Student Loan Forgiveness|All You Need To Know In 2022

student loan forgiveness

Your federal student debts may be discharged, cancelled, or forgiven under certain circumstances. Find out more about the many forgiveness options and whether your employment or other circumstances make you eligible. 

What is Student Loan Forgiveness?

Student loan forgiveness means that a borrower doesn’t have to pay back any or all of the federal student loan debt they took out. These people have taken out loans to pay for their education after high school. 

Some types of loans can be forgiven, but only if the borrower works in a certain type of public service, education, or military job.

student loan forgiveness update

How does it Work?

Long-standing worries about the rising cost of student debt have grown due to several for-profit universities’ recent, widely reported failure and the pandemic-caused 2020 economic disaster. 

A hotly contested political topic is the broad loan forgiveness for all borrowers, not just those who work in public service, take part in a repayment plan, or were taken advantage of by their education.

Loan forgiveness refers to the process of eliminating all or part of a debt and freeing the borrower of their duty to pay it back. 

Although theoretically, every student loan could be forgiven, in reality, student loan forgiveness often only applies to loans issued or backed by the United States government, representing 92% of all student loans in the nation. Even if the loans are designated for students, the well-recognized forgiveness programs do not apply to any privately issued loans, such as those from a commercial bank or lenders.

The people who borrowed out the money may be able to get their loans cancelled or forgiven in specific circumstances. People who want their loans forgiven must apply, and they might need to keep paying until their request is accepted.

While many debtors would love to be free of their student debt, due to the tight eligibility requirements, few actually receive the chance to do so. 

The requirements vary depending on the type of loan, but the majority only grant forgiveness to people who work in specific public sector occupations. These people include teachers, government workers, soldiers, and AmeriCorps volunteers.

Additionally, student loan borrowers can choose from repayment programs that include partial debt discharge or forgiveness.


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What is the Difference between Forgiveness Or Cancellation, and Discharge?

Although they are used differently, the terms discharge, cancellation, and forgiveness all refer to essentially the same thing. 

It is often referred to as loan forgiveness or cancellation if you are no longer obligated to make loan payments due to your employment. 

Discharge is the term used when you are no longer obligated to make loan payments because of another event, such as a complete and irreversible disability or the collapse of the institution from whom you borrowed the money.

Types of Student Loan Forgiveness

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

People who work in public service positions for the government or a nonprofit organization are the target audience for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). 

By performing specific volunteer work, serving in the military, or practising medicine, you might also be able to get some or all of your loan forgiven.

You must first make 120 qualifying payments in order to be eligible for debt forgiveness under the public service program (which means paying the least amount due on time). 

These payments must be made when you are employed by a qualified employer, which is typically a branch of the government, a local authority, a state or local government, or a nonprofit with tax-exempt status. 

Who is qualified?

In actuality, you become eligible after ten years of employment and ten years of payments (120 payments overall).

Jobs in nursing, politics, the police, fire departments, and social work are all potentially eligible. For purposes of assessing eligibility, only payments made after October 1, 2007, are considered eligible.

Student loan forgiveness is only available for federal direct loans, which are now referred to as the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. This program does not cover non-federal loans from private lenders and loan businesses.

You may combine your loans into one loan if you do not have a William D. Ford direct loan instead of an FFEL loan or a loan from the Perkins Loan Program, which is no longer in existence. The previously indicated PSLF is then applicable to the new combined loan.

A PSLF Redesign for 2021

Regular PSLF regulations stipulated that only payments made on the combined loan qualified toward the 120-payment requirement; earlier payments made on the original loans were disregarded.

Additionally, you had to be registered in one of the four income-driven repayment plans offered by the government (see below).

The U.S. Department of Education did, however, announce a significant easing of program limits on October 6, 2021. Through October 31, 2022, borrowers may obtain credit for prior payments made on loans that would not otherwise qualify for PSLF (such as those FFELs or Perkins Loans) in order to reach the 120-payment threshold. 

Even if some of the payments weren’t timely or in full, more will still be eligible. Additionally, payments made under all repayment plans—not just income-contingent ones—count now.

However, by the deadline of October 31, 2022, you must still hold direct loans or submit an application to consolidate them into direct loans. Of course, those currently enrolled in the PSLF program are also subject to the new rules.

student loan forgiveness update

Who is qualified?

Borrowers with FFEL, Perkins, or other indirect loans are eligible for this restricted waiver if they request to combine into the Direct Loan program and complete a PSLF form by October 31, 2022. The waiver is applicable to student loans. The restricted PSLF waiver does not apply to parents’ PLUS loans.

Military personnel, federal workers, and a few other carefully chosen public service groups automatically receive PSLF credit. Active-duty service members may credit deferments and forbearances toward PSLF thanks to the waiver. 

According to the U.S. Department of Education statement, this fixes a problem for military members who suspended payments while on active duty but were not receiving credit toward PSLF.

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

  1. Income-based Repayment Forgiveness. 

You can limit your loan payments to a percentage of your monthly income with one of the four major income-driven repayment plans that the federal government offers. 

Depending on the plan, your remaining loan sum will be eligible for forgiveness after 20 or 25 years when enrolled in one of these plans. People with high debt balances about their income will benefit from these arrangements the most. 

