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I’ve Been Paying on My Student Loans for 20 years and I’d Like Them Forgiven

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Question:

Dear Steve,

I have no idea how to get started on applying for student loan forgiveness. I have been paying every months (with some setbacks) for almost 20 years. I did take a forbearance when I was on maternity leave several times a long long time ago. I believe that I had a FFEL that was consolidated in 2003. I still owe over $16,000. I thought my interest rate was super low but it’s like 4.8%. I work in a hospital but not as a nurse or doctor. I’ve read many many articles on this subject and still have no idea if I would be lucky enough to have my loans forgiven. Can you help me figure this out or point me in the right direction? Thanks you

Phoebe

Answer:

Dear Phoebe,

In order to be eligible for some federal student loan forgiveness program you’d have to make sure your loans were eligible for forgiveness. This typically means you meet a special situation, like unexpected disability, or you are on a Direct Loan consolidation and an income driven or extended repayment program.

To see what program you would be qualified for, click here.

Your employment at the hospital may qualify if the hospital is a 501(c)3 non-profit employer. A real concern is if your 2003 consolidation was consolidated into a Direct Loan or not. If it wasn’t then your payments don’t count towards forgiveness. As the Department of Education says, “Only qualifying payments that you make on the new Direct Consolidation Loan can be counted toward the 120 payments required for PSLF. Any payments you made on the FFEL Program loans or Perkins Loans before you consolidated them don’t count.”

For more information on this program, click here.


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