This page describes federal and other national student loan forgiveness and cancellation programs. See the Student Loan Forgiveness & Cancellation Programs page to learn more.

The federal government backs nine out of 10 student loans, so it’s likely you have a federal loan. To be sure, check the National Student Loan Data System to learn if you have a federal loan. If you have a federal loan, find out what type. Knowing the loan type will help identify cancellation or repayment options. See the tables below to learn your options.

Conditions for Cancelling Federal Student Loans

Condition for cancellation or forgiveness Qualifying Loans Loan amount discharged Eligibility Requirements/Additional Notes

Death of parent

Parent PLUS

100% of loan amount

Must require proof of death (death certificate)

Death of student

Direct Loan FFEL Perkins Loan Parent PLUS

100% of loan amount

Must require proof of death (death certificate)

Borrower’s total and permanent disability (TPD)

Direct Loan FFEL Perkins Loan

100% of loan amount

Proof of TPD:

  1. Physician’s certification

  2. VA documentation

  3. SSA notice of award

School’s permanent closure

Direct Loan FFEL Perkins Loan

100% of loan amount

Borrower enrollment status

  1. Enrolled at time of closure and failed to complete program as a result, or

  2. Withdrew from school no earlier than 120 days before school closure

  3. Completing comparable program at another school disqualifies borrower

School’s falsification of borrower’s ability to benefit

Direct Loan FFEL (received at least in part on or after 1/1/86)

100% of remaining balance + costs, charges and reimbursement of amounts already paid

Typical scenario is the school’s improperly administered test that ensured you’re ability to benefit. For example, it may have given you more time to take the test than was allowed or allowed you to discuss the answers to test questions with other students

School’s forgery of borrower’s signature on loan papers or check endorsements (Identity theft)

Direct Loan FFEL (received at least in part on or after 1/1/86)

100% of remaining balance + costs, charges and reimbursement of amounts already paid

  1. Someone affiliated with the school must have been signatory

  2. You must not have received the proceeds of the loan

  3. You must submit signature samples, including two within one year of the forgery date

School’s falsification of borrower’s disqualifying status

Direct Loan FFEL (received at least in part on or after 1/1/86)

100% of remaining balance + reimbursement of amounts already paid

Typical scenario includes a borrower lacking a high school education/diploma who entered a school program for a vocation in which the state requires a high school degree.

Unpaid Refund: School failed to refund borrower who completed less than 60% of loan period

Direct Loan FFEL (received at least in part on or after 1/1/86)

Amount of unpaid refund + interest/fees

  1. No loan cancellation if Borrower attended school for at least 60% of the loan period

  2. If school is still open, Borrower and school must have tried to resolve problem within 120 days of borrower’s application for refund

  3. School may be required to help you clean up your credit history

Bankruptcy with “undue hardship” from student loans

Direct Loan FFEL Perkins Loan Private Loan

100% of loan balance

Discharge rarely occurs, because extremely difficult for borrower to satisfactorily meet the “undue hardship” standard

Career-Based Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Programs

You may qualify for loan forgiveness if you meet certain career requirements, experience a change in personal circumstances or your school failed to follow lending or administration procedures. The tables below outline the eligible loans and professions you must work in to have your loan cancelled or partially repaid.

Teaching Profession Loan Repayment Programs

Applicable Degrees/ Borrower Status Loan Type Program Name Cancellation or Repayment Amount Eligibility Requirements

Teacher

  1. Direct Subsidized

  2. Direct Unsubsidized

  3. FFEL Stafford

  4. FFEL Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program

$17,500 maximum

Numerous requirements apply, including:

  1. Must have taught full time for 5 consecutive academic years

  2. Must teach in qualified elementary, secondary school or educational service agency serving low-income families

Teacher

Perkins Loans

Teacher Cancellation Program

100%

Numerous requirements apply, including:

  1. Must meet full-time requirement teaching in low-income school or in certain subject area

  2. School must be public or non-profit elementary or secondary school

  3. Must have taught for one full academic year or its equivalent

Medical/Health Professional Loan Repayment Programs

Applicable Degrees/ Borrower Status Loan Type Program Name Cancellation or Repayment Amount Eligibility Requirements

Medical student in MD or DO program, in final year of schooling

Loans from federal, state or local governments Commercial loans obtained for tuition and reasonable educational and living expenses No consolidated loans

NHSC’s Students to Service Loan Repayment Program

$120,000 maximum in final year of schooling

  • Commit to provide primary health care

  • 3 full-time years or 6 part-time years

  • At NHSC-approved site with HPSA score of 14 or higher

Health professional

Varies by state, typically loans from federal, state or local governments or commercial loans obtained for tuition and reasonable educational and living expenses No consolidated loans

NHSC’s State Loan Repayment Programs, offered by numerous states

Varies between state programs

  • Provide primary care in role that corresponds with borrower’s training

  • Usually 2 full-time years or 4 half-time years

  • In an HPSA in the state operating the program

Primary care clinician (in medical, dental or mental and behavioral primary care)

Loan from federal, state and local entities Loans from commercial institutions

NHSC Loan Repayment Program

$50,000 maximum, given at beginning of service

  • Provide primary care

  • For specified half-time or full-time period

  • In an approved, underserved US location

Licensed, registered nurse or nurse faculty member

  • Stafford Loans

  • Supplemental Loans for Students

  • Consolidated Loans, provided all loans are qualifying educational loans

  • Excludes Parent PLUS, Perkins Loans

NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program

60% of unpaid loan balance + 25% more if participates in 3rd year

  • 2-year program (optional 3rd year) requiring

  • Must already work full time at critical shortage facility or eligible nursing school

