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According to figures released by the Department of Education in August 2015, nearly 3.9 million Americans were enrolled in an income-based or income-contingent repayment plan, a 56% increase since June 2014, to deal with a collective total of more than 8 billion in outstanding debt.
The plans have a two-pronged appeal: the possibility of lower monthly payments now, plus the chance for balances to be forgiven later.
Potentially-eligible positions include those in nursing, government, police, fire and social work.
Only payments made after October 1, 2007, qualify towards earning eligibility, so borrowers won't reach the 120-payment milestone to qualify for forgiveness until 2017.
If you have a federal loan, you may also be able to get all or part of your loan forgiven through certain types of volunteer work, military service or medical practice.As with anything related to the federal government, the terms related to student loan forgiveness are subject to change.Regardless of any changes that may be on the horizon, Mark Kantrowitz, senior vice president and publisher of and author of "Filing the FAFSA," warns borrowers against betting their financial future on the hope of debt forgiveness, especially the kind that's tied to public service.Only direct loans made by the federal government are eligible for student loan forgiveness.
Non-federal loans (those handled by private lenders and loan companies) aren’t part of this program.Income-driven repayment plans, designed to help graduates who are having trouble making payments on the standard 10-year repayment plan, also include forgiveness for borrowers not in the public sector after a certain period of time.