American society has put the college experience on a particularly high pedestal. Youths are told in high school that in order to get a job that pays well, a college education is essential. Whether or not this is true is debatable. However, it does put millions of young Americans in a position in which they feel that college is a necessity rather than one option among many.
That is not, however, reflected in the price of college. Tuition costs far more than the vast majority of young people and their families can afford. Student loans are liberally given by the government and some private companies. All of this has contributed to the reality that about $1.6 trillion in student loan debt is owed by Americans.
With uncertainty the only thing we can be certain about in 2020, you may be worrying that future economic struggles and unemployment may make it difficult for you to ever finish paying off your student debt. Chances are you have heard of student loan forgiveness and want to know if you qualify.
This is what you need to know about whether you are able to apply for student loan forgiveness. Keep in mind that loan forgiveness is just one option for how to ultimately take care of your student debt.
For most people, the amount of time that has passed will determine whether they can apply for student loan forgiveness. You will almost certainly qualify after twenty-five years of work, but many individuals can start applying after fifteen years. If fifteen to twenty-five years of work sounds like a terribly long timeframe to stake your hopes on, you are not alone. In these cases, loan forgiveness is ultimately a relief rather than a reliable way of taking care of your debt.
However, some people will qualify for student loan forgiveness after a much shorter period of time.
If you work full-time in a public service role, you may qualify for student loan forgiveness after just 120 payments. 120 payments covers ten years, and is still a reasonably long period of time. However, it does mean you will likely qualify for loan forgiveness in your early thirties, a time in which many people are thinking about marriage and having children.
Public service roles include employment at any local, state, or federal agencies and institutions, as well as positions at non-profit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.
Loan forgiveness by profession
Student loan forgiveness is also given earlier for people in certain professions. Teachers, military recruits, and public defenders can all apply for loan forgiveness in a far shorter time. In some cases, this simply means committing to several years in a particular role, such as public defender.
Doctors can also apply for loan forgiveness if they commit to two years in the National Health Service Corps program.
Students who find themselves facing unexpected hardship may qualify for student loan forgiveness. This is true for students who face physical or mental disabilities that prevent them from working. People with chronic disabilities are eligible for this kind of forgiveness.
If you encounter issues with your school, you may also apply for student loan forgiveness. For example, if your school closes down before you have completed your course, you may apply for forgiveness. This is as long as you were in the actual process at the time the school closed down, and not taking a break. Furthermore, if your school is found to be taking advantage of students and not providing a proper education, you will be eligible for loan forgiveness.
Is it worth it?
Understandably, student loan forgiveness does not sound like a particularly helpful option for new students. And the truth is that as a first course of action it will not get you anywhere. Loan forgiveness is something you eventually qualify for, rather than something you can make happen for yourself. It is the government making a small concession to the fact that a decade or more is a long time to still be paying for your college education. Hopefully, that will have to change as the extent of the debt crisis in the US makes it unreasonable to continue to indenture more and more people.
For now, student loan forgiveness is good to know about but probably not all that useful to you. However, if you do find yourself in one of the above scenarios, be sure to look into getting your debt forgiven. It is something you should take advantage of if you can.
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