For parents who are sending their children to college, parent PLUS loans are a popular alternative. In the near term, these federal loans, which are available to parents of undergraduate students, may help make education more affordable.
Parent PLUS loans feature more excellent interest rates and costs than federal loans taken out by students on their own and fewer repayment alternatives. However, they qualify for many of the same forgiveness programs as other forms of federal loans.
Parent PLUS loans, for example, may be forgiven if you pick a specific federal repayment plan, work in particular occupations, or are chronically incapacitated. As a parent PLUS loan borrower, you may be eligible for forgiveness in the following ways.
What Is Parent PLUS Loan Forgiveness and How Does It Work?
Like other kinds of student loan forgiveness, Parent PLUS loan forgiveness reduces your repayment requirements. If you fulfill specific criteria, you may be able to cease paying your debt and have the remaining sum forgiven.
Parents who take out PLUS loans must meet the criteria for debt forgiveness based on their circumstances, not the circumstances of the kid for whom the loans were taken out. For example, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program forgives loans for borrowers who work in government or nonprofit organizations after a certain period. The parent, not the student, must work in a suitable position to have parent PLUS debts erased under this program.
Parent PLUS loan forgiveness often requires actively validating your eligibility and completing an application. However, the government may contact you in some instances to inform you that you are qualified for a forgiveness program.
Parent PLUS Loan Forgiveness: 3 Options
Parent PLUS loan forgiveness is available in various ways, including as a consequence of the repayment plan you pick or your professional path.
1. Repayment based on income
Borrowers may pick from four income-driven repayments (IDR) plans, each of which caps monthly federal student loan payments at a percentage of income and leads to forgiveness after 20 or 25 years. On the other hand, parents only have one IDR option: income-based repayment (ICR).
Under this program, parent PLUS loans are reimbursed after 25 years of payments. Borrowers must consolidate their student debt and convert their PLUS loans into direct federal loans to qualify. StudentAid.gov has an application to combine parent PLUS loans that you may fill out online. After completing your consolidation, you may sign up for ICR for free online.
According to GADCapital.com / Online, if you sign up for ICR now, you may have to pay income tax on the amount that is subsequently forgiven. However, these forgiveness rules may alter before the conclusion of your payback period.
2. Loan forgiveness for public servants
Borrowers who work full-time for an approved organization or the government are eligible for tax-free loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. Before applying for forgiveness, borrowers must make 120 eligible payments. You’ll make payments to PSLF using an income-driven repayment plan, which keeps monthly costs low while allowing maximum forgiveness.
A few more things to complete as a parent PLUS borrower whose work qualifies you for PSLF. If you already work for a qualified job when your kid graduates from high school and begins repayment, you might be forgiven in as little as ten years, which is one of the shortest forgiveness periods possible.
3. Parent PLUS Loan Discharge Options
Although the phrases “forgiveness” and “discharge” have the same basic meaning, they refer to distinct loan termination situations.
The government refers to forgiveness when your debts are forgiven because you work in particular employment, but the scenarios listed below are discharge circumstances. You are no longer needed to make loan installments in any circumstance, and your loan payback is deemed complete. The following are the circumstances in which parent PLUS loans are dischargeable.
- Death resulted in discharge. The debt is forgiven if the parent PLUS borrower or the kid for whom the loan was taken dies. Documentation proving the death must be supplied to the student loan servicer to secure the release.
- Discharge from a total and permanent disability (TPD). Their debts may be canceled if the parent borrower becomes fully and permanently handicapped. The government notifies qualifying Social Security beneficiaries with college debts that TPD is available, but others may apply ahead of time on the federal website DisabilityDischarge.com.
- Dismissal from the closed school. If a parent’s kid’s school shuts before the child could finish their degree program, the parent may be entitled to release. To find out whether you qualify, contact your student loan servicer.
Student Loan Forgiveness Alternatives
If the alternatives above aren’t acceptable for your circumstances, you may reduce the amount you pay toward parent PLUS loans or, if required, stop making payments entirely.
Deferment and forbearance are two terms that are used interchangeably.
Parent borrowers may use federal deferral and forbearance programs to postpone student loan payments, but interest will accumulate. The government’s Covid-19 forbearance, which is slated to expire on January 31, 2022, is one exception. Parent PLUS borrowers are not required to make payments during this time, and no interest is collected.
When the Covid-19 forbearance period expires, parent PLUS borrowers may apply for general forbearance, covering a wide variety of conditions, or deferral to put their payments on hold. The two schemes work similarly for PLUS borrowers, but they apply to different scenarios. For example, you may put loans on hold for up to three years if you are unemployed. Forbearance may be utilized for an extended time, such as forced forbearance.
The essential thing to remember about deferral and forbearance is that although they are not challenging to get, interest accrues quickly, making repayment considerably more difficult in the long term. Just use them if you only need aid for a short period and don’t anticipate your debts to be unmanageable for a long time.
Student Loan Repayment Assistance Programs
If you can’t locate any government solutions to aid you with your parent PLUS loans, look for other choices. Student debt repayment options are available via a variety of state entities. You will almost always be required to work in some professions, such as a nurse, teacher, doctor, or lawyer. Additional criteria, such as working in a rural or high-need region for many years, are also imposed. While this isn’t the same as forgiveness, it is possible to receive free money to help you pay off your student debts quicker.
Student debt repayment is also gaining popularity in the private sector. Employees are increasingly being offered debt payback as a bonus. If you’re looking for a new career, look for companies that provide debt payback as a benefit.
Refinancing Student Loans
Student loan refinancing may help you save money on interest if you’re in a favorable financial position—that is, if you have a decent or exceptional credit score and a steady salary. When you refinance, a private student loan firm pays off your PLUS loans and replaces them with a new personal student loan, hopefully with a lower interest rate. This might result in reduced monthly payments or a lower overall amount paid toward your debts.
Parent borrowers are frequently attractive refinance prospects since they are more likely to have a solid financial basis than student borrowers. This implies they may be eligible for lower interest rates than the PLUS loan rate established by the federal government.
However, refinancing has several disadvantages. You won’t be able to transfer to an ICR plan if you need to cut your payments since the loan is no longer federal, and forbearance is usually restricted to 12 or 24 months altogether over the loan duration. In addition, most refinancing lenders do not provide forgiveness. If having your debts forgiven is a crucial goal, it could be advisable to keep them in place and apply for a government program to help you get rid of them.