Figuring out if you qualify and which loan forgiveness programs you qualify for can require some hard work. Not all borrowers are eligible. However, it could save you a lot of money if you are. The first step to determine if you have a loan forgiveness option is to talk to your loan provider. Below are the top five repayment plan and loan forgiveness options that you may be qualified for.
Income-Based Repayment Plan
While not all qualify, some recent graduates can apply for the income-based repayment plan. This program adjusts your monthly payment based on your discretionary income and will not exceed 15 percent. Some can even be eligible for a starting $0 monthly payment after the initial grace period of six months. The benefit of this plan is that after 20 years of adjusted payments, the remaining balance is completely forgiven. This repayment plan is not great for everyone, but if you have a large loan sum, it may be a good choice.
Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan
This payment plan is similar to the income-based plan but caps your payment at ten percent of your discretionary income. The Revised Pay As You Earn is available to all Direct Loan Borrowers and also forgives any remaining balance after 20 years.
Income Contingent Repayment Plan
Unlike the previous two plans, this repayment option will forgive any remaining balance after 25 years. Additionally, the Income Contingent plan requires you to submit your income every year because the payment will either be 20 percent of your discretionary income or what you would pay on a repayment plan with a fixed payment over 12 years (determined from your income).
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
To be eligible for the Public Loan Forgiveness, you must have a public service job. Many careers qualify for this plan including government workers, military members, public health services and many more. Additionally, any loan balance after ten years is forgiven, so it is crucial to switch to the Income-Based Repayment plan.
Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation
Some students take out a Federal Perkins loan to help pay for their education. This loan payment can forgive a percentage of the loan due and overtime the entire remaining balance can be canceled. Education professionals typically qualify for this forgiveness.
Not everyone qualifies for student loan forgiveness, but it could be beneficial to find out. If you are ineligible but need help with your payment, be sure to contact your loan provider. Other options can help lower your monthly bill. The key is to explore all repayment options to find your best fit.
Daniel Caskey is a finance student at Florida Institute of Technology, avid traveler, passionate sports fan and an aspiring pilot. Check out his Twitter or read more on his finance advice!