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How Can We Get Out Parent PLUS Loans Forgiven Now The We Are Retired?

Written by Steve Rhode


Dear Steve,

Took out Plus Loans when son and daughter were attending college in the 90’s. We are still paying on them and now in our 70’s. We have about $8,000 left on the loans and since we still have a mortgage, it would help significantly if we didn’t have this debt. We are both on Social Security.

Is there anyway for this debt to be forgiven at our age?



Dear Jan,

I’m not aware of any specific program for those who retire with this type of debt. However, if you are disabled, then the loans could be forgiven. If your income has dropped, then either enrolling in or adjusting an income based repayment option would be logical at this point. See The Ultimate Guide to Dealing With Student Loans You Can’t Afford.

Of course the fastest way to eliminate the debt is to pay it off in full to avoid further interest.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

READ  If You Knew You Had a 20% Chance of Not Paying Parent PLUS Loans Would You Take Them Out?

About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.


  • What an awful position to be in! I think the “children” should assist in paying off the student loans, since the loans were taken out for their education and for their benefit. It would have been better to have them work while in school to help pay for their education while the parents focused on getting their mortgage paid off (and other personal bills) before they retired. My son is an adult in college and while I do help him with some expenses, I will not be taking out any PLUS loans, and if he decides to go to grad school, he will need to seek some sort of part-time employment.

    I purchased my property at the ripe age of 42, so I’m working on getting my mortgage paid off by the time I’m 60, which is only 10 years from now. I can’t retire until age 68, but at least that mortgage will be finished!

    • And this isn’t even the worst situation I’ve seen. How about the grandkids who get grandparents to guarantee federal student loans and then leave them getting their Social Security garnished.

          • Great article! My son, who is 27 now and FINALLY decided to get his education after years of various jobs and a stint in a heavy metal band, is majoring in history with two minors: art history and graphic communications. I think he ultimately wants a master’s in museum studies and wants to work in outreach art/history education.

            I warned him that he probably won’t make much money, but he reminded me that I once told him, “It doesn’t matter what you get your degree in. Get it in something that you like because you will have to get any type of job to survive anyway.” Or something to that nature. Who knew that he was actually paying attention?

            That said, even the more “prosperous” degrees don’t always pay off in the long run. I stupidly dropped out of school when I was young and went back when I was older than my son is now.

            My undergrad degree is in biology with a minor in sociology and a second minor in classical studies. Ten years later, while working full-time, I went back for a master’s in public health and then later completed a post-grad certification in field epidemiology. I was in my 40s when I finally completed all of my education.

            While I do work in my field, my student loan debt is ridiculous–fortunately I am under the public service loan program. But like I mentioned previously, I am actively paying off my mortgage because I want a comfortable retirement. I currently take ballet classes, go to ballet performances and Shakespeare as well as vacations to Paris every three or four years and I want to continue my lifestyle in my golden years if possible.

            The only way I think I could do that is to pay off my mortgage long before I retire, continue maxing my Roth, and continue contributing to my 457 plan. As a government worker, I have a pension, but who knows what will happen with that? I will also be eligible for social security but due to the windfall elimination business I won’t receive very much.

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