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Get rid of those student loan payments!

Before you do anything with your student loans, READ THIS: Consolidating may not be your best option. You may receive lots of offers for refinancing, consolidation, restructuring, etc., but you might prevent your own eligibility for an even better option: Student Loan Forgiveness. AVOID student debt “rescue” agencies. These are private and predatory lenders who charge high fees and may actually worsen your situation.

There are 3 types of student loan forgiveness:

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Teacher Loan Forgiveness

Perkins Loan Cancellation

The first step is to find out what kind of student loan(s) you have. The only ones eligible for cancellation or reduction are federal loans. Making things even more complicated: some lenders handle both federal and private loans, for example, Sallie Mae and Navient.

Apply for your FSA (Federal Student Aid) ID:

Use this ID to access the National Student Loan Data Base: 

Select: Financial Aid Review to see what types of loans you have.

Now, what are the eligible plans? 

Public Service Loan Forgiveness: After 120 on-time payments (not necessarily consecutive), remaining debt is cancelled. All full-time public school/college, police, fire, and some other service employees are eligible. You must be on a qualified repayment plan (most qualify). You must submit a form annually, signed by your personnel office.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness: $5,000 cancelled ($17,500 for science, math, or SE teachers) after teaching 5 consecutive years, full-time, in a low-income school. You can qualify for TLF, then make 10 years of payments and qualify for PSLF.

Perkins Loan Forgiveness: Perkins loans are made to low-income students in small amounts, but are eligible for complete cancellation (and no payments due while qualifying) for anyone teaching at a Title I public school. 

What if I don’t qualify?

Re-consolidate into a Federal Direct Loan or switch to an eligible payment plan. Contact your lender: it is FREE.

Look into Income-Driven or Extended Repayment Plans, or refinance. has some ranked and specific-case options.

Take the best possible tax deduction for student loan payments.

Talk to your financial advisor and/or get more advice here:

Contact your legislators with a personal story of why you would benefit from student loan reform.