Do You Qualify To Have Your Student Debt Forgiven?

Graduation cap with student loan debt

When your student loan is forgiven, it means that the debt is canceled and you will no longer be obligated to pay it. There are many loan forgiveness programs today that encourage learners to pursue a career in fields that rack up large student debts and pay lower wages. Your student loan may be canceled, fully or partly, in return for years of services in an occupation or field.

In most cases, you may be required to provide several years of service in a qualifying occupation, career, or volunteer your services to a charity. These programs are designed to encourage young people not to shy away from pursuing careers that may offer low, courses that take longer than usual to complete, and those that can get quite expensive in the long run.

Are you eligible for a loan forgiveness program?

Student loan forgiveness is the best way for you to pay off your college loan debt. You may qualify for the relief if:

  • You are pursuing or wish to pursue a public service related career but you are worried about the low the jobs in the sector have and wouldn’t wish to pile up your student debt.
  • The job you are presently involved in is a volunteer-service job or hold a public service position but you have outstanding debt from college.
  • The occupation you are pursuing has a shortage of workers in your region or nationally or your career path is considered strategically important to the future of the country.

There are a couple of programs to get your loan forgiven if you are a good candidate -upfront and backend loan forgiveness programs.

1. Upfront student loan forgiveness

An upfront loan forgiveness is just what the name hints—the cancellation of the student debt for the years of service you provide year by year. If you qualify for an upfront loan forgiveness, you could get debt relief at a pre-set percentage.  (Example: 20 percent of the original loan amount or a fixed amount e.g. $5,000 for every year served.) This means you can clear your entire loan by providing up to five years of service.

Even if you do not complete the number of years required to fully settle your student loans, it would still be a big relief to enjoy your student loan relief for the duration that you have served. A good example of an upfront student debt cancellation program is LRAP (Loan Repayment Assistance Programs).

2. Backend student loan forgiveness

The backend forgiveness system cancels any outstanding student loan debt you may have after a certain number of years in service. This is an all or nothing kind of benefit that demands that you complete a stipulated number of years in service to be eligible for debt cancellation. A good example of a backend student loan forgiveness program is the PSLF (Public Service Loan Forgiveness).

Comparing and selecting the right loan forgiveness program

There are typically a number of other requirements an applicant is required to meet to qualify for student loan forgiveness. For instance, some programs require that applicants make several “qualifying monthly payments” to be approved. If you are considering applying for a loan forgiveness program, it is important to carefully weigh the pros and cons of the two types of benefits before making a commitment. The important difference to remember is the upfront forgiveness offers partial forgiveness for the years you serve. The backend system does not provide partial forgiveness if you do not meet the service provision requirements.

Recommendations

There are many student loan debt forgiveness programs available today, each designed for individuals in specific situations. Before you make a commitment to sign up for a debt relief program, take the time to understand all the eligibility requirements as well as whether the available benefits suit your needs.

Once you settle on a forgiveness program, ensure that all the payments you make are in accordance with the program rules and regulations. If you are not eligible for any forgiveness program, you may wish to research student loan discharge options as a viable option to cancel your student loan debt. You can begin by contacting your loan service office for information, possible options, and directions.