How to have student loans forgiven if you don't qualify for Biden's forgiveness program

The plan forgives up to $20,000 for people earning less than $125,000 a year.

August 26, 2022, 4:01 AM

President Joe Biden fulfilled one of his campaign promises and announced a plan to cancel student loan debt for millions of Americans.

The plan, announced Wednesday, forgives up to $20,000 for borrowers earning less than $125,000 a year, will either wipe out the debt for millions of people, severely reduce the amount for individuals who still owe or barely scratch the surface of how much a person owes to their loan provider.

For people who don't qualify for Biden's loan forgiveness or will still have student loans left, options are still available to reduce their debt.

Working for the Federal Government

People who work for the federal government could have a government agency repay their student loans.

According to the United States Office of Personnel Management, a government agency may pay a maximum of $10,000 of an employee's loan in a year or a total of $60,000 per employee during their time at the said agency.

An employee who agrees to the terms must remain employed at the agency for at least three years.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF) promises to eliminate a person's entire student loan debt if they work for the federal, state or local governments, nonprofits and other qualifying public service jobs.

The program forgives a borrower's remaining loan balance after making 120 on-time monthly payments for 10 years. Individuals must have received the loan under a federal direct loan program, as other programs don't qualify for PSLF.

People who thought they were making qualifying payments while receiving their loan from another federal program have until Oct. 31 to receive credits for payments that didn't qualify under PSLF.

PHOTO: New graduates walk into the High Point Solutions Stadium before the start of the Rutgers University graduation ceremony in Piscataway Township, N.J., May 13, 2018.
New graduates walk into the High Point Solutions Stadium before the start of the Rutgers University graduation ceremony in Piscataway Township, N.J., May 13, 2018.
Seth Wenig/AP, FILE

Income-driven repayment plans

Individuals who are paying back their federal loans through any of the four income-driven repayment plans are eligible to have the rest of their loans forgiven after 20 or 25 years of qualifying payments, depending on if the loans were given for undergraduate or graduate level studies.

A report from the Government Accountability Office found that the Education Department hasn't always been able to properly track borrowers' payments, complicating matters for individuals who thought they were making progress in not only their payments but toward debt forgiveness.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program

Through the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, full-time educators who teach for five consecutive years in a low-income school or at an education service agency could have up to $17,500 of their federal loans canceled.

Teachers may also qualify for the entirety of their debt to be eliminated through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.


Active military service members are eligible for loan forgiveness for up to $65,000 if they commit to at least three years of service. Service members also qualify for PSLF.