As student loan debt becomes more of a problem for graduates many are looking for ways to take advantage of forgiveness opportunities that may be available from their lender or, in the case of federal loans, students who are in a public service career and may qualify for the forgiveness options could be in a position where after 10 years worth of repayments, meaning 120 payments have been made on a monthly basis, students could potentially get their debt forgiven after graduation gift, once again, they meet certain qualifications from this federal forgiveness plan. Graduates who may be facing debt but have Stafford loans or a direct consolidation loan may potentially qualify for this federal forgiveness opportunity if they are in a certain career, as the students who want to take advantage of this shorter-term of forgiveness will have to be in a specific career.
In some cases, graduates may be able to qualify for this forgiveness plan on federal loans if they are in the public service industry and this can include emergency management plans, law enforcement or public safety jobs, public health or education services, just to name a few. However, when students are in a position where they may qualify for these forgiveness options it does need to be remembered that they have to make sure that this agreement is worked out with their servicer, which in many cases is the federal Direct Loans program, particularly for those who have chosen to consolidate their loans.
However, students may find that just because public service forgiveness options are available on their federal loans, they are not necessarily in a position to pay off their loan and affordable way. Simply put, there are many graduates who are struggling to make ends meet financially and as a result are not able to meet their monthly student loan payment, which has led to defaults and even delinquency in some cases, which will be problematic for many students in the future. Furthermore, the federal loans are not dischargeable in many cases, and if a student or graduate has trouble paying this obligation, it could lead to the garnishment of wages, income tax refunds withheld, or other denials from federal servicers as a result, so many students who are facing a sizable amount of federal loan debt are often worried about how they can affordably pay down this loan.
Again, not all graduates benefit from these forgiveness options but it will be important for students to understand that these plans are in place and can offer forgiveness after 10 years in repayment, but students who are not in a public service area currently may be able to pay on their debt for 25 years, and if there is a remaining balance after this time, the debt will be forgiven. Recently, President Obama suggested that this timeframe be lowered to 20 years, and it’s hoped that students who have a high amount of federal loan debts will be able to take advantage of the short timeframe if they would be paying on these debts for much longer than 20 years.
However, students and graduates do need to remember that the federal student loan program does offer affordable repayment options that go beyond a traditional plan, so if forgiveness is an option for some, or if the 20 to 25 year forgiveness mark is a graduate’s goal, there are opportunities like income-based repayment plans, consolidation loans, or even short-term solutions like forbearance, that can help students find a more affordable payment on their debts so that missed payments, delinquency, or worse may be avoided as students work towards the ultimate goal of paying off this debt entirely.