How Can Student Loans be Discharged?

Student loans can be discharged for a variety of reasons. Having a student loan discharged means that there is no further requirement to pay back the loan. This happens when the loan is paid back, the student enters into military or civil service, dies or becomes disabled and unable to work.

Discharging student debt applies specifically to federal student loan programs including the Stafford, PLUS, Perkins and Consolidation loan programs. Private student loans through a bank or other lender specializing in student loans may have their own requirements regarding student loan debt forgiveness or discharged. A private lender may not permit the loan to be discharged for reasons other than loan repayment.

Repayment of the Loan

Repaying the loan is the simplest and quickest way to discharge a student loan. It is a self-explanatory process involving the payment of the loan at specified intervals either while the student is in school or immediately after graduation or when no longer attending an institution at least 1/2 time.

When the loan is repaid, the terms and conditions of the loan no longer exist as the loan obligation has been satisfied. This is always the case when a loan is paid off.

Military or Civil Service

Students who enter military service or are engaged in some type of civil service activity such as fire, police and corrections, may apply to have a loan discharged. These individuals sacrifice their lives daily for the protection of their community or country and are permitted to waive any ongoing commitment to pay back a student loan. The risks inherent with serving in the armed forces, law enforcement or fire safety and prevention are deemed sufficient to discharge a student loan.

Death and Disability

The death and disability of a student creates a bereavement hardship for the student’s family. It is generally accepted that a death or the inability to work or engage in any type of meaningful employment for a period lasting more than 1 year will automatically discharge a person’s loan debt (in most circumstances).

A student can obtain a discharge from a student loan debt by contacting their lender to determine if they qualify for any of the 20 or more student loan cancellation programs. The lender will be able to determine the eligibility for these programs and assist with any paperwork necessary to process a loan discharge request. The loan should be serviced while a decision regarding discharge is made so to avoid loan default.

 


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