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Nitro Knowledge. Your Guide to Paying for College.


If you funded your education with Perkins Loans, you may have heard about a number of forgiveness programs and have been disappointed to learn that your student loans don't qualify. While you're probably always interested in ways to lower your student loan payments, having them canceled completely would be reason for serious celebration.

While not all forgiveness programs apply to all loans, the good news is that there are loan cancellation and discharge programs specifically for Perkins loan holders. 

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Have you ever seen an advertisement or received a call from a company that asked you to enroll, subscribe, or pay an upfront fee to help you manage the burden of your student loan debt?

If so, you've probably wondered if those offers were legit — or if you were being targeted for a scam. 

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If you're banking on student loan forgiveness, we have some seriously bad news: Your chances of getting your loans forgiven through Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) are slim.

According to recent audit by Government Accountability Office (GAO), the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has denied 99% of the PSLF applications that came in over the past year. Why all the denials? A mix of reasons, including:

  • Borrowers who are not actually eligible for PSLF
  • Borrowers who have not yet made 120 qualifying payments
  • Borrowers who were on the wrong repayment plan, and
  • Errors on applications.
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If serving the public is your calling, there’s a good chance you already know that you're probably not going to be raking in the cash. (Trust me, I should know. I spent 17 years as a public school counselor and the benefits came from serving kids, not from a big paycheck.)

While you can make a decent living working in public service jobs, oftentimes, your income may be barely enough to cover all of your monthly expenses. This is especially true if you have an overwhelming amount of student loan debt.

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Think you might qualify to get your federal student loans forgiven under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program? Here’s a step-by-step on how to qualify—and how to get your loans forgiven.

See also: Is Public Service Loan Forgiveness All it's Cracked Up to Be? 4 Things to Know

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If you’re struggling with education debt, student loan forgiveness and discharge programs may sound like a dream come true. 

But depending on which forgiveness or discharge program you qualify for, you could get hit with a hefty tax bill after your balance is wiped out. Below, find out how seven different forgiveness and discharge programs work and which treat your forgiven balance as taxable income.

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