Federal Student Loan Forgiveness

Student loan forgiveness allows loan borrowers to have all, or part, of their student loans cancelled. There are a variety of federal student loan forgiveness programs available to Direct Loan borrowers, as well as some repayment programs.

The following are the most common federal loan forgiveness programs:

  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness
  • Forgiveness for volunteer work
  • Military loan repayment
  • Teacher Loan Forgiveness
  • NHSC Medical Loan Repayment Program

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is intended to incentivize individuals to work in a public service field. Under this program, you may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on your eligible federal student loans after 120 qualifying payments. For more information, visit our page on Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Loan Repayment for Volunteers

The following volunteer organizations offer federal student loan forgiveness:

AmeriCorps — Participants that serve for 12 months can receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award after completion of service. This award can be used to repay qualifying student loans. The amount available is equal to the Pell Grant, which is $5,500 for the 2012 fiscal year. For more information visit AmeriCorps.gov.

Peace Corps — Volunteers may apply for deferment of Stafford, Perkins and consolidation loans and partial cancellation of Perkins Loans (15% for first and second years of service, 20% for third and fourth years). For more information visit PeaceCorps.gov.

Military Loan Repayment

All branches of the United States military offer tuition assistance benefits. On top of this, the Army, Navy, and Air Force offer Student Loan Repayment Programs. The amount a borrower is eligible for differs by branch. For more information, visit Military.com or contact your local recruitment office.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness

Students who become full-time teachers in an elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families may qualify for $17,500 in loan forgiveness for FFEL or Direct Stafford Loans.

Additionally, teachers with Perkins loans who serve low-income areas may qualify for Teacher Cancellation of up to 100% of the loan. For more information on Teacher Loan Forgiveness and Cancellation, visit StudentAid.ed.gov.

Medical Loan Repayment

The National Health Service Corps offers medical school loan repayment programs to physicians who practice for a set number of years in areas that lack adequate medical care (including remote and/or economically depressed regions). For more information, visit NHSC.HRSA.gov.

In addition to these programs, there are many private repayment and forgiveness programs that federal loan borrowers may also be eligible for. To learn more, visit our repayment section.

Additional Resources