According to the National Consumer Law Center, just 32 debtors have been granted loan forgiveness under income-driven payback forgiveness. As part of the March 2021 American Rescue Plan, this forgiveness was made tax-free going back from December 2020 through the end of 2025. 

But until the early 2030s, most creditors won’t be eligible for forgiveness through income-driven repayment.

  1. Loan forgiveness for public service. 

Federal student loan holders working for the government or charitable organizations may be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. After making 120 qualifying loan payments, eligible borrowers can have their outstanding loan balance erased tax-free. 

The Education Department has extended the period that payments on federal student loans are eligible for PSLF under a limited waiver; as of right now, payments on FFEL and Perkins loans, late payments, and payments made under any repayment plan will all retroactively qualify.

  1. Loan Forgiveness for Teachers. 

After working for five years straight, teachers who are employed full-time in low-income public elementary or secondary schools may be eligible for teacher loan forgiveness. 

Their federal direct or Stafford loans may be forgiven up to $17,500. Teachers who took out loans after October 1, 1998, are eligible.

  1. Student Loan Forgiveness for Nurses.

There are various choices available to nurses who are carrying student debt, including Public Service Loan Forgiveness, the cancellation of Perkins loans, and the NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program, which covers up to 85% of eligible nurses’ outstanding college debt. 

Given that few borrowers hold Perkins loans and the intense competition for the NURSE Corps program, public service loan forgiveness may be the best option for most nurses.

Student Loan Discharge vs Student Loan Forgiveness

Although they may have comparable outcomes, student loan forgiveness and discharge are not quite the same. Following a loan discharge, the borrower is no longer obligated to pay back the amount (in contrast, with loan forgiveness, a borrower continues repayments until their application is approved). 

In rare circumstances, a discharge may also entitle a borrower to reimbursement of prior loan payments.

The loan is frequently discharged when a borrower files for bankruptcy, passes away or suffers a permanent disability. 

Sometimes, a debt may be forgiven if the educational institution was found to have committed fraud. If it is established, for instance, that the educational institution materially misled the borrower, the borrower may be released from the need to repay their federal student loans.

The following circumstances allow for the discharge of most loans:

  • Closing the school while classes are in session 
  • Falsification of the loan requirements by the institution
  • failure of the school to reimburse the lender for necessary loans
  • when the school violates the state law
  • Using someone else’s stolen identity to secure the loan

In general, under certain “circumstances beyond the borrower’s control” federal student loans may be dischargeable. These situations don’t cover things like needing to leave school before graduating or struggling to find employment after graduation. 

These conditions can include a school using unethical recruiting strategies, including promising the student a well-paying job after graduation, or other misbehaviour as justification for debt cancellation. Programs for forgiving student loans

The Pros and Cons of Student Loan Forgiveness


  • Increases available funds for spending or meeting immediate needs.
  • Encourages community engagement
  • Eradicates heavy debts


  • Possibility of a raise in taxable income
  • It may take a considerable number of years to qualify
  • Can enhance an increase of interest (income-driven repayment plans)

How to Apply for Student Loan Forgiveness

First, you must combine your FFEL Program loans with your Perkins loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan P October 31, 2022. You cannot obtain credit for payments made during this brief period if you consolidate your debt after that date.

After the consolidation is finished, you must give your loan servicer a PSLF form.

The subsequent actions are:

  • Step 1 of the PSLF Help Tool should be completed to confirm qualifying employment.
  • By October 31, 2022, submit a PSLF form using the PSLF Help Tool.
  • Check the loan kinds listed in your Aid Summary.
  • By October 31, 2022, submit a request for a Direct Consolidation Debt if your employer qualifies and you have at least one loan that isn’t a Direct Loan.


How can I find out if my student loan is eligible for forgiveness?

Your Direct Loan or FFEL Program loans could be forgiven up to $17,500 if you work five full academic years as a full-time teacher in a low-income elementary school, secondary school, or organization that provides educational services.

What are student loans not eligible for forgiveness?

The Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program and the Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) Program are two federal student loan programs that do not qualify for PSLF. However, they can be accepted if combined into a Direct Consolidation Loan.

How can I get my student loans forgiven for free?

Federal student loan holders working for the government or charitable organizations may be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. After making 120 qualifying loan payments, eligible borrowers can have their outstanding loan balance erased tax-free.

At what age will my student loans be forgiven?

Any outstanding debt is cancelled after 25 years of participation in the program. Participants in the program cannot have loans that are in default. However, by making many “reasonable” payments, borrowers can keep their loans current. The offset of benefits ought to end if the loan is in good standing.


Plans for student loan forgiveness are not perfect. Careers that may qualify you for student loan forgiveness frequently have lower incomes than jobs in the private sector. Finding a job with a higher earning potential may help you pay off your debt more quickly, even if you are not eligible for loan forgiveness.

If you get any or all of your student loans forgiven, you should be aware that you might be required to pay tax on that amount because the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may see the debt as income.

Thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, this won’t be an issue for the foreseeable future: For the tax years 2021–2025, any forgiven student loan debt will not be regarded as taxable income. If you want more updates on student loans, you should consider reading President Joe Biden’s student loan plans for 2022

Obtain written confirmation of the amount and conditions of the loan forgiveness if you decide to participate in any loan forgiveness scheme.

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