How Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Works

Working a government or nonprofit job, like a firefighter, is one way to qualify for student loan forgiveness

Flickr user clarkmaxwell

With the cost of college tuition becoming more expensive every year, it is becoming increasingly more difficult for students to realize their higher education dreams without taking a loan. However, while this solves one problem it does create another in that students bear the burden of having to return that loan with a huge interest after they graduate.

Do I qualify for student loan forgiveness?

If you have taken a federal student loan, the good news is: there are ways to qualify for student loan forgiveness programs that will cancel or reduce your federal loan balance.

  • Working as a nurse, teacher, firefighter or military personnel or working full time in a government or nonprofit organization for a minimum of 10 years qualifies you for public service loan forgiveness.
  • If you have taken a federal Perkins loan, you can get your entire loan cancelled if you are employed for at least 5 years in a public service job. Taking up a job as a police officer, firefighter, teacher, nurse and school librarian among others, qualifies you for a Perkins loan cancellation.
  • If you work as a full-time teacher for 5 consecutive years in a low-income school, you can get up to $17,500 forgiven in direct or Stafford loans.

Read carefully.

There are different terms and conditions that govern each type of loan forgiveness and it is important to read these more carefully and make inquiries before presuming that your loan will be automatically forgiven if you choose a certain career path.

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