Student Loan Forgiveness

Student loans can be a difficult financial burden to bear, especially for those living paycheck to paycheck. In addition to paying back the principle, keeping up with the interest can be a challenging feat. Student loan forgiveness offers assistance with the repayment of student loans by reducing the loan amount or eliminating debt altogether, and it’s a particularly helpful program for those who qualify.

Public school teaching

If you are a public school teacher, you may qualify for student loan forgiveness up to $17,500. Teddy Nykiel, a contributor at NerdWallet, explains strict rules are in place regarding application to the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program. You have to teach full time in a qualifying low-income, elementary or secondary school for at least five years before you will be eligible. While the TLF program offers to forgive up to $17,500, it’s unlikely you will receive the maximum benefit. According to Nykiel, secondary education teachers in math, science and special education are most likely to qualify for the full $17,500. Teachers in other subjects and all elementary school teachers can get up to $5,000.

Military involvement

Military veterans and active service members may qualify for another form of loan forgiveness. Several programs are available throughout the military, with the National Guard, Air Force and Navy offering individual programs. According to Andrew Josuweit, a contributor at Forbes, the Army’s Student Loan Repayment Program will forgive up to $65,000 in loans for active-duty soldiers. These loan forgiveness programs extend to military healthcare professionals as well, offering up to $120,000 in assistance.

Public service

For those working in public service, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program offers opportunities for student loan forgiveness. The PSLF program will forgive your loan in full after you have made the qualifying payments. According to the U.S. Department of Education, you must make 120 qualifying monthly payments while working full-time — at least 30 hours per week — for a qualifying public service employer in order to be eligible for the program. You must make these payments in full and under a qualifying repayment plan. Employers eligible for the program include government organizations, not-for-profit organizations and full-time AmeriCorps and Peace Corps volunteers. Government contractors do not qualify for this student loan forgiveness program.


Declaring bankruptcy creates a new set of circumstances for your student loans. If you declare Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may have your loan discharged. To do so, the U.S. Department of Education requires you to file a separate action called an adversary proceeding. This action must prove that in addition to your bankruptcy filing, repaying your loan would cause serious financial hardship on you and your dependents. Filing this action does not immediately discharge your loans; a judge will make the official decision in bankruptcy court. The judge may also decide to discharge a portion of your loan instead of the entire amount or adjust the interest rate.

If repaying your student loans is causing you significant financial hardship and you qualify for one of these student loan forgiveness programs, consider submitting an application or pursuing more information.


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