Loan Forgiveness and Cancellation
Reduce Your Balance without Making a Payment, If You Qualify for Loan Forgiveness or Cancellation
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Programs
To encourage students to pursue certain careers, the federal government has created programs that forgive some or all of a borrower's federal student loan debt. Contact your servicer(s)/lender(s) to find out if you qualify.
Certain careers in government, the military and education may qualify for loan forgiveness. This includes certain teaching jobs.
You May Qualify for Loan Forgiveness By:
Volunteering with AmeriCorps, Peace Corps or VISTA
Volunteering with a qualifying entity can make a direct impact on your federal student loan balance. Here is the contact information for participating volunteer organizations.
This program is administered through AmeriCorps.
Joining the Military
Each branch of military service has its own federal student loan forgiveness program. Some positions may qualify for a higher amount of loan forgiveness. For details, contact an armed forces recruiter or visit them online.
- U.S. Army: Paying for College
- U.S. Army National Guard: Paying for College
- U.S. Navy: Earn Money for College
- U.S. Marine Corps
- U.S. Air Force: Money for School
Working for the Federal Government or Any State, Local or Tribal Government
If you are a public servant and a Direct Loan Program borrower, your federal student loan(s) may qualify for Income-Based Repayment (IBR) or Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) plan for 10 years. After that time, any remaining student loan debt is forgiven.
To see if you qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, contact your servicer(s)/lender(s).
Key features of Public Service Loan Forgiveness:
- The repayment term is 10 years, with payments through IBR or ICR
- You must be a full-time public servant
- All loans must be Direct Loan Program loans
- You can consolidate a non-Direct loan(s) into a Direct loan(s) to qualify
- After 10 years, any remaining student loan debt(s) is forgiven
- Deferment and forbearance periods do not count toward the 10 years
Working for a Nonprofit Organization
If you are a Direct Loan Program borrower, working for some nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations may qualify you for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. For more details on what qualifies for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, download the U.S. Department of Education's Public Service Loan Forgiveness fact sheet.
Teaching in Underserved Communities
If you are a full-time teacher, you may qualify for complete cancellation of your Perkins loan and forgiveness of some or all of qualifying Stafford loans (both FFELP and Direct Loan Program borrowers). The requirement is that you teach at a school that serves low-income students. You can search for qualifying schools online.
For details on loan forgiveness for teachers, visit the Federal Student Aid web pages on:
The American Federation of Teachers maintains a state-by-state list of additional forgiveness programs for teachers. Visit the American Federation of Teachers website for details.
To apply for teacher loan forgiveness, talk to your servicer(s)/lender(s) and submit the appropriate form below. If you don't know who your servicer(s)/lender(s) is, go to the Federal Student Aid (FSA) website, which is the central database for all federal student loan information.
Providing Child Care Services in Underserved Communities
If you provide child care in an eligible facility that serves a low-income community, some or all of your undergraduate FFELP or Direct Loan Program Stafford loans may be forgiven.
For more information, contact the Child Care Provider Loan Forgiveness Program support desk of the Federal Student Aid offices toll-free at 888-562-7002.
Whom Should I Contact about Loan Cancellation?
Please first read the eligibility requirements to see if you may meet the requirements, as the rules are detailed and specific. If you feel you qualify, contact your servicer(s)/lender(s) to discuss your eligibility. If ECMC holds your loan(s), contact us or find the loan cancellation option below that fits your circumstance, download and complete the appropriate form and send it to:
P.O. Box 16408
St. Paul, MN 55116-0408
If you don't know who your servicer(s)/lender(s) is, go to the Federal Student Aid (FSA) website, which is the central database for all federal student loan information.
False Certification: Cancellation Due to Fraudulent Activity
False certification cancels any loan that was fraudulently originated by the school. False certification applies to loans disbursed after January 1, 1986, and is tightly defined to cover the following specific situations:
Ability to Benefit
Every school must certify students are eligible for federal student loans. For students without a high school diploma or GED, this means the school must demonstrate the student is academically able to benefit from the school's programs before the student can take out a loan(s). If a school falsely certified you for a program for which you did not qualify, you may be eligible for loan cancellation.
Ability to benefit cancellation only applies to fraudulent certification. It does not apply to schools that misrepresent their education programs, the quality of their facilities and faculty, or their ability to help you find employment in your field of study.
In rare cases, someone at the school has signed a borrower's name on a financial aid application without authorization, received the borrower's loan funds and the borrower received no benefit from those funds. If you believe an official at your school forged your signature on a promissory note or loan application, you may be eligible for loan cancellation.
If your school certified your eligibility to study for a field in which you couldn't work, you may be entitled to loan cancellation. Barriers can include physical or mental conditions, legal status or other conditions that would legally bar employment in your field of study. An example of this may be a school knowingly admitting a felon into law school.
Closed Schools: Cancellation Due to a School Closing within 120 Days of Your Being Enrolled
If your school closed while you were enrolled and before you completed your program, you may be eligible for loan cancellation. The U.S. Department of Education has an online closed school search page where you can confirm your school closed. Closed school cancellation applies to loans disbursed after January 1, 1986, and covers these specific situations:
- You did not complete the program through a teach-out at another school
- You could not transfer academic credits or hours from the closed school to another school
- The school closed while you were enrolled
- The school closed within 120 days of an approved leave of absence or withdrawal
You can find out more on the U.S. Department of Education's Closed School Information section of the website.
Unpaid Refund: Cancellation Due to a School Not Refunding an Unused Portion of Your Loan(s)
If you attended school for less than 60 percent of the loan period, you may be due a refund. If your school should have refunded a portion of your loan(s) to your servicer(s)/lender(s) and didn't, the amount of the refund plus any accrued interest related to the refund amount can be canceled.
If your school is still open, contact your school to discuss the situation. If your school is no longer open, contact your servicer(s)/lender(s) to discuss your options.
Total and Permanent Disability (Including Veterans)
If you become totally and permanently disabled, your student loan(s) may be canceled. To qualify, you must have a physician (doctor of medicine or osteopathy) certify that you are totally and permanently disabled.
According to the U.S. Department of Education's website, totally and permanently disabled is defined as the condition of an individual who:
- Is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment that:
- Can be expected to result in death;
- Has lasted for a continuous period of not less than 60 months; or
- Can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 60 months; or
- Has been determined by the secretary of veterans affairs to be unemployable due to a service-connected disability.
- If you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you can submit a Social Security Administration (SSA) notice of award for SSDI or SSI benefits stating that your next scheduled disability review will be within five to seven years from the date of your most recent SSA disability determination.
"Substantial gainful activity" is defined for purposes of this discharge as a level of work performed for pay or profit that involves doing significant physical or mental activities, or both.
Visit the U.S. Department of Education's website at www.disabilitydischarge.com for more information or to apply for loan cancellation due to total and permanent disability.
Upon death, a borrower's remaining student loans are canceled and no future payments are necessary. The same applies for the death of a student on PLUS loans. To validate the death of a student/borrower, an original death certificate, a certified copy, or a clear, accurate and complete photocopy are required.
Spouses and Parents of September 11, 2001 Victims
This loan cancellation is for survivors of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.