DID YOU KNOW??? Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
Did you know that there are five different ways to qualify for student loan forgiveness? As long as you make your required payments on time, your credit score will not be hurt by entering into one of these plans.
Each program has its own rules and regulations, so we've provided a quick list for you to start your investigation.
If you are a teacher or education professional who has taught for five consecutive years in a high need fields, or a school that serves low-income students you may qualify for a Student Loan Forgiveness Program for Teachers.
If you work full time for a government office (not a political party or lobbyist), OR for a certified nonprofit organization, OR for a for-profit company that does certain kinds of qualifying work, you may qualify for a Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
If you have worked for the AmeriCorps program on a full time project, part time project, or even for just a summer, you may qualify for their Segal Education Award, which you can use to pay loan balances or current tuition.
If you are an Active or Retired Military, you have special financing and repayment options available to you.
If your total student loan debt is higher than your annual income, or your monthly payment is more than a certain percent of your income, you may qualify for an Income Driven Forgiveness Program. Combined with a Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, this will save you even more money.
TEACHER LOAN FORGIVENESS PROGRAM
• Cover up to $17,500 of loans.
• To qualify you must teach for five consecutive years in certain school districts (See list of qualifying districts here) and/or certain subjects of teacher shortage (see list of high need fields here for 2015-2016).
• They can be used only on Subsidized or Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans OR Federal Direct Loans. These programs ARE NOT eligible for use on PLUS loans.
• You may qualify even if your five years of teaching were more than 10 years ago!
• If you did not finish your fifth year, but meet certain criteria, you may still qualify.
• You’ll earn maximum forgiveness amounts if you are considered “highly qualified” or taught math, science, or special education.
PUBLIC SERVICE LOAN FORGIVENESS
• Your full time work with a government office can be at the federal, state, local, or tribal level.
• Working with AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps also qualify you for these programs.
• If you work for a nonprofit, it must be certified as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity.
• After making 120 payments (10 years), 100% of the remaining balance of your Federal Direct Loans can be forgiven.
• Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) and Perkins Loans are ineligible. If you consolidate them into a Direct Consolidation Loan, they will become eligible, however, any payments you made before the consolidation will not count towards your 120 payments.
• You will get the best benefit if you make your 120 payments under an income driven repayment plan.
THE SEGAL AMERICORPS EDUCATION AWARD
• Amounts awarded are tied to the current Pell Grant amount. This school year (2016 – 2017) that amount is $5,815.
• You can earn this award more than once, but there are limits to how many times and the total dollar amount you can earn.
• Your award is based on how many hours you work on an AmeriCorps project.
• The hours you count toward you application must be served within a 12 month period.
• A “full time” award is for 1700 hours, “half time” is for 900 hours, “quarter time” is for 450 hours and a “summer project” is 300 hours. The more you work, the higher your award can be.
• You have 7 full years to use the funds you are awarded. You can also split you award money betweenstudent loans and current tuition.
• Segal Awards are not eligible for repayment of Parent PLUS loans. (Sorry parents!)
STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS FOR MILITARY SERVICE MEMBERS
There are too many programs to list in detail here. But here’s a pdf link that lists the programs and all the necessary contact information.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE! Freedom damn sure isn't free, so hopefully this will help ease some of your financial burden.
INCOME DRIVEN STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS PROGRAMS
• You can qualify if your total student loan debt is greater than your annual income OR if your loan payments represent a “significant” portion of your income. (That calculation changes every year, but this repayment calculator will do the math for you.)
• There are three types of Income Driven Student Loan Forgiveness Plans that all work a little differently. All of these programs are based on your income, family size, and state in which you live.
• After you make the required number of payments (20 or 25 years based on the program), the entire remaining balance of your loan is forgiven.
• Find out which program you may qualify for by using this online worksheet. (Note: you DO NOT have to create an account to see what you qualify for. Just click the button that says “Proceed”.)
Of course, there are pros and cons to every situation. If you lower your payments or extend the term of your loan, you may end up paying more in interest over time. Some of these programs also require you to report any loans forgiven as earned income on your tax return, increasing your tax liability. Always talk to a professional so you know all the details BEFORE you do anything with your student loans.
Student loan debt is a huge burden for millions of American students. If you or your child are one of them, hopefully one of these programs will give you the power to take control of your student loan debt and protect your credit score.
Not sure what types of loans you have? Create a free, secure account on this federal student loan tracking website to find out.