Student Loan Forgiveness

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What is Student Loan Forgiveness?

The name “Obama Student Loan Forgiveness” has become synonymous with student loan relief but is actually a nickname for the Pay As You Earn repayment program (PAYE), just one of many federal programs that offer some type of forgiveness. Many people believe that student loan forgiveness is a myth however every year tens of thousands of former students take advantage of programs such as the Pay As You Earn program, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, up front Teacher Loan Forgiveness, Disability Forgiveness Program, the Income Based Reduction (IBR) program and others.

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Will Student Loan Forgiveness Lower my Monthly Payment?

Most Student Loan Forgiveness programs are first by nature repayment programs. They offer reduced monthly payment options through government incentives. Regardless of your loan size and interest rate, these programs are designed to offer an affordable monthly payment based strictly on your income and household size (expenses). Some programs even allow for a $0 monthly payment whereby the government covers portions of the unpaid interest and the rest of the principle and interest can eventually be forgiven.


The Pay As You Earn program is a United States federal student loan repayment program to assist borrowers with their monthly payments. It is also commonly referred to as The Obama Loan Forgiveness Program, and it was the first student debt relief law signed by President Barack Obama. The Obama Loan Forgiveness program is an income sensitive program that was designed to create affordable monthly payments for federal student loan borrowers as well as potential student loan forgiveness over time.

From July 1st 2014, new borrowers of federal student loans may make payments calculated off of 10% of a borrower’s discretionary income. Your discretionary income is defined as the amount by which your adjusted gross income exceeds the poverty line. In the Pay As You Earn program, forgiveness is available after 20 years rather than 25 years for new borrowers that make 240 qualifying payments. The exact terms and conditions vary by program but a 0$ monthly payment in the PAYE program is still considered a qualifying payment. Even though no money is being paid towards the principle of the loan, it is still working towards the forgiveness term unlike a deferment or forbearance that is only a temporary hold on your loans. It is one of the most effective federal student loan forgiveness programs with numerous benefits such as:

  • Capping monthly payments to 10% of discretionary income regardless of loan size or interest.
  • Payments can go all the way down to zero dollars per month ($0) and can possibly stay that way throughout the lifetime of your loan (*income and expenses are re-qualified yearly and payments can be increased).
  • All remaining principle and interest not paid throughout the reduced payment plan can be forgiven after 240 months (20 years) even if nothing has been paid.
  • PAYE can be coupled with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF) to shorten the forgiveness period to 120 months (10 Years). Originally the Pay As You Earn program or The Obama Loan Forgiveness program could only be used to pay back and forgive loans generated after October 1st 2007.

On June 9, 2014, President Barack Obama signed an executive order extending the Pay as You Earn (PAYE) repayment program now known as the Revised Pay As You Earn to students that took out their loans before October 2007.

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The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program was created to give people in the public service field affordable payments as well as a shorter term with forgiveness over time. If you are working full-time in public service, you may qualify for The Public Service Loan Forgiveness as well as an income sensitive program. Many times, borrowers looking to enroll in The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program are unaware that they are already working for a qualified employer.

If you are enrolled in the program, stay employed full-time in the public service field, and have made 120 payments on your direct loans then your remaining balance that you still owe will be completely forgiven. Only payments made under the qualifying repayment plans may be counted toward the required 120 payments. Some of the repayment plans that can be used in conjunction with (PSLF) program are the Obama Loan forgiveness Program (PAYE), Income Based Reduction Program (IBR), the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program and the Income Contingent Repayment program. Although qualifying for The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is based off of the employer, many job types like public school teachers, police officers, nurses, fire fighters and many others qualify for this program.

Borrowers enrolled in The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program that make 120 qualifying payments will receive total forgiveness regardless of the loan amount or how much interest has accrued. A qualifying payment is considered to be any payment such as:

  • while you are employed full-time (30 hours or more per week) by a qualifying employer.
  • after October 1, 2007
  • under a qualifying repayment plan (IBR, PAYE, REPAYE etc.)
  • for the full amount due as shown on your bill
  • no later than 15 days after your due date

Qualifying payments do not need to be made consecutively and paying more than the full amount due will not help a borrower receive forgiveness sooner. Paying only the amount required actually gives a borrower the best opportunity to receive the maximum amount of forgiveness at the end of the term.

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The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program was implemented to encourage former students to enter and continue a career in the teaching profession. If a borrower works as a full time teacher for five consecutive years in lower income school districts, they may be eligible for an upfront forgiveness of up to $17,500 of federal student loan debt. Although, many other student loan forgiveness programs are retroactive after a certain number of payments have been made, this program can forgive up to $17,500 immediately. If any loan balance remains after the upfront forgiveness has been applied, teachers may still qualify for combination of multiple programs like The Obama Loan Forgiveness program (PAYE) and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). This can potentially give borrowers the benefit of an immediate upfront forgiveness, lower monthly payments and forgiveness over time.

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The official name for the Disability Forgiveness program is the Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) discharge program. The Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) discharge program was created to offer debt relief to former students who have since loan debt.  This program only works for federal loans such as Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans, William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program loan, a Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant service obligation and/or Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) Program loans.  Private loans may not be forgiven through the Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) discharge program.

Some important information for the Disability Forgiveness Program is as follows:

  • Borrowers can receive up to 100% forgiveness of all principle and interest owed.
  • There is no requirement to make a certain number of payments towards your loans first
  • Borrower may receive reimbursement for payments made after the “disability date” as defined by the department of education
  • Borrower does not have to consolidate their student loans first before they can be forgiven

After the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, it has become easier to receive this forgiveness after July 1, 2010.

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"Before I came across Student Loan Help Info, I was struggling to pay $273 every month towards my student loans. A friend of mine referred me to this place and I was a little weary at first. The woman I spoke to was very helpful and informative, so I decided to move forward and they helped me get into a $0 monthly payment. Now my student loans are one less thing I worry about."
Roger P.


"Hi! I am Jessica. I graduated in 2010 with all the hope to build a career in teaching. My loans totaled over $40,000. I had a job at the time and didn’t make a lot of money so supporting my two kids wasn’t easy. I started falling behind with my payments and eventually fell into default. Luckily, I found Student Loan Help Info through an online search, and they were able to help get me out of default and into a forgiveness program. I couldn’t be happier!"
Jessica M.


"I have been disabled for quite some time now so I haven’t been able to work and pay my student loans off. I came across this student loan assistance company and the representative was very knowledge. Since I am disabled, I was able to get all of my loans discharged. I am so thankful I made the call."
Mitchell T.

Obama Loan Forgiveness F.A.Q

What is better about the PAYE program versus other forgiveness programs?

The Obama Loan Forgiveness program generally gives you a lower monthly payment because it only considers 10% of your discretionary income instead of 15% like some of the other programs. The forgiveness term is also after 240 months instead of 300 months like other retroactive forgiveness programs.

Is a 0$ payment the same as a deferment or forbearance?

No, a 0$ monthly payment is actually considered a qualifying monthly payment towards the forgiveness term and it reflects positively as an on time payment towards your federal student loans.

Can the PAYE program combine with any other programs?

Yes, The Obama Loan Forgiveness program (PAYE) can be combined with The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF), which gives you an income sensitive payment and cuts the forgiveness term in half from 240 months to 120 months.

What will happen to my loans if I lose my job and can no longer afford my payments?

The PAYE program will always give you a payment you can afford because it is recalculated each year based off of your income and expenses. If you happen to lose your job or see a reduction in income, your monthly payment will drop accordingly.

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