Forgiveness, Cancellation, and Discharge Charts | Federal Student Aid

Not all federal student loans have the same forgiveness, cancellation, or discharge options.

Discharge provisions differ depending on whether you have a Direct Loan, a FFEL Program loan, or a Federal Perkins Loan.

Forgiveness, Cancellation, and Discharge Charts

The following charts provide an overview of the provisions and links to discharge applications.

Direct Loan and FFEL Program Loan Forgiveness, Cancellation, and Discharge Summary Chart
Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge Summary Chart

To apply for loan forgiveness, cancellation, or discharge, contact your loan servicer.


Direct Loan and FFEL Program Loan Forgiveness, Cancellation, and Discharge Summary Chart

Discharge Condition

Amount Discharged

Notes

Borrower's total and permanent disability or death

100 percent

If you are a parent PLUS loan borrower, then the loan may be discharged if you die, or if the student on whose behalf you obtained the loan dies.

Bankruptcy (in rare cases)

100 percent

Cancellation is possible only if the bankruptcy court rules that repayment poses an undue hardship to the borrower.

Closed school (for borrowers who could not complete their program because the school closed while they were enrolled or borrowers who withdrew not more than 90 days before the school closed)

100 percent

For loans received on or after Jan. 1, 1986.

False loan certification (school falsely certified a borrower's eligibility to receive a loan)

 

100 percent

For loans received on or after Jan. 1, 1986.

False certification by reason of identity theft (loan was made as a result of the crime of identity theft, as determined by a court)

100 percent

Effective July 1, 2006.

School does not make required return of loan funds to the lender

Up to the amount that the school was required to return.

For loans received on or after Jan. 1, 1986.

Full-time teacher for five consecutive years in a designated elementary or secondary school or educational service agency serving students from low-income families. Must meet additional eligibility requirements.

Up to $5,000 (up to $17,500 for elementary/secondary special education teachers and secondary math and science teachers) of the total loan amount outstanding after completion of the fifth year of teaching.


Under the Direct and FFEL Consolidation Loan programs, only the portion of the consolidation loan used to repay eligible Direct Loans or FFEL Program loans qualifies for loan forgiveness.

  • For Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan and Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan borrowers with no outstanding balance on a Direct Loan or FFEL Program loan on Oct. 1, 1998, or who have no outstanding balance on a Direct Loan or FFEL Program loan on the date they received a loan after Oct. 1, 1998.
  • PLUS loans are not eligible.
  • To learn more about the eligibility requirements for teacher loan forgiveness and to find out whether your school or educational service agency where you teach is considered to serve low-income students, go to Teacher Loan Forgiveness.

Loan forgiveness for public service employees

(Direct Loan Program only)

100 percent of the remaining outstanding balance on an eligible Direct Loan.

For a borrower who is not in default and who makes 120 monthly payments on the loan after Oct. 1, 2007, under certain repayment plans, while the borrower is employed full-time in a public service job.

You may not apply for forgiveness until after you have made all of the required 120 qualifying monthly payments.

Loan Discharge Applications

The following is a list of loan discharge applications. If you have a Direct Loan or FFEL Program loan and you’re ready to apply for forgiveness, cancellation, or discharge, you must contact your loan servicer.


Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge Summary Chart

This chart includes a list of cancellation provisions for Federal Perkins Loans. If you have a Federal Perkins Loan, you must apply to the school that made the loan or to the loan servicer the school has designated. If you have any questions on Perkins Loan cancellation, contact the school or loan servicer.

 

Cancellation Conditions

Amount Forgiven

Borrower's total and permanent disability or death

100 percent

Bankruptcy (in rare cases—cancellation is possible only if the bankruptcy court rules that repayment would cause undue hardship)

100 percent

Closed school (before student could complete program of study); applies to loans received on or after Jan. 1, 1986

100 percent

Service in the U.S. armed forces in a hostile fire or imminent danger pay area

Up to 50 percent for borrowers whose active duty service ended before Aug. 14, 2008

Up to 100 percent for borrowers whose active duty service includes or began on or after Aug. 14, 2008

Full-time firefighter (for service that includes August 14, 2008 or began on or after that date)

Up to 100 percent

Full-time law enforcement or corrections officer

Up to 100 percent

Full-time nurse or medical technician

Up to 100 percent

VISTA or Peace Corps volunteer

Up to 70 percent

Librarian with a master's degree working in a Title I-eligible elementary or secondary school or in a public library serving Title I-eligible schools (for service that includes August 14, 2008, or began on or after that date)

Up to 100 percent

Full-time attorney employed in a federal public or community defender organization (for service that includes August 14, 2008, or began on or after that date)

Up to 100 percent

Full-time employee of a public or nonprofit child- or family-services agency providing services to high-risk children and their families from low-income communities

Up to 100 percent

Full-time staff member in the education component of a Head Start program

Up to 100 percent

Full-time staff member in a prekindergarten or child care program that is licensed or regulated by a state (for service that includes August 14, 2008, or began on or after that date)

Up to 100 percent

Full-time qualified professional provider of early intervention services for the disabled

Up to 100 percent

Full-time speech pathologist with a master's degree working in a Title I-eligible elementary or secondary school (for service that includes August 14, 2008, or began on or after that date)

Up to 100 percent

Full-time special education teacher of children with disabilities in a public or other nonprofit elementary or secondary school

Up to 100 percent

Full-time teacher of math, science, foreign languages, bilingual education, or other fields designated as teacher shortage areas

Up to 100 percent

Full-time special education teacher of children with disabilities in an educational service agency (for service that includes August 14, 2008, or began on or after that date)

Up to 100 percent

Full-time teacher in a designated educational service agency serving students from low-income families (for teaching service that includes August 14, 2008, or began on or after that date)

Up to 100 percent

Full-time faculty member at a tribal college or university (for service that includes August 14, 2008, or began on or after that date)

Up to 100 percent

Note: As of Oct. 7, 1998, all Perkins Loan borrowers are eligible for all cancellation benefits regardless of when the loan was made or the terms of the borrower's promissory note. However, this benefit is not retroactive to services performed before Oct. 7, 1998.