Navient Student Loan Forgiveness Programs - Do they exist?

Wondering how to deal with your Navient loans? Need help with getting rid of them? We've got it all covered in this article on Navient Student loan forgiveness programs

Updated by Sharan Kumar on 16th August 2019

As long as you have some student loans, you will always be interested in getting out of the debt faster or reducing your monthly payments one way or another. Student loan debt can trouble your financial growth, and it can cause a significant amount of stress. If you have loans that are being serviced currently by the company Navient, you should know that Navient loans can be forgiven.

If you come across any unfortunate events such as Total and Permanent Disability, loss of life, or other unavoidable situations, your Navient Loan may be eligible for forgiveness. While this is probably true, Navient student loan forgiveness is a bit complex than one may presume it to be.

There is per se no such thing as the "Navient loan forgiveness" since Navient Corporation only acts as a loan servicer for federal and private loans. In its place, your Navient loan may qualify for loan forgiveness with the federal loan forgiveness programs or other forgiveness programs under eligible private loans.

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Forgiveness for federal student loans

Student loan forgiveness comes in a variety of forms, but the most common is the forgiveness of loans which are repaid under the Income-Driven Repayment or IDR for short. With respect to your income you may or may not qualify for IDR, which will probably end with your loan debt being forgiven at the end of a 20-25 year repayment term if there is any amount of the loan left.

In case you are working in certain fields, such as education or social work, you might qualify for loan forgiveness at a much earlier time period of 10 years.

These forgiveness programs are available for the following federal student loans only.

  • Direct PLUS

  • Direct Stafford Subsidized / Unsubsidized

  • Direct Subsidized / Unsubsidized

  • Direct Consolidated Loans

  • FFELP Loans (issued before discontinuation in 2010)

You might be able to negotiate a lower monthly payment on your private student loans or even qualify for a private loan assistance program that can help you pay off some or all of your student loan debt. But, Navient student loan forgiveness for private student loans is limited to a few programs only.

Navient provides a number of federal student loan forgiveness programs. Depending on your career, your income and other factors, you might become eligible for either of the following -

1. Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF)

Borrowers working full-time in public organizations like government agencies or certain non-profit organizations may qualify to get their loans forgiven under the PSLF program. After making 120 qualifying monthly payments, which is 10 years, any remaining balance on your loans will be forgiven, which is not taxable. The borrower will also have to be enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan to qualify for this program.

Eligibility criteria

  • The borrower must be working in a federal, state or local government agency and certain eligible not-for-profit organizations

  • You must be a full-time employee or working for at least 30 hours per week

  • The borrower has to make 120 qualifying payments not more than 15 days after the due date under an income-driven repayment plan

2. Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge

This is a form of loan forgiveness or discharge which is made available for those borrowers who are unable to make their student loan payments due to total and permanent disability. If eligible, you would not need to make any further payments on the loans and the remaining balance will be forgiven. You must provide proof of your disability to the US Department of Education.

The following are the ways which you can provide as proof.

  • If you are a veteran, documents which you can get from the Department of Veterans Affairs that shows you are unemployable due to a service-connected disability, have to be submitted

  • Show that you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits

  • Your physician can prove that you are totally and permanently disabled

With every option, there are certain requirements for the supporting documents that you need to submit along with your TPD discharge application.

3. Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program

You can qualify for a Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program if you teach full-time for five successive and complete academic years in a low-income elementary or secondary school or educational service agency. You can get up to $5000 of your loans forgiven or $17500, in case you are a highly qualified teacher.

Eligibility criteria

  • You should not have any remaining balance on your Direct or FFEL Loans as of Oct 1, 1998, or after Oct 1, 1998, on the date, you got the Direct or FFEL Loan

  • You are a full-time teacher or highly qualified teacher for five successive and complete academic years and at least one of those years should be after the 1997-98 academic year

  • You should be teaching in an elementary, secondary school or educational service agency in which students come from low-income families are studying

  • The loans that you want to seek forgiveness should be made before the end of your five years of qualifying teaching service

Requirements to become a highly qualified teacher

  • You should have at least a Bachelor’s degree

  • You received full state certification as a teacher

  • Your certification or licensure requirements have not been disregarded on an emergency, temporary, or provisional basis.

4. Other student loan discharge programs

Navient also provides other discharges for borrowers who are facing certain situations.

School closure discharge - You can be eligible for this discharge if your school shuts down before you finish your education.

False certification discharge - You can be eligible for this discharge if your school falsely certified your eligibility for a student loan or your identity has been stolen and used by someone else to get a loan.

Unpaid refund discharge - You can be eligible for this discharge if you are supposed to receive a refund of your Federal student loan because you stopped attending school, withdrew from the school or was terminated by the school, and the school failed to return the loan funds to the lender.

5. Income-Driven Repayment Plan (IDR)

There are four plans under the Income-Driven Repayment Plan - REPAYE, PAYE, Income-Based Repayment Plan, and Income-Contingent Repayment Plan.

