Loan discharge - or forgiveness - is the release of a borrower from all or part of federal student loan repayment obligations. There are a number of reasons for which a loan may be discharged, and to be granted forgiveness of your loan, you must complete and submit the appropriate form or other required documentation.

  • Death - when a borrower (or, in the case of a parent PLUS loan, the death of the student for whom the parent borrowed) dies, federal student loans may be forgiven. The original or certified copy of a death certificate must be submitted to the loan holder.
  • False certification - if the school falsely certified your eligibility for a loan, you may qualify for one of three types of discharge:
    1. Disqualifying status
    2. Ability to benefit
    3. Unauthorized signature or payment
  • School Closure Loan Discharge Application for borrowers unable to complete their program of study because the school closed.
  • Spouses and parents of September 11, 2001 victims
  • Teacher Loan Forgiveness Application for teachers serving in designated areas
  • Total and permanent disability (TPD)
  • Unpaid refunds

If you think you are eligible for loan discharge or forgiveness:

  • Contact your loan holder. If you are not sure of your loan holder, visit the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). You will need the PIN you established when you completed your FAFSA in order to access your loan records.
  • Do not stop making payments until you receive written notification that your loan has been officially discharged.

If you are unable to obtain a discharge application from your loan holder, you may download the appropriate form from National Council of Higher Education Loan Programs (NCHELP).