7 Alternatives for Student Loan Forgiveness You May Qualify For

By Chika


Last Updated: November 24, 2022


Student loan forgiveness can sound like a fairytale for many Americans who are burdened with student loan debt.

Eligibility conditions for these programs can be stringent, and they are only available for federal student loans, not private ones.

But you never know what you might be qualified for. We've provided some choices below to find out about the many programs accessible and how to apply.



7 Forgiveness Programs You May Qualify For 

1. Teacher Loan Forgiveness

You may qualify for forgiveness of up to a combined total of $17,500 on eligible federal student loans if you teach full-time for five consecutive academic years in selected elementary or secondary schools or educational service organizations that serve low-income families and satisfy other requirements. 


2. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

After making 120 qualifying payments, or 10 years of payments, if you are employed full-time by the government or a non-profit, you may be eligible to have your Direct Loans' whole outstanding balance forgiven.

You should repay your federal student loans using an income-driven repayment plan to qualify for PSLFIf PSLF interests you, you can create a form to send to MOHELA, the PSLF servicer, using the PSLF Help Tool.

You may be qualified for Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness if PSLF refused your loan forgiveness because some or all of your Direct Loan payments were paid under an unapproved repayment plan (TEPSLF).


3. Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Plans

Any outstanding balance on your student loans will be forgiven if you choose a repayment strategy based on your income after you have made a specific number of payments over a specific amount of time.


4. Military Service

The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Defense both offer unique benefits and student loan repayment alternatives to military members as a gratitude for their service to the nation.

Benefits include interest rate restrictions provided by the Department of Defense's student loan repayment programs and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

5. AmeriCorps

Participants who complete a term of national service in one of the authorized AmeriCorps programs.

  • AmeriCorps VISTA
  • AmeriCorps NCCC
  • AmeriCorps State and National

These are eligible to receive the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award.

You are qualified to receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award after completing your service. You can use this to pay back eligible student loans.


6. Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge

If you work in public service and have Perkins loans (last issued in 2018) you might be qualified for partial or complete loan forgiveness.

You could be able to get up to 100% of your debt forgiven within five years, depending on your situation.


7. Student Loan Forgiveness for Public Service Employees

There are numerous additional specific loan forgiveness programs for public service employees like nurses and teachers in addition to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Additionally, there are federal and state-based repayment help programs for healthcare professionals. This includes licensed clinical social workers and certified nurse midwives. Public interest lawyers can benefit from opportunities for repayment and forgiveness managed by law schools and employers.

Dentists and veterinarians who agree to serve for a predetermined period in a region with a dearth of skilled veterinary professionals are both eligible for several federal and state forgiveness programs.

Generally, to be eligible for career-specific forgiveness, you must make a service commitment. You can also provide proof you're providing services to places with a high need for or low income.



2 Student Loan Forgiveness Alternatives

Sadly, not everybody will be eligible for government loan forgiveness. Here are some alternatives to consider if you aren't qualified.


1. Request Forbearance or Deferment

You can ask your loan servicer for a delay or forbearance if you have a medical emergency or financial hardship. Some examples may include an unanticipated job loss or childcare issues. To temporarily avoid being overdue, you might temporarily postpone your payments for a few months.


2. Research State Loan Assistance Programs

You can be qualified for a state loan aid program depending on your state and line of work. Many states will pay back a percentage of your student loan debt for you in order to attract and keep outstanding individuals.

Lawyers in Florida, for instance, can be eligible for the Florida Bar Association's Loan Repayment Program.

Staff lawyers employed by nonprofits, governmental institutions, and other public service organizations may get up to $5,000 annually to pay back their debts. Federal and private student loans are also acceptable.

Working for at least three years in areas of the state where healthcare providers are scarce qualifies Washington residents for up to $75,000 through the State Health program.

If you want to know if there are programs like this in your area, contact the department of education in your state.



Student Loan Forgiveness and a Divided Government

It is good to seek student loan forgiveness. But you have to put your aspirations in the context of economic and political reality.

Following the results of the midterm elections, the United States currently has a divided government with Republicans controlling the lower chamber (House of Representatives) and Democrats controlling the upper chamber (Senate). There is going to be a lot of hard-balling.

At most, you can expect that many of Biden's policies won't receive backing from Republicans. One of such policies is Biden's proposed student loan forgiveness. This is heightened by the fact that Republicans are already blaming the Democratic government for putting the nation into inflation due to increased spending. 

As such, they are looking to scale back on many of his policies. Student loan forgiveness may mean more burden for taxpayers. Thus, it is expected that this will receive stiff opposition from Republicans. 

This means that to increase the number of student loan forgiveness options and execute other assistance for borrowers, President Biden will probably continue to rely on executive action and the regulatory process.


It is not a clear path. 

However, this does not clear the path for President Biden. The student loan forgiveness initiative was blocked by a federal appeals court last month in response to a legal challenge brought by a coalition of Republican-led states.

The states had brought legal action against the scheme. They claimed it was unlawful and that the forgiveness of student loans would have a negative effect on state tax receipts.

A federal district court judge dismissed the lawsuit. But the states appealed to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, which issued a temporary administrative stay while it deliberated a more comprehensive preliminary injunction.

Until that court renders a decision, which is anticipated any day now that the election is done, the temporary stay is in place.



What You Can Do

Don't be caught in the cross-fire of political tussles and shenanigans. At most, you may have a reprieve for 2 years, until the next elections kick in. The best way to sidestep the stray bullets from political misfirings is to reduce your student loan. 

You can start by committing little amounts to reduce your principal and interest. Considering that student loan debt is preventing many Millenials and GenZs from achieving life milestones, you should take repaying your student loans seriously if you want to make any headway financially. 

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