Is student loan forgiveness real?

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Student loan forgiveness is a real program funded by the government to help decrease the debt of federal student loan borrowers. Many students take out federal student loans to help them pay for college but wind up behind on loan payments or are unable to completely pay them back.

As more than 42 million borrowers still have outstanding federal student loans, more and more people are affected by the student debt crisis. Student loan forgiveness allows student loan borrowers to have their debt partially or completely forgiven. The amount of debt that is eligible to be forgiven depends on the situation of the applicant.

There are ways to describe loan forgiveness:

  • Forgiveness
  • Cancellation
  • Discharge

Though forgiveness, cancellation, and discharge have very similar meanings in the context of loan forgiveness, they have different uses. Forgiveness and cancellation describe a situation in which an individual is no longer required to repay their loans because of the job they hold.

Discharge is used in cases where the borrower does not need to repay their loans because of extenuating circumstances, such as a severe disability. Another case in which discharge would be used to describe loan forgiveness would be if the institution or university the person is in debt to closes.

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To further clarify the different types of loan forgiveness, there are several specific types of cases in which loans can be forgiven. If one of these situations fits you, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness.

  • Public service loan forgiveness

An individual who works for the government or for a non-profit organization may be eligible for loan forgiveness through the PSLF program. This only applies to those who hold loans from the federal direct loan program. The public service loan forgiveness program will forgive the outstanding balance on these loans as long as applicants meet the requirements.

  • Teacher loan forgiveness

Loan forgiveness isn’t just for students. A full-time teacher who has taught for five consecutive years or more, in a low-income district, may be able to apply for up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness. Teachers who have direct loans or FFEL program loans are eligible to apply for teacher loan forgiveness.

  • Perkins loan cancellation and discharge

Borrowers who have Perkins loans may be able to have all or some of their loans canceled. This depends on the occupation of the borrower. Eligible borrowers include teachers, nurses, firefighters, and more. The amount of debt that will be canceled or discharged will depend on what field the borrower works in.

  • Total and permanent disability discharge

Those who are completely and permanently disabled may be discharged from direct loans, FFEL program loans, or federal Perkins loans. Applicants should provide evidence that they qualify through documents from one of the following: a physician, social security administration, or the U.S. department of veterans affairs.

loan forgiveness

Is the student loan forgiveness program legitimate?

Yes, the student loan forgiveness program is legitimate. Federal student loan borrowers who match the requirements can apply for partial or total loan forgiveness. Many federal student loan borrowers have been able to find some financial relief through the loan forgiveness program.

For many student loan borrowers, the student loan forgiveness program is a legitimate way to decrease the stress of making loan payments on time and lower the overall cost of their student loans. In addition, this program is available to those who are already working but still have student loan debt. Many adults who have been in the process of paying off their student loans can apply for loan forgiveness.

The student loan forgiveness program is one of the major policies instituted by the Biden-Harris administration. The executive branch of the government, as well as the department of education, are working together to ensure that anyone who qualifies for student loan forgiveness can have their debt canceled.

Those who are concerned about the legitimacy of the student loan forgiveness program can review the plethora of speeches and literature put out by the Biden-Harris administration and the department of education. The program is well corroborated and should be easily accessible to any student loan borrowers seeking forgiveness for their student loans.

Is the student loan forgiveness program legitimate?

Who qualifies for the student loan forgiveness program?

Whether or not you qualify for the student loan forgiveness program is dependent on a few factors. Your occupation, the type of loan you took out, and your health status are all factors that might affect your student loan forgiveness

As mentioned, those who still have federal student loans may be able to qualify for loan forgiveness on the basis of their occupation. Many service workers, such as law enforcement workers, healthcare workers, and public defenders, can apply for a hefty amount of loan forgiveness.

Most workers in the department of education should qualify for loan forgiveness if they had federal student loans. Teachers in particular should make sure to apply for teacher loan forgiveness if they qualify for it.

Those who have become completely and permanently disabled will also likely qualify for the student loan forgiveness program. These individuals will only need to provide proof of their disability, such as through a physician, in order to qualify.

