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10 Easiest Steps to Get $20,000 in Student Loan Forgiveness

By: Sahil Luthra

Student Loan Forgiveness

Student loan forgiveness releases borrowers from their obligation to repay part or all of their federal student loan debt. These borrowers have taken out loans to pay for their post-secondary education.

How Student Loan Forgiveness Works

The recent highly publicized collapse of several for-profit colleges and the pandemic-induced 2020 economic crisis have intensified longstanding concern about the mounting burden of student debt.

Loan Forgiveness Means

Loan forgiveness means a debt (or part of a debt) is eliminated or “forgiven” in finance parlance relieving the borrower of obligation to repay it.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) is designed specifically for people who work in public service jobs for either the government or a nonprofit organization.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

You may also be able to get all or part of your loan forgiven by providing specified volunteer work, military service, or medical practice.

A 2021 Revamp for PSLF

Under regular PSLF rules, only payments made on the combined loan counted toward the 120-payment minimum; earlier payments made on the old loans weren’t considered.

A 2021 Revamp for PSLF

You do still have to have direct loans or apply to combine them into direct consolidation loans, though, by the Oct. 31, 2022 deadline. Of course, the rule changes also apply to those already in the PSLF program.

Student Loan Forgiveness Eligibility

This limited waiver is available to borrowers who currently have FFEL, Perkins, or other indirect loans if they apply to consolidate into the Direct Loan program and submit a PSLF form by Oct. 31, 2022.

Applying for Forgiveness

To apply for PSLF—whether for the first time or to take advantage of the waived restrictions—both you and your employer need to complete and file the program’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) & Temporary Expanded PSLF (TEPSLF) Certification & Application (PSLF form).

Repayment Plans with Loan Forgiveness

If you aren’t working in a public service position, you may still be able to get a portion of your student debt forgiven but it will take longer.

Borrower Defense

If your school misled you or engaged in other misconduct in violation of certain state laws, you may be eligible for a loan discharge, officially known as “borrower defense to loan repayment” forgiveness.

Specialized Loan Forgiveness Programs

If you work or volunteer for certain organizations, you may be eligible for additional programs that will forgive or reduce your student debt.

Who Pays For Student Loan Forgiveness?

The U.S. government does. Most student loan lenders are huge institutions, such as commercial banks or the government (specifically, the Department of Education).


All is not perfect with forgiveness plans. The kinds of jobs that may make you eligible for student loan forgiveness often pay significantly less than private-sector positions. You might be able to repay your loans more quickly by getting a job with a higher earning potential, even if it doesn’t qualify you for loan forgiveness.

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