With the cost of tuition skyrocketing each year, there is no doubt that more and more Americans are finding themselves with no choice other than having to take out student loans in order to be able to afford their college education.
After you graduate, the loan repayments quickly begin and you may find yourself struggling to keep up. While there is nothing that can be done if you didn’t complete your education, can’t find a job, or are having regrets about the field of study you chose, there are some ways that your loans can be modified. Under certain circumstances, your loans might be able to be forgiven, cancelled, or even discharged.
One example in which you might be able to have some of your federal student loans forgiven is through the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program. This program was first created in order to encourage students to enter into the teaching profession. If you are a teacher and have taken out loans after October 1, 1998, you may be qualified for this program. You must be teaching full-time in a low-income elementary or secondary school for five consecutive years in order to be considered.
You may also be considered for this loan forgiveness program if you are working in an educational service agency that provides assistance for low-income families or are working in a teaching shortage area, which usually includes areas such as math and science. The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program can take off as much as $17,500 of your subsidized or unsubsidized loans so it is extremely beneficial to see if you meet the criteria for this program.
Another way that you may be able to have some of your student loans forgiven is through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. If you are employed at certain public service jobs, your federal loans can be entirely forgiven after you make 120 qualifying payments. Some examples of jobs that would fall under this category are any type of government organizations and not-for-profit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. If you are unsure if your employer is considered one of these, contact your Human Resources department or the Department of Federal Student Aid for more guidance.
If you have Federal Perkins Loans, you may be eligible to have them forgiven or cancelled if you perform certain types of public service or are employed in a specific field. Depending on how long you have worked in your occupation, as well as when your loan was taken out, will determine the percentage of the loan that will be cancelled. You could qualify for the Federal Perkins Loans Forgiveness Program if you have served as a:
- Law enforcement or corrections officer
- Head Start worker
- Member of the United States armed forces
- Volunteer in the Peace Corps
- Medical technician
- Child or family services worker
- Professional provider of early intervention services
If you feel that you might be able to receive the benefits of this program, you must contact the school that you were attending at the time that you received the loan for more information.
These are just a few of the ways that you could have some of your student loans forgiven, reduced, or cancelled altogether. Some other programs include Closed School Discharge, Total and Permanent Disability Discharge, Death Discharge, Unpaid Refund Discharge, or Borrower Defense Discharge. To find out more information about each of these, and to see if you might qualify, check out the official website of the Federal Student Aid division from the Department of Education.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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