Waiting for page to load...
Lady sitting at a café and working on her laptop, peering observantly to the side.

Do You Qualify for Student Loan Forgiveness or Discharge?

Book Illustration Heart illustration Person illustration

Federal student loans offer benefits that many other loans don't. One benefit is the ability to qualify for loan forgiveness—under special circumstances, the federal government may forgive part, or all, of your federal student loans. This means you're no longer obligated to make your loan payments. Another benefit is there may be some situations where you may qualify to have your loans cancelled or discharged.

These are some of the most common types of loan forgiveness and discharge.

  • Teacher Loan Forgiveness
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness
  • Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness
  • Closed School Discharge
  • Total and Permanent Disability Discharge

Note this is not a complete list, and you need to meet certain requirements and provide specific information to qualify. See if you qualify.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness

If you teach full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in a low-income elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency, you may be eligible for forgiveness of up to $17,500 on your Direct Loan or FFEL program loans. See StudentAid.gov/teach-forgive for more information and a form you can fill out when you have completed your teaching service.

Learn more about the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program, eligibility requirements, and how to apply. (If you aren't already logged in, you'll be asked to do so.)

Note: You may not receive a benefit for the same qualifying payments or period of service for Teacher Loan Forgiveness and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

If you are employed by a government or not-for-profit organization, you may be able to receive loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer.

Learn more to see whether you might qualify.

Note: Servicing for this program is managed by another federal student loan servicer. If you enroll in Public Service Loan Forgiveness, your eligible loans will be transferred from Great Lakes to that servicer. Also note, you may not receive a benefit for the same qualifying payments or period of service for Teacher Loan Forgiveness and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

You've Got Options If You Were Denied PSLF

If your application for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) was denied, you may be able to receive loan forgiveness under the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) opportunity.

As part of this opportunity, the Department of Education reconsiders your eligibility using an expanded list of qualifying repayment plans.

This TEPSLF opportunity is temporary, has limited funding, and will be provided on a first come, first served basis. Once all of the funds are used, the TEPSLF opportunity will end.

Visit StudentAid.ED.gov for detailed information on how to be reconsidered for loan forgiveness.

Closed School Discharge

If your school closes while you're enrolled or soon after you withdraw, you may be eligible for a discharge of your federal student loan. For example, ITT and Corinthian College recently closed and qualified students were eligible for loan discharge. Learn more about the process, eligibility requirements, and how you can apply.

Borrower Defense to Repayment

If you believe that the school you attended misled you or engaged in misconduct in violation of certain laws, the federal student loans you obtained to attend that school may be eligible for forgiveness, called Borrower Defense to Repayment. Learn more about the process, eligibility requirements and how you can apply.

Total and Permanent Disability Discharge

Learn more about the Total and Permanent Disability Discharge process, eligibility requirements, and how to apply.

Note: Servicing for this process is managed by another federal student loan servicer. If you apply for a Total and Permanent Disability Discharge, your eligible loans will be transferred from Great Lakes to that servicer.

Not Eligible for Total and Permanent Disability?

If you believe you qualify for one of the programs other than the Total and Permanent Disability Discharge, complete and submit a loan forgiveness, cancellation, or discharge application form. (If you aren't already logged in, you'll be asked to do so.)

All forms are in Portable Document Format (PDF). In order to view PDF files, you must first download the free Acrobat Reader software. Detailed instructions for downloading and installing the Acrobat Reader are located on the Adobe website.

Not finding the right repayment option?

Not everyone follows the same path while in school, or afterward when you're expected to pay back your loans.

Learn more about other repayment options to find the one that best fits your circumstances.

Free Expert Help!

You don't have to pay for student loan services or advice. Our expert representatives have access to your latest student loan information and understand all of your options. Learn more about the free services available to you.


Get in Touch

Do you have questions or want to give us some feedback? Log in, and visit our Contact Us page to contact a representative or to send us your thoughts.

Did you enjoy this topic? Share!