Canceling Student Loans: Teaching, Volunteer Work, and Public Service

If you do public service work, teach, or volunteer after graduation, you might be able to cancel part or all of your student loans.

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In some circumstances you can cancel (discharge) your obligation to repay your student loan. There are several ways you can do this. This article discusses cancellation of all or part of your loan because of work you do after graduation. 

To learn about other ways to cancel student loans, see Canceling Student Loans: School Closure, False Certification, Unpaid Refund and Canceling Student Loans: Disability and Death. 

To learn about other options for dealing with student loans, see Student Loans: Cancellation, Deferment, and Forbearance and Canceling Student Loans: Permanent Disability and Death.  

Discharging Student Loans If You Engage in Certain Types of Work

Different federal loans have different cancellation programs that apply if you are engaged in a particular type of work, such as volunteering for the Peace Corps, teaching needy populations, serving in the military, or providing other public service. Some programs allow you to postpone payments on your loans only while you are engaged in the service; others allow you to cancel all or a portion of the loan. 

Getting Information on Student Loan Cancelation Programs 

To find information about these various programs, go to http://financialaid.ed.gov, scroll down to “Repaying Your Loans,” click on “Repayment Information,” and scroll down to find links to the various cancellation programs. Also check with your college counseling department—some colleges have their own loan cancellation programs for students employed in public service. 

To learn more about dealing with student loans, what happens when you default on student loans, and how to get financial aid, see our Student Loan Debt area.

This is an excerpt from Nolo's Solve Your Money Troubles: Debt, Credit & Bankruptcy, by Margaret Reiter and Robin Leonard.

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