Updated: Jul 28
Many students wonder whether their student loans will be forgiven once they reach retirement age. While there are some programs that can offer loan forgiveness, age alone is not a factor in student loan forgiveness.
Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
The Department of Education offers several loan forgiveness programs, but none of them are based solely on age. However, there are a few programs that offer loan forgiveness for borrowers who meet certain criteria, regardless of their age:
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF): This program forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments while working full-time for a qualifying employer.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness: This program is designed for teachers who work in low-income schools or educational service agencies. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can receive up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness.
Total and Permanent Disability Discharge: If you become totally and permanently disabled, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness.
Senior citizens who are still making payments on their student loans may benefit from income-driven repayment plans, which can lower monthly payments based on income and family size.
Statistics on Student Loan Debt Among Senior Citizens
According to a report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the number of older borrowers with student loan debt has quadrupled over the last decade. As of 2021, borrowers aged 50 and older owe over $300 billion in student loans. Additionally, over 75% of student loan debt held by seniors is for loans that were used to finance their own education, rather than loans taken out for their children or grandchildren.
While age alone is not a factor in student loan forgiveness, there are still options available for senior citizens who are struggling with student loan debt. Federal loan forgiveness programs like PSLF and Teacher Loan Forgiveness can provide relief for borrowers who meet the eligibility requirements, and income-driven repayment plans can help seniors lower their monthly payments. If you are a senior citizen with student loan debt, it's important to explore all of your options and determine the best course of action for your individual situation.