Student loan debt is a burden that can follow college graduates for years after they finish their degree. Due to COVID-19, the CARES Act has suspended federal student loans until December 31, 2020. While this may be helpful in the short-term, student loan borrowers will still have to start making payments again next year. You may be wondering if student debt forgiveness is an option. We will outline everything you need to know about student debt forgiveness and alternative options!
Student Debt Forgiveness: Who Qualifies?
Eligibility for student loan debt forgiveness can be complicated. It depends on a number of factors, including what kind of student loans you have, how long you’ve been paying on them, and how long you have been employed full-time. These programs are designed to encourage bright young minds in America to give back to their community by choosing careers in high-need fields. There are both federal and state student loan forgiveness programs, each with different criteria for qualification. In order to know if you qualify, you will likely have to do a bit of research on your own.
There are several careers paths that may offer student loan forgiveness. If you work in the public sector or at a nonprofit organization full-time, you may qualify for full cancellation of your student loans. Besides public sector or nonprofit employees, doctors and registered nurses may also be eligible for student debt forgiveness. Medical professionals serving in the military could also qualify for additional student loan forgiveness programs. Another common career that often is eligible for student loan forgiveness is teachers. If you aren’t sure what you qualify for, don’t be afraid to ask questions and do your own research before you apply.
Other Student Loan Options
If you don’t qualify for student debt forgiveness, there are still other options. There are various repayment plans that may be helpful, as well as consolidation and deferment options:
Types of Repayment Plans
There are a number of student loan repayment options to help you pay off student loans in a timely manner that will also work with your budget. Repayment plans can be changed at any time, even if you’ve been assigned a repayment plan when you first began repaying the student loan. These repayment options are available for Direct Loans and Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL). For federal Perkins loans, check for student loan repayment program options with the school.
- Standard Repayment Plan
- Graduated Repayment Plan
- Extended Repayment Plan
- Income-Based Repayment Loan
- Income-Contingent Repayment Plan
- Income-Sensitive Repayment Plan
Student Loan Consolidation
If you have multiple federal student loans to pay off, you may want to consider student loan consolidation. With consolidation, your student loans are combined into one monthly payment. This can be convenient since you won’t have to worry about remembering to make multiple payments each month. Consolidating your student loans can also lower your monthly payment by increasing the amount of time you have to pay off the loan. However, once you consolidate your student loans, you can lose benefits like interest rate discounts, rebates, or student debt forgiveness.
If you are struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help! Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today.