Applying to loan forgiveness programs, provided you qualify, can be incredibly helpful for your finances. Making loan payments is often quite stressful and can be very difficult depending on the financial situation. Check to make sure you meet the eligibility for teacher loan forgiveness, public service loan forgiveness, or other federal student loan forgiveness programs.

public service loan forgiveness

How much will the student loan forgiveness program cost?

As you may expect, loan forgiveness is a very costly program for the federal government. Some borrowers who apply for forgiveness may be eligible for their entire remaining loan debt to be forgiven, which means the cost to forgive debt will vary drastically from person to person.

Consequently, forgiving the federal student loans of millions of borrowers across the country is an ambitious task. It is estimated that the student loan forgiveness program will cost the government $400 billion over a thirty-year period. Of course, because the amount of debt held varies between federal student loan borrowers, it is difficult to accurately predict exactly how much loan forgiveness will cost.

Around 95% of federal student loan borrowers meet the criteria for at least some of their loan payments to be forgiven. 45% should be eligible for total loan forgiveness, meaning they will no longer have student debt after applying for the forgiveness program.

Frequently asked questions about student loan forgiveness

How much is the average student loan debt?

Federal student loan borrowers may have different debt balances depending on where they live, what school they attended, and their financial situation. As a result, it is difficult to come up with a number for the average student loan debt that accurately reflects most borrowers across the country.

In total, there is about $1.75 trillion owed in student loan debt. This accounts for both federal loans and private loans. On average, an individual seeking to borrow money to cover their student loan debt will borrow around $28,950.

Though student loan debt is becoming an issue in the United States, federal student loans remain one of the most common ways to pay for college. For students struggling to finance their college education, federal student loans may be the best option. Read over the guide on how to apply for federal student loans if you're thinking about taking out a loan.

Average state student loan debt

Some states have a higher average loan than others. New Hampshire, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island are all comparatively higher in student loan debt. The average loan taken out in New Hampshire, for example, is $39,928.

States that have a lower student loan debt per person on average include Utah, New Mexico, California, and Nevada. Compared with the higher debt states, Utah has an average student loan debt of just $18,344.

The discrepancy in typical loan debt between states can be attributed to a number of factors, but federal student loan borrowers from any state can benefit from applying for student loan forgiveness. Removing the need to continue to make loan payments can greatly improve the financial prospects of those with federal student loans.

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What is the deadline for student loan forgiveness?

Federal student loan borrowers should be sure to apply before December 31, 2023.

Due to the volume of applications to have federal loans forgiven, student loan debt forgiveness applications may take a while to process. Therefore, to ensure your student loan debt forgiveness application is reviewed as quickly as possible, applying earlier is better.

However, borrowers are strongly encouraged to send in their loan forgiveness application before mid-November. This is because applying by mid-November will allow applicants to get loan relief before the payment pause ends on December 31, 2022.

Federal student loan repayment pause

Currently, the payment pause means that federal loan borrowers do not need to make any kind of loan payments at all. Therefore, applying early means that your debt may be forgiven or canceled before the loan payments pause ends. It’s possible that the Biden-Harris administration will extend the payment pause period past December 31, 2022, but this is not a guarantee.

Applying after mid-November is completely fine. There is a possibility that loan holders will need to resume making payments after the loan payment pause, even if they have applied and qualify for forgiveness. Loan holders seeking to avoid this should apply early to be on the safe side.

As long as federal student loan borrowers send in their loan forgiveness application before December 31, 2023, they should be able to get some kind of loan relief as long as they qualify. For more information on when the loan pause ends and whether the application deadline has been extended, continue to check the department of education website.

Federal student aid is an extremely common way to pay for a college education. However, supplementing any federal student aid with scholarships can help many students increase their budget for college. Scholarships are a free form of gift aid that does not need to be repaid— meaning there's no stress about loan repayments or interest rates.

For more information, check out this guide on how student loans are different from scholarships. Scholarships can help students avoid having to take out more loans than necessary and save up for college. Sign up today with to find scholarships that are right for you.