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Nitro Knowledge. Your Guide to Paying for College.


If a genie showed up on your doorstep and promised to grant you three wishes, it’s a pretty good bet that one of those wishes would be to make all of your student loans magically disappear.

Unfortunately, we can’t clear your balances with the snap of our fingers. (We would if we could. We promise.) But we can tell you about all the options you have to get those loans forgiven.

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Managing a serious disability is difficult, no matter what your life situation. Throwing in student loan debt on top of an unexpected medical condition can make things feel downright unmanageable. 

Fortunately, some borrowers who are disabled may be able to discharge all of their federal student loans.  If you have federal loans and are considered permanently and totally disabled, you may qualify. 

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Did you faithfully make the 120 qualifying payments toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness—a process that takes about 10 years—only to have your claim for forgiveness denied?

It’s not just you. A lot of borrowers have had this problem. The good news is that Congress just authorized a fix for it in its March spending bill. It’s called “Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness” (TEPSLF), and it sets aside over $350 million in forgiveness funding for people who were initially denied.

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If you have student loans, you've probably seen claims by companies that claim they can reduce your loan payments, pay your loans down quickly, or eliminate your loans altogether.

Unfortunately, some things are too good to be true. But considering that some legitimate companies do exist to help you pay down your debt, how can you tell the difference? 

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If you work for the government or a qualifying nonprofit, you can get your student loans forgiven via the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. If you do everything right, your loans are forgiven after 120 qualifying payments—about 10 years.

But the program is picky—and there are a lot of ways you can mess it up. It’s not unusual for people to believe they’ve been paying toward PSLF for years, only to have their forgiveness denied at the end over a technicality.

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The short answer: nope.

The long answer goes a little more like nope, in most cases. As of January 1, 2018, if you get your student loan debt discharged due to disability, you won’t be taxed on the discharged amount. This is big news, because prior to then, you would get taxed on that amount.

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