Federal law allows specific categories of borrowers to get a discharge (cancellation) on their student loans. You must fit within one of the categories listed below:
- You did not have a high school diploma or GED at the time of enrollment. The student loan must be from 1986 or later.
- The school closed while you were enrolled or within 90 days of when you withdrew from the school. The student loan must be from 1986 or later.
- You did not complete the program, and the school did not properly return part of the loan to the lender. The student loan must be from 1986 or later.
- You had a status or condition at the time of enrollment that was a legal barrier to employment in the field. The student loan must be from 1986 or later.
- You were in a security guard program, but had a felony criminal record.
- You were in a nursing assistant or custodial maintenance program, but you had a physical or mental disability that prevented you from working in those fields.
- You did not have a high school diploma AND a high school diploma is necessary to take a license or certification exam that is required for the job.
- The borrower is now deceased or totally and permanently disabled.
- The borrower's signature on the loan application was forged.
If you fit into one of these categories, you can begin the process of discharging your loan at the U.S. Department of Education website.
If you do not fall into one of these categories, you are not eligible for a discharge on your student loan. You must contact your lender to determine what options you have for payment. In circumstances of extreme financial hardship, a student loan may be discharged through bankruptcy.