Get Out of Debt Guy

I'd Like to Know if My Student Loans are Now Eligible for Forgiveness

Posted March 21

Question:

Dear Steve,

I am contemplating my options for some of the new govt student loan forgiveness programs (working a govt job or time based), and I trying to track down how much "official credit" I have accumulated towards student loan payments since loans were taken out in 1994.

I have been paying on the loans off and on since 1997ish. They are for a graduate degree. Some of the new forgiveness programs will wipe out the remaining loans if they have been been paid on for "X" amount of years.

Unfortunately, my loans have had multiple servicers, currently Navient (However, Sallie Mae used to be a servicer, and I also had some with I believe Great Lakes. It has been so long ago and I am just not sure what company was servicing them and for what time periods).

I read your column (through emails you send) and I am aware of the pitfalls (taxes!) of these programs, but I want to know what my options are. When I called navient, I got someone in India who told me that info is on their website (it is NOT).

I have also had several govt jobs during after obtaining the graduate degree, so I may be close to qualifying for forgiveness through that route too. What type of proof do I need for that part of the program?

What I need is to know what the government considers to be my complete payment history, and how much credit in "years" I have accumulated. Where do I find that information from the government (being that the govt is the one who makes that decision)?

Part 2: What proof do I need of govt jobs to try and receive forgiveness through part of the program?

Matt

Answer:

Dear Matt,

Most likely you have accumulated zero years of credit. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, that you appear to be alluding to, requires that your loans be repaid on an income contingent repayment plan. Only loan payments made after you do that will count towards forgiveness. You will need 120 payments under that plan.

If payments you've made since made since October 1, 2007 were under an income driven repayment plan or a full standard payment, then those individual on-time, full payments would count towards the 120 required. Late payments do not count. Payments do not need to be consecutive to count.

If you would like to make sure your employment and payments qualify, you can complete this form.

For more information, click here.

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About this Blog:

Steve Rhode has had careers in opthalmology, real estate and as the head of a nonprofit debt counseling firm. On his blog, he offers hard-won, free advice about getting out of debt, consolidation and making the right choices as you manage your money.