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There are many options for student loan forgiveness and discharge, but each has different eligibility restrictions and a different application process. Learn how to apply for student loan forgiveness.
Some student loan forgiveness is automatic. Other student loan forgiveness requires the borrower to submit an application form. Application forms can be obtained by contacting the loan servicer or by calling the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).
There is no fee to apply for loan forgiveness. You do not need to pay anyone for help in applying for loan forgiveness.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 made all student loan forgiveness and student loan discharge tax-free through . This legislation is likely to be extended or made permanent before it sunsets.
The entire remaining debt is forgiven, including the outstanding interest and principal balance. If the borrower has made more than 120 qualifying payments, the extra payments will be refunded to the borrower.
The 120 qualifying payments do not need to be consecutive. It takes at least 10 years to qualify, since borrowers cannot make 120 qualifying payments in less than 10 years.
Deferments and forbearances count toward loan forgiveness for borrowers who suspended repayment while serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces. For example, the military service deferment counts toward PSLF.
Eligible public service jobs include working directly for a government agency (not indirectly through a government contractor), working for a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization or working in public interest law for a non-profit organization.
Eligible loans include loans in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program (Direct Loans). Loans in the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) and Federal Perkins Loans may be made eligible by consolidating them into a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan. Borrowers can check their loan types using the Aid Summary tool, which is available at
Eligible repayment plans include Standard Repayment and the four income-driven repayment plans: Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR), Income-Based Repayment (IBR), Pay-As-You-Earn Repayment (PAYE) and Revised Pay-As-You-Earn Repayment (REPAYE).
The Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) program provides $700 million in funding to forgive eligible student loans that were repaid in the graduated and extended repayment plans, if the last year of payments are at least as much as they would have been under an income-driven repayment plan.
To apply for PSLF and TEPSLF, borrowers should use the PSLF Help Tool, which is available at This tool will confirm that the borrower is working for an eligible employer. It will also enable the borrower to file an Employment Certification Form (ECF) or apply for public service loan forgiveness. (Borrowers should file an ECF every year and whenever they change employers, to confirm that they are on track toward loan forgiveness and to create a record of qualifying payments.)
A temporary waiver is available through to allow payments to count toward PSLF regardless of loan program or repayment plan. Late payments and partial payments will count toward loan forgiveness. Federal Parent PLUS loans are not eligible for the waiver.