How to Get Your Student Loans Forgiven | 04.28.10

Posted in Loan Consolidation, Stafford Loan By Student Loan Network Staff

Imagine waking up tomorrow and discovering you don’t need to pay back your federal Stafford, PLUS and Perkins loans. For many Americans, that dream is a reality, thanks to a number of programs that allow you to have some, if not all, of your loans forgiven.

Aside from applying for a loan discharge, which is available only under extreme circumstances, some career paths and post-graduate options will cover the cost of repaying your student loans. Here is an overview of some of the careers that may take advantage of those options:

Public Service Employees: If you work full time in a public service position, and make 120 payments (approximately ten years) on your loans while employed, you may be eligible to have the remaining balance forgiven. Public service positions include law enforcement officers, early education teachers, public librarians, emergency medical technicians and more.

Volunteers: Many volunteer organizations offer stipends and loan forgiveness options if you provide a certain number of hours of service. For example, AmeriCorps will offer $7400 in stipends on top of $4725 to be used toward your student loans, as well as partial cancellation of your Perkins Loan in exchange for 12 months of service. The PeaceCorps and VISTA also offer similar forgiveness options.

Teachers: Under the National Defense Education Act, full-time teachers in an elementary or secondary school for low-income families may be eligible to have as much as 30% of their Perkins Loan forgiven.  Contact your school district’s administration to see which schools are eligible.

Lawyers: Sorry, the ambulance-chasers on TV aren’t eligible. But many law schools will forgive the loans of students who serve as a non-profit or public interest attorney. For more information, contact the National Association for Public Interest Law at  1-202-466-3686. Or, contact your law school’s financial aid office.

Physicians: Physicians who agree to practice for a certain number of years in economically depressed areas may be able to get some of their medical school loans forgiven by the National Health Service Corps. Check with your state agency for similar programs.

There are other options for repaying your student loans, including income-based repayment, forbearance and deferment. For more information on these options, visit our student loan repayment page.

If you are not eligible for any of the aforementioned repayment options, you might consider student loan consolidation, with can turn multiple loans (federal or private) into a low, single monthly payment and possibly lower your interest rate. For more information on student loan consolidation, visit our help page.

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29 Responses to “How to Get Your Student Loans Forgiven”

  1. Shafina says on May 27, 2010 at 10:16 am:

    This helps if you are lucky.

    Reply To This Comment
  2. Crystal says on May 27, 2010 at 9:08 am:

    Woah, this info just changed my perspective on loans.

    Reply To This Comment
  3. nikolai says on May 25, 2010 at 7:48 am:

    what? You mean like people who earn high dollars don't need to pay back thier loans, but if I get a job washing dishes at a fast food resteraunt, I gotta pay and pay and pay?

    Reply To This Comment
    • Evan Jacobs says on May 25, 2010 at 1:31 pm:

      If you read the article, you will see that each case is tailored to individuals that perform public services. Be it military, volunteering, being a doctor in a low-income area, or a public interest lawyer, each of these "forgiveness" programs are made for people that intentionally choose a profession that is helping the public instead of working for-profit.

      Reply To This Comment
  4. Dee says on May 25, 2010 at 4:34 am:

    interesting, I thought all student loans had to be repaid in full.

    Reply To This Comment
  5. alicia says on May 17, 2010 at 4:50 pm:

    this was really useful. i was in the mind set that student loans are another form of debt

    Reply To This Comment
  6. l.t says on May 16, 2010 at 6:45 pm:

    i needed to know that

    Reply To This Comment
  7. gabriel says on May 13, 2010 at 11:13 pm:


    Reply To This Comment
  8. gforce says on May 13, 2010 at 11:12 pm:

    good to know

    Reply To This Comment
  9. Katrina S. says on May 12, 2010 at 2:15 am:

    This is great to know!

    Reply To This Comment
  10. Patricia says on May 12, 2010 at 1:03 am:

    I didnt think your student loans could be "forgiven"

    Reply To This Comment
  11. ashleigh says on May 11, 2010 at 5:05 pm:

    lucky for these ppl
    hopefully i can become apart of this group of students

    Reply To This Comment
  12. Morgan says on May 10, 2010 at 1:58 am:

    teaching, never thought that would work, but now, maybe will consider.. thanks

    Reply To This Comment
  13. Madhavi says on May 8, 2010 at 5:26 am:

    wow thank you so much i had no idea these options were out there!

    Reply To This Comment
  14. Paris says on May 7, 2010 at 1:43 pm:

    This helped me out alot for school.

    Reply To This Comment
  15. Gloria Jordan says on May 5, 2010 at 4:56 pm:

    This good information, I will be passing it on!

    Reply To This Comment
  16. Michelle says on May 5, 2010 at 4:37 pm:

    great information

    Reply To This Comment
  17. Erica says on May 5, 2010 at 1:35 pm:

    wow this is my first time hearing about this.

    Reply To This Comment
  18. Lauren says on May 4, 2010 at 10:26 pm:

    This is interesting, because I've always been interested in the PeaceCorps. I didn't know volunteering could be benefitial in that way.

    Reply To This Comment
  19. Sarah says on May 4, 2010 at 5:11 am:

    This is great! I had never heard that you could get help with those loans through community jobs and work.

    Reply To This Comment
  20. Loans Next day says on April 29, 2010 at 1:35 pm:

    You have given some excellent ideas about make our student loan forgiven. Well, my both mom and dad were teacher in my school so i got huge concession but never thought of this. Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply To This Comment
  21. Bridgette says on April 29, 2010 at 2:46 am:

    This really helped me out a lot

    Reply To This Comment
  22. SNemo says on April 29, 2010 at 2:29 am:

    I've never heard of such a thing! So interesting! Loans can be a burden and its nice to know that there's sometimes a way out!

    Reply To This Comment
  23. Thanh S says on April 29, 2010 at 1:45 am:

    good to know!!

    Reply To This Comment
  24. Laura says on April 29, 2010 at 1:15 am:

    I agree

    Reply To This Comment
  25. maira72 says on April 28, 2010 at 8:51 pm:

    thanks for all ur information

    Reply To This Comment

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