterans Administration, that your disability prevents you from working.
The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program gives teachers that spend five years working in a low-income school up to $17,500 in forgiveness. If your federal student loan balance is high, PSLF is a better option. There’s no cap on loan forgiveness. Your entire balance can be cleared after 10 years of working in a school district. Read more about PSLF for teachers.
Borrower Defense to Repayment writes off federal debt students borrowed to attend schools that lied to them about career services, job placement, educational services, and so on. Visit studentaid.gov to apply for this relief opportunity.