This plan is designed to allow you to repay your loans at a much lower monthly payment for a longer-term usually anywhere between 20-25 years. At the end of this term, if you have made all of the payments on time and in full without any deferment or defaulting on the loan, you can have the rest of your loan balance forgiven. This is usually for those that are seeking payment relief.

How to apply for Navient student loan forgiveness?

When you open the loan forgiveness program page on the Navient website, there are different loan forgiveness plans and in each, there is an option for you to select in order to apply for them.

To apply for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, you have to select the option which is given below the information on PSLF on the Navient website. It will redirect you to the Federal Government’s website where you have to log in to use the PSLF Help tool. This tool will help you go through the application process through which a form will be generated to be signed by you and your employer.

This form will be reviewed which will tell them if you qualify for this program or not. Along with the form, you should also provide the documents as proof like your recent W-2 form, detailed information about your employment, and more. 

2. To apply for the Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge, you must submit a TPD application with the documents demonstrating your disability. You can apply for this on the official website of Federal Student Aid or download the form.

3. To apply for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, you have to log in directly to your Navient account and apply online directly with them.

4. If you want to go for the income-driven repayment (IDR) plan to get the benefit of loan forgiveness after the loan term, you can enroll for it by logging in your account in the Federal Government’s website.

You need to get an IDR application which you have to complete and submit. It takes about 10 minutes to complete the whole application process, which you can do online.

Although Private Navient Loans are not always eligible for loan forgiveness, there are a few private student loan forgiveness options. It also includes private loan assistance programs, such as the ones that are offered to the health care providers by the National Health Service Corps, and more. 

Loan forgiveness programs from private lenders differ widely in terms. It is advisable to be well informed and check with your lender for any forgiveness programs before you sign for your loan.

Many of the loan servicers, which also include Navient would rather look to find a repayment plan for you than to see you default on your loans if you are not able to make payments.

How to find out if your loans are Private or Federal?

If your Navient loans are federal, they will qualify for most of the benefits that are offered by the U.S. Department of Education, while private loans won’t qualify for much.

You can go through the following steps for confirmation.

1 - National Student Loan Data System - Firstly, to check whether or not your Navient loans are federal or private you need to login to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) and clicking 'Financial Review'.

You will need to enter your FSA ID or create a new one. Once you are logged into the system you will be able to see a list of all of your federal student loans, including consolidation loans. Any private student loans you may have taken out will not appear on this list.

2 - Contact your loan servicer - Another way to understand whether your student loans are private or federal is by getting in contact with Navient directly. You will be able to access all your loan info directly by logging into your account at their website

To set up an account, you will need your social security number or the account number that is associated with your loan. You will also be able to contact them via mail or phone with the info that is given on the website.

What does the Navient Lawsuit mean for you?

A bit of legal controversy on a major scale and an investigation involving Navient was started in the month of August of 2015 when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) had gathered significant evidence that indicated the company was violating the consumer protection laws.

Finally, as of May of 2018, Navient Corporation faced 4 lawsuits, each of which alleged that Navient had done harm to the student loan borrowers throughout the repayment process. These lawsuits might take many years to come to an end, but most Navient student loan borrowers are rightly worried about how these pending legal actions might end up affecting them.

While the CFPB is asking or more appropriately demanding compensation in the favor of the Navient Borrowers who were allegedly harmed, it is not exactly known when the borrowers will receive any such compensation. The Navient lawsuits have yet to have any concrete rulings to conclude this, although the rumors of Navient student loan forgiveness, discharge or disqualification related to the lawsuits are unproven.

How to protect yourself?

If Navient is your loan servicer regardless of whether your loans are private or federal, and you are worried about your status as the borrower of the loan, the following are the steps that you can take to protect yourself.

1. Change your loan servicer - If you want to change your loan servicer, it is always possible and sometimes might even be the best of all the available options. The way to go about this is by refinancing your loans in case of private loans or consolidating them in case of federal loans. However, for federal loans, it is not always possible that your servicer will change. 

With the methods mentioned above, you are able to combine your loans together and get a better loan through a different provider with a lower interest rate, meaning-making a lesser amount of the monthly payments at the cost of having a longer payment term.

But, if you do choose this option make sure to take note of the potential pros and cons of this process involving the refinancing/consolidation of your loans, and make the decision on whether or not it might be the right choice for you. Doing so for the sake of changing your loan servicer might not be the wisest of choices one can make.

2. Voicing your concerns - You can talk about your queries regarding Navient serviced student loans for the purpose of closely monitoring your credit report and your student loan repayment process for any sort of errors. In case you notice something not being right or something that is out of place, you should bring it to their notice as soon as possible, and ask questions in the instance that you are unsure of what you are looking at.

You should file a student loan complaint by submitting a complaint directly to Navient, and if they don’t respond to you, submit your complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) or the US Department of Education.