Fast Fact

6 months to
1 year

The average wait time to get a response to your discharge or forgiveness application.

Source: Student Loan Borrower Assistance, 2010

Loan Discharge and Loan Forgiveness

You MUST pay back your student loans. However, there are a few circumstances in which your debt may be cancelled and you won't have to pay (a situation known as "discharge" or "forgiveness").

The following loan discharge and forgiveness programs are available for federal education loans:

Program Who It's For What It Does
Loan Discharge

You may qualify if your school:

  • Closed
  • Falsely certified your ability to benefit from education
  • Signed your name without your authorization
  • Failed to pay a tuition refund

You may also qualify if:

  • Your loan was falsely certified as a result of a crime of identity theft
  • You're the spouse or parent of victims of the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks
Dismisses your monthly loan payments and refunds payments you have already made
Total and Permanent Disability

You may qualify if you:

  • Can't work for pay when the work involves significant physical or mental activities
  • Are a veteran who has been determined to be unemployable due to a service-connected condition
Cancels your obligation to repay the balance of your student loans
Teacher Loan Forgiveness You may qualify if you:
  • Teach full-time at a low-income elementary or secondary school
Forgives part or all of your educational loan debt, provided you fulfill certain work-related requirements
Public Service Loan Forgiveness

You may qualify if you:

  • Work full-time in a public service position (and meet other eligibility requirements)
Forgives part or all of your educational loan debt, provided you fulfill certain work-related requirements

Helpful Tips

Online Resources

Download forgiveness and discharge forms online or contact your servicer directly for forgiveness and discharge eligibility.