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7 Ways to Get Student Loans Forgiven

Student loan debt weighs heavily on millions of Americans, with 43.4 million borrowers facing federal student loan debt, according to the Education Data Initiative. And that number doesn’t even factor in private loans. Paying back that debt can take a serious toll on financial goals as you move into your career. So what’s the secret to getting your student loans forgiven? First, let’s dive into some terminology. 

Student Loan Forgiveness


Student Loan Forgiveness, Discharge and Cancellation

Student loan forgiveness, discharge and cancellation are often used interchangeably, and we’ll get into all of them here. But they do have slight nuances that differentiate them from each other. Forgiveness and cancellation usually refer to circumstances where you don’t have to make payments anymore due to your job. Discharge more often comes from your school permanently closing or you developing certain disabilities. But no matter what you call it, eliminating your student loans from your life is a good thing. Here are a few of the ways you can erase your student debt. 


Work for the Government 

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program allows employees in the public sector to get their loans forgiven after a certain number of years of service. This type of loan forgiveness can also apply to teachers, medical professionals, employees of nonprofits, and members of the military. There can be a lot of hoops to jump through, but after making “120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer,” (emphasis on qualifying) you can have the remaining balance of your direct loans forgiven. For more information, inquire with your employer (or potential employer) about whether they qualify for this type of program.


Join the Military 

Many branches of the military offer student loan forgiveness programs. Different branches have different programs, but federally you qualify for deferment and waived interest during deployment, forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, or repayment by the Department of Defense, to name a few. 


Mom in the Military Working on Computer with Son

Take Advantage of Industry Programs 

Your industry may offer programs that forgive student loans. Teachers, nurses, and others in high-demand public service industries can often get all or portions of their loans forgiven. Again, check with your employer or union information specific to your industry.


Look Into State Programs 

Many states have student loan forgiveness programs. Montana offers a State Loan Repayment Program for primary care providers working in areas with a shortage of healthcare professionals. It’s competitive, but recipients can get up to $15,000 per year with a two-year service commitment. Look into what your state offers to make sure you aren’t missing any opportunities.


Check Out Perkins Loan Cancellation 

If you used a Perkins loan to pay for your college education, and you’re now working as a teacher, librarian or guidance counselor in a primary or secondary school, don’t leave Perkins loan cancellation on the table. 


Students in the classroom

Learn If You Qualify for Discharge Programs 

Discharge of loans can save you from repayment in specific situations. One of the most common situations is having attended a school that closed permanently, or one that falsely advertised to students. But there are also considerations based on personal circumstances, like total and permanent disability, death, and in some cases, bankruptcy. 

Sure, dying to have your student discharged isn’t a viable option. But if your school has come under scrutiny for making false promises about employment rates after graduation, keep an eye out for discharge options.  

When you have a handle on your student loan repayment, your financial future just keeps getting brighter. To learn more about how to save and grow financially, check out the rest of the RMCU blog.



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