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Parent PLUS Loan Forgiveness: A Guide for Borrowers


As a parent, financing your child’s education is a significant responsibility. Many parents turn to Parent PLUS loans to help cover the costs of college. However, managing these loans can be challenging, and the burden of repayment can weigh heavily on families. In this article, we will delve into the topic of Parent PLUS loan forgiveness, exploring the eligibility criteria, available forgiveness programs, and essential considerations for borrowers. Whether you’re a current borrower or considering applying for a Parent PLUS loan, this guide will provide valuable insights to help you navigate the loan forgiveness landscape.

Understanding Parent PLUS Loans

Unlike other federal student loans, Parent PLUS loans are taken on by the parents themselves rather than the student.

Parent PLUS loans offer certain benefits such as fixed interest rates, flexible repayment plans, and the option to defer payments while the student is in school. However, the loans are not without their challenges. The repayment terms can be lengthy, and the interest accrues throughout the life of the loan, potentially resulting in a substantial debt burden for parents.

Eligibility for Parent PLUS Loan Forgiveness

Parent PLUS loans do not offer specific forgiveness programs exclusively for parents. However, some forgiveness options are available through broader federal forgiveness programs. To be eligible for these programs, the parent borrower must meet specific criteria.

Generally, to qualify for loan forgiveness, the borrower must have made a certain number of qualifying payments while meeting other program requirements. The forgiveness programs typically require the borrower to be employed in a qualified profession or work for an eligible employer.

Types of Parent PLUS Loan Forgiveness Programs

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program offers loan forgiveness to borrowers who work full-time for a qualified employer in a public service role. To qualify, borrowers must make 120 qualifying payments while working in an eligible job. After meeting these criteria, the remaining loan balance may be forgiven.

Income-Driven Repayment Plans

Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans, such as Income-Based Repayment (IBR), Pay As You Earn (PAYE), and Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE), offer loan forgiveness after a specific period of repayment. Depending on the plan, borrowers may be eligible for forgiveness after 20 or 25 years of on-time payments.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness

Teachers who have worked full-time in low-income schools or educational service agencies for five consecutive years may be eligible for Teacher Loan Forgiveness. Under this program, eligible borrowers can receive forgiveness of up to $17,500 on their Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans.

Loan Discharge Due to Death or Disability

In unfortunate circumstances where the borrower passes away or becomes permanently disabled, the Parent PLUS loan may be discharged. This discharge relieves the parent borrower or their estate from the obligation of repaying the loan.

Applying for Parent PLUS Loan Forgiveness

To apply for Parent PLUS loan forgiveness, borrowers must follow specific steps outlined by the forgiveness program they are pursuing. Generally, the process involves completing an application, providing necessary documentation, and meeting all eligibility criteria.

It is crucial to stay informed about the requirements and deadlines of the forgiveness program. Missing important deadlines or failing to meet specific criteria could result in a denial of forgiveness.

Document Submission and Verification

When applying for Parent loan forgiveness, borrowers must submit various documents to support their eligibility. These documents may include employment certification forms, income verification, tax returns, and other relevant paperwork. It is essential to ensure all documentation is accurate, complete, and submitted within the specified time frames.

Tax Implications of Loan Forgiveness

It’s important for borrowers to understand the potential tax implications associated with loan forgiveness. In general, forgiven loan amounts may be considered taxable income by the IRS. This means that borrowers may need to report the forgiven amount as income on their federal tax returns. However, certain forgiveness programs, like PSLF, offer tax-free forgiveness.

Consulting a tax professional or seeking guidance from the forgiveness program administrators can provide clarity on the tax implications of loan forgiveness based on individual circumstances.

Repayment Strategies for Parent PLUS Borrowers

While forgiveness programs offer valuable options for some borrowers, not everyone may qualify or find them suitable for their situation. For those who anticipate repaying their Parent PLUS loans, it’s essential to have a solid repayment strategy in place.

Consider exploring income-driven repayment plans, loan consolidation, refinancing options, or accelerated repayment strategies to reduce the overall interest paid and pay off the loan sooner. Read more…


Parent PLUS loans can be a financial lifeline for parents supporting their children’s education. While loan forgiveness options for Parent PLUS loans may not be as extensive as those for other federal loans, borrowers still have opportunities to reduce their repayment burden. Understanding the available forgiveness programs, meeting eligibility criteria, and planning for repayment are vital steps to ensure a smoother financial journey for parents.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can Parent PLUS loans be transferred to the student?

The parent borrower is solely responsible for repaying the loan.

Q: Can I consolidate my Parent PLUS loans for forgiveness?

Yes, parent borrowers can consolidate their Parent PLUS loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan. However, consolidation alone does not provide loan forgiveness. Forgiveness eligibility is determined by the specific forgiveness programs and their requirements.

Q: Are Parent PLUS loans eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)?

Yes, Parent PLUS loans are eligible for forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. Parent borrowers working for qualifying employers can pursue forgiveness after meeting program requirements.

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