  • Located in a HPSA

Medical/Health research scientists, NIH employees and non-NIH employees

  • Federal, state or local student loans

  • Loans from chartered U.S. academic institutions

  • Commercial educational lenders that are subject to examination and supervision by a state or federal agency

  • Excludes Parent PLUS loans

NIH Loan Repayment Programs

$35,000 maximum per year

  • In initial application, student loan balance must be at least 20% of borrower’s salary

Licensed Health Professional

Federal, state, local student loan or commercial loan used to pay for health profession school and related expenses

Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program

$40,000 maximum, additional payments for additional time commitment

  • Commitment to practice in health facility serving American Indian or Alaska Native community

  • For minimum 2 years

  • Extension available for additional payments

Veterinarians with DVM or equivalent from accredited institution

Student loan taken out to pay tuition and reasonable education and living expenses to attend an accredited college of veterinary medicine

Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program

$25,000 per year

  • Must have minimum $15,000 in student loan debt

  • Serve in veterinarian HPSA

  • For minimum 3 years

Public Sector Loan Repayment Programs

Applicable Degree(s)/ Field Loan Type Program Name Cancellation/ Repayment Amount Eligibility Requirements

AmeriCorps Worker

  • Direct Loans

  • Stafford Loans

  • Perkins Loans

  • Supplemental Loans for Students

  • Nursing student loans, primary care loans, health education assistance loans, loans from state agencies, including state institutions of higher education

Segal AmeriCorps Education Award

$5,775 for Full time (As of October 2015)/maximum $11,550 (two awards)

  • Must serve full-time term within a 12-month period

  • Must use rewarded amount within seven years of service completion date

AmeriCorps VISTA Member

  • Direct Loans

  • Stafford Loans

  • Perkins Loans

  • Supplemental Loans for Students

  • Nursing student loans, primary care loans, health education assistance loans, loans from state agencies, including state institutions of higher education

Segal AmeriCorps Education Award

  • $5,775 for Full time (As of October 2015)/maximum $11,550 (two awards) or

  • Cash stipend (may also receive up to 15% loan cancellation)

  • Must serve full-time term within a 12-month period

  • Must use rewarded amount within seven years of service completion date

AmeriCorps VISTA or Peace Corps volunteer

Perkins Loan

Up to 70%

Government employee

  • Direct Loan

  • Direct Consolidation Loan

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

100% of remaining student loan balance after 120 monthly payments (at least 10 years of payments)

Full-time employment (combined minimum of 30 hours per week with one or more employers)

Employee of 501(c)(3) organization

  • Direct Loan

  • Direct Consolidation Loan

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

Remaining student loan balance after submitting 120 monthly payments (at least 10 years of payments)

Full-time employment (combined minimum of 30 hours per week with one or more employers)

Employee of not-for-profit organization providing qualifying public services

  • Direct Loan

  • Direct Consolidation Loan

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

Remaining student loan balance after submitting 120 monthly payments (at least 10 years of payments)

Full-time employment (combined minimum of 30 hours per week with one or more employers)

Peace Corps worker AmeriCorps worker

  • Direct Loan

  • Direct Consolidation Loan

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

Remaining student loan balance after submitting 120 monthly payments (can make a lump sum payment that counts as 12 qualifying monthly payments)

Full-time work (30 hours per week)

Other Career-Based Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Programs

Applicable Degree(s)/ Field Loan Type Program Name Cancellation/ Repayment Amount Eligibility Requirements

Attorney working in public interest, government or lower-paying legal field

Varies by law school programs

Law School Public Interest Loan Repayment Assistance Programs, Also other federal, state, state bar programs

Varies by law school program

Varies by law school program

Attorney

Perkins Loan

Up to 100%

Full-time work in a federal public or community defender organization Service must include or have begun on or after 8/14/08

Firefighter

Perkins Loan

Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation Program

Up to 100%

  • Full-time service must include or have begun on or after 8/14/08

  • 5-year term

Librarian with Master’s Degree

Perkins Loan

Up to 100%

Must be working in eligible elementary or secondary school, or in eligible public library For service that includes or began on or after 8/14/08

National Guard member

  • Any loan listed in the ED’s NSLDS website

  • Parent PLUS (incurred for individual use)

Student Loan Repayment Program

Maximum $50,000 per year

Must enlist for minimum six-year term in qualifying role

Teacher

Perkins Loans

Teacher Cancellation Program

100%

Numerous requirements apply, including:

  1. Must meet full-time requirement teaching in low-income school or in certain subject area

  2. School must be public or non-profit elementary or secondary school

  3. Must have taught for one full academic year or its equivalent

Teacher

  • Direct Subsidized

  • Direct Unsubsidized

  • FFEL Stafford FFEL Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program

$17,500 maximum

Numerous requirements apply, including:
Must have taught full time for 5 consecutive academic yearsMust teach in qualified elementary, secondary school or educational service agency serving low-income families

U.S. Armed Forces service member on active duty

Perkins Loans

Maximum 50% if active duty ended before 8/14/08

Maximum 100% if active duty includes or began on or after 8/14/08

Service occurred in a hostile fire or imminent danger pay area

U.S. Armed Forces service member on active duty

  • Direct Loans

  • Direct Consolidation Loan

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

Remaining student loan balance after submitting 120 monthly payments (at least 10 years of payments)

U.S. Armed Forces service member with service-connected disability

Federal Loans

Veterans Total and Permanent Disability Discharge

100% cancellation of loan balance

U.S. Armed Forces service member with special circumstances

Federal Loans

100% cancellation of loan balance

Department of Defense may deem special circumstances warrant complete forgiveness of outstanding loan balances

Resources

Teachers Cancellation and Repayment Requirements

https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts

Updated: July 27, 2017