Under certain circumstances, the federal government will cancel all or part of an educational loan. This practice is called Loan Forgiveness.
To qualify, you must either:
- Perform volunteer work
- Perform military service
- Teach or practice medicine in certain types of communities
- Meet other criteria specified by the forgiveness program
These volunteer organizations offer loan forgiveness:
- AmeriCorps -- AmeriCorps volunteers address critical needs in communities all across America such as tutoring disadvantaged youth and building affordable housing. Serve for 12 months and receive up to $7,400 in stipends plus $4,725 to be used towards your loan.
- Peace Corps -- Volunteers make a real difference in the lives of people in more than 70 developing countries. Volunteers may apply for deferment of Stafford, Perkins and Consolidation loans and partial cancellation of Perkins Loans.
- Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) -- Volunteer with private, non-profit groups that help eradicate hunger, homelessness, poverty and illiteracy. Provide 1,700 hours of service and receive $4,725.
Students who serve in the Army National Guard may be eligible for its Student Loan Repayment Program which offers up to $10,000.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is intended to encourage individuals to enter and remain in the teaching profession.
- The program grants loan forgiveness of up to $17,500 for teachers in certain specialties and up to $5,000 for other teachers, who teach for five years in certain low-income schools and meet other requirements.
- Students who become full-time teachers in an elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families can have a portion of their Perkins Loan forgiven under The National Defense Education Act. Contact your school district's administration to see which schools are eligible.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program discharges any remaining debt after 10 years of full-time employment in public service. The borrower must have made 120 payments as part of the Direct Loan program in order to obtain this benefit (only payments made on or after October 1, 2007 count).