We researched student loan advice from top financial experts, like Rich Barger, author of The Best Student Loan Investment: What You Really Need to Know to Save Money, Save Time, and Make the Most of Your College Experience, and Paul Budnitz, CEO of the American University Group, to find the best student loan repayment plans available. For a full list of the most popular student loan repayment options, see our Best Student Loan Repayment Plans for Students page, you will find the best refinance student loans options there!

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How Student Loans Work

Student loans are typically issued by a lender. The lender is responsible for the loan, which means that it is the student borrower’s responsibility to repay the loan. Repayment is usually based on a schedule of payments, which typically runs from the time that the student leaves school through the time of graduation or a later date if the borrower can’t afford to repay the loan. The student must make all the payments on time, and the lender typically agrees to keep a percentage of the amount the student makes to help pay back the loan. The loan holder will typically set the terms of the loan (such as interest rates and terms of payment), and the student is responsible for meeting any of these terms and conditions. You can find a complete list of terms and conditions for federal student loans on the U.S. Department of Education’s website.

Your options when you owe money on a student loan vary depending on the types of loans you have and your circumstances.

If you can’t afford your student loan payments, you may qualify for some type of loan forgiveness. Contact your student loan servicer to find out more about loan forgiveness and how it might apply to your situation.

Who Can Get Borrower Education Relief?

All federal student loans are eligible for federal student loan forgiveness programs, meaning the borrowers who can qualify for this type of assistance aren’t solely for borrowers with loans from the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program. Certain borrowers who have federal loans that aren’t owned or guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Education, including those who qualify for the Income-Driven Repayment Program, qualify for loan forgiveness in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). These borrowers are also eligible for loan forgiveness in the Direct Loan Program and some other programs as well. The Department of Education’s list of loan forgiveness programs is available at https://studentaid.ed.gov/topics/repayment/repayment-by-state/.

Who is eligible for federal student loan forgiveness?

The Federal Direct Consolidation Loan Program is made available to borrowers who consolidate their student loans, for example, when consolidating to attend the same college. The Consolidation Loan Program is offered through the student loan servicing subsidiary of the Department of Education, and each eligible borrower must be eligible