How to Get Student Loan Forgiveness for Military Spouses

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Abigail Eun
Abigail Eun
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Abigail Eun is a freelance writer and personal finance expert. Through diligent research and continuous learning, she has honed her knowledge in budgeting, saving, investing, and debt management. Abigail is passionate about helping people get their finances in order. She believes that everyone should have access to the information they need to make sound financial decisions. Her goal is to provide clear and concise information that is easy to understand.

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Emma Östlund
Emma Östlund
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Emma Östlund works as a business operations analyst at Sparrow. Emma studied Psychology, Computer Science, and Markets & Management at Duke University. With a well-rounded background in business and analytics, Emma strives to deliver data-driven conclusions and insights.

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Camden Ford
Camden Ford
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Camden leads Sparrow’s business operations – everything from product management to business analytics. After graduating Cum Laude from Duke University where he studied Civil Engineering, Camden worked as a Consultant for A.T. Kearney where he worked in their Strategic Operations practice. With a strong background in analytics, Camden strives to deliver data-driven conclusions and insights.

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Updated
December 26, 2023

Being a military spouse requires a level of sacrifice some may never understand, and oftentimes placing your career on hold is one of them. While sometimes necessary to keep up with a life of frequent moves, it can create additional challenges when it comes to paying off student loans. That’s why it’s important to know your military spouse student loan forgiveness options.

Can Military Spouses Get Student Loans Forgiven?

Currently, there are no student loan forgiveness programs designed specifically for military spouses. However, military spouses can still receive loan forgiveness through conventional federal forgiveness programs.

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Other Ways to Find Student Loan Relief

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is a student loan forgiveness program for individuals who work in the public sector, such as:

  • Teaches
  • Doctors
  • Military Servicemen
  • Non-profit Employees
  • Government Workers

To determine whether your occupation qualifies as public service, consider using the PSLF help tool. If you think you qualify, fill out the Public Service Loan Forgiveness & Temporary Expanded PSLF Certification and Application.

Teacher and Nurse Loan Forgiveness

If you’re a teacher or nurse, you have additional options. The following are programs to consider:

Student Loan Forgiveness Program

Who’s Eligible?

Details

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

For both teachers and nurses.

Must have worked in public service and made 10 years’ worth of on-time loan payments on Direct loans.

For both teachers and nurses.

Must be a full-time nurse or a teacher who works in a designated school.
Must have borrowed a Perkins Loan before 2017.

For teachers only.

For full-time teachers who have taught for 5 consecutive years at a low-income school or educational agency. If you taught secondary-level mathematics or science, or were a special education teacher, you can be eligible for up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness. All other subjects can receive up to $5,000 in loan forgiveness.

For nurses only.

For registered nurses, nurse faculty, or advanced practice registered nurses who have attended a qualifying nursing school and work in a critical shortage facility or accredited nursing school.
Recipients can receive up to 85% of their nursing loans forgiven.

For nurses only.

For nurses who work in Medicare, Medicaid, or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Full-time nurses can receive up to $50,000 in loan forgiveness, while half-time nurses can receive up to $25,000.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

The Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act allows military spouses to lower the interest rate on their loans to 6%, if the loan was borrowed before the service member entered active duty. While this program is not loan forgiveness, it can help lower your monthly payments. Qualifying service members include those in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Corps, reservists on active duty, and more.

Student Loan Refinancing

Student loan refinancing allows you to swap your current loan for one with a better interest rate or terms. In some cases, this can help lower your monthly payments, making keeping up with them a bit easier.

If you have federal loans that do not qualify for loan forgiveness, you can sometimes consolidate them to a qualifying loan type. For example, if you have Federal Family Education loans (FFEL), which do not qualify for federal loan forgiveness, you can consolidate them into a Direct loan.

Here is a list of some of the best refinance rates for student loans: Rather than searching for lenders one-by-one, we recommend starting the process with an automated student loan refinance search tool. After you complete the free Sparrow form, we’ll show you the rates and terms you’d pre-qualify for with 17+ premier lenders.

Income-Driven Repayment Forgiveness

Income-driven repayment is a federal loan repayment plan that bases your monthly payment based on your income. After making 20-25 years’ worth of qualifying payments, your remaining student loan balance can be forgiven

State-Sponsored Assistance Programs

Some states offer loan assistance programs for their residents. For example, Iowa offers the Teach Iowa Scholars program, which provides qualifying first-year Iowa teachers with $4,000 per year for teaching in designated shortage areas. New York offers qualifying social workers up to $26,000 in loan assistance through the NYS Licensed Social Worker Loan Forgiveness program.

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Closing Thoughts From the Nest

As a military spouse looking for loan forgiveness options, be sure to exhaust all options available to you. While there are no specific loan forgiveness options for military spouses, there are plenty of programs you can still take advantage of.

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