Entering the Nuanced World of Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

Student loan forgiveness programs. Many of us have heard of these mystical things that make student loans practically disappear for lucky, chosen individuals. The programs often feel “mystical” in that they seem unattainable or even unbelievable. For this reason I would like to spend time in this and in future blog posts exploring the tricky details, as well as the basic criteria, of student loan forgiveness programs.

Some Forgiveness Basics

There are quite a few avenues to attaining loan forgiveness. In most cases, forgiveness is not immediate – payments still have to be made. The driving message is not “Get Out of Jail Free,” but rather, “Let’s Meet Half Way.”

Another commonality between loan forgiveness programs is that the aim of the financial help often is to encourage people doing difficult, usually low-paying jobs. If a student graduates and immediately dedicates her life to homeless relief programs, for example, she should not be forced to stop this work because she cannot pay off loans (this fits under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program). Rather, her work should continue, only requiring her to pay a manageable portion per month for a limited time.

Each program is wrought with its specific rules: what payments qualify, how many payments to make, which loans can be forgiven, what will disqualify you. Hopefully we can clear up some of those details in future posts. And while I cannot explain all such details, I do hope to remove misunderstandings that may be preventing some of you from realizing your eligibility.

Helpful Fine Print

Using these programs requires plenty of the quickly tiring crossings of T’s and dottings of I’s. Some of the fine print, however, is immensely beneficial (or, ehem, bene-fiscal) as students strive to meet different loan forgiveness rules. For example, many programs do not require the payee to make all qualifying payments consecutively. If you begin and then take a break (for any reason), you can resume your payments where you left off. Instead of strengthening the barrier to loan forgiveness, this and some other rules actually protect the person with loans.

Especially Important Resources

You are not void of resources to learn more. LoanGifting has prepared a simple step by step way to find out if you qualify for Student Loan Forgiveness. This list by Student Debt Relief briefly describes many student debt relief programs, which is helpful in figuring out what you might qualify for and what next steps to take. This article by Federal Student Aid gives basic information on loan forgiveness, accompanied by subject-related links that will help you explore more nitty gritty details. Finally, stay tuned for future blog posts where I will single out a forgiveness program and open up its seemingly mysterious functions. These posts will hopefully bring some of you to discover that you do, in fact, qualify to have your loans forgiven and that the process, while sometimes tricky, is not impossible.

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