You might be eligible for a discharge of your federal student loans based on false certification.

Learn more about false certification discharge to see whether you might qualify.

False Certification Discharge

You might be eligible for a discharge of your loan made under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program or Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program if your school falsely certified your eligibility to receive a loan.

What are the eligibility requirements to qualify for a loan discharge based on false certification?
How do I apply for a loan discharge?
How much of my loan will be discharged if I’m approved?
What happens if my loan discharge is denied?
I’m a parent who received a Direct PLUS Loan to help pay for my child’s education. Can my loan be discharged due to false certification?


What are the eligibility requirements to qualify for a loan discharge based on false certification?

There are three categories of false certification through which you might be eligible for a discharge of your Direct Loans or FFEL Program loans:

  1. Ability to benefit: The school falsely certified your eligibility to receive the loan based on your ability to benefit from its training, and you didn’t meet the ability-to-benefit student eligibility requirements that were in effect at the time the school determined your eligibility.
  2. Disqualifying status: The school certified your eligibility to receive the loan, but at the time of the certification, you had a status (physical or mental condition, age, criminal record, or other circumstance) that disqualified you from meeting the legal requirements for employment in your state of residence in the occupation for which the program of study was preparing you.
  3. Unauthorized signature or unauthorized payment: The school signed your name on the loan application or promissory note without your authorization or the school endorsed your loan check or signed your authorization for electronic funds transfer without your knowledge, and the loan money wasn’t given to you or applied to charges you owed to the school.

How do I apply for a loan discharge?

If you have a Direct Loan or FFEL Program loan and you’re ready to apply for the false certification discharge, you must complete the loan discharge application that applies to your circumstance:

*Complete the Loan Discharge Application: False Certification (Unauthorized Signature/Payment) only if you believe that an employee of the school that determined your eligibility for the loan signed your name on the promissory note or other loan documents without your authorization. If you believe that someone else (other than a school employee) forged your signature on a loan document or a loan was made in your name as a result of the crime of identity theft, contact your loan servicer.

Find out who your loan servicer is by logging in to “My Federal Student Aid.”


How much of my loan will be discharged if I’m approved for a loan discharge?

If you meet the eligibility requirements for a discharge, the entire remaining balance of your loan will be discharged, and any payments made on the loan will be refunded.


What happens if my loan discharge is denied?

You will remain responsible for repaying your loan. If you believe that your loan discharge application was denied in error or if you have additional information that you believe would support your eligibility for a false certification discharge, you may ask the U.S. Department of Education to review the denial.


I’m a parent who received a Direct PLUS Loan to help pay for my child’s education. Can my loan be discharged due to false certification?

Yes, some or all of your parent PLUS loan might be discharged if

  • the school falsely certified the student’s ability to benefit from its training,
  • the student had a disqualifying status at the time the school certified your eligibility to receive the parent PLUS loan, or
  • the school signed your name on the promissory note or other loan documents without your authorization.

Contact your loan servicer for more information.