Personal finance

Missed the last student loan forgiveness deadline? There may still be other options for relief

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There’s good news for at least some of the student loan borrowers who missed the April 30 deadline to qualify for quicker debt forgiveness: They may still be eligible for other relief options.

Borrowers with multiple student loans who requested a so-called loan consolidation by the end of April 30 — a move that combined their federal student loans into one new federal loan — are able to get their debt sooner than they would have otherwise.

For some, that cancellation will be immediate.

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The temporary policy allowed borrowers who consolidated to get a one-time adjustment on their payment count. They earned credit toward all their loans based on the one they had been making payments on the longest. To qualify, borrowers just had to be enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan, which, after 10, 20 or 25 years, depending on the plan, leads to debt cancellation.

It was an especially good opportunity for those who had been paying off their student loans for many years and had returned to school and graduated in more recent years, because now all those loans could be soon forgiven.

If you missed that deadline, you may still be eligible for relief.

Here’s what to know.

You could still try to consolidate

There’s no guarantee, but you may still qualify for the Biden administration’s loan consolidation account adjustment, if you can manage to apply for a consolidation and complete the process quickly, explained higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz.

“Borrowers who missed the April 30 deadline may be out of luck,” Kantrowitz said. “However, maybe not.”

Here’s his reasoning: Borrowers had to apply for a consolidation by that deadline. But the process, which can take up to 60 days, didn’t need to be complete by then.

As a result, it’s possible the U.S. Department of Education will wait until the beginning of July to figure out borrowers’ new forgiveness timelines.

“So, if the borrower applies for a consolidation now, and the consolidation is completed quickly, and the borrower is really lucky, maybe the payment account adjustment will still apply,” Kantrowitz said.

“There is no guarantee that this will happen,” he said. “But, maybe it will.”

The Department of Education did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But consolidation isn’t a smart move for all borrowers.

Usually, doing so restarts a borrowers’ forgiveness timeline. So borrowers who have made it close to the end of their student loan forgiveness timeline may not want to risk consolidating their loans, Kantrowitz cautioned.

Other risks that come with consolidating your loans include the capitalization of interest and a new, longer repayment term, he added.

Other student loan forgiveness options to know about

You may still be eligible for other relief options.

If you’re not already enrolled in a program that leads to student loan forgiveness, you can find “great information” on the Department of Education’s website,, about the different opportunities, said Betsy Mayotte, president of The Institute of Student Loan Advisors, a nonprofit.

Two of the most popular debt cancellation avenues are the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which leads to a debt jubilee after a decade of payments for qualifying workers, and the income-driven repayment plans.

Those plans, which cap a borrowers’ monthly bill at a share of their discretionary income, lead to debt erasure after 10 to 25 years of payments. There are currently four different plans, each with different rules.

But there are also “over 100 other forgiveness programs out there to explore,” said Mayotte in an earlier interview with CNBC.

“Many are offered by states looking to encourage certain types of employment, such as health care and public defenders,” she said.

Mayotte’s website,, has a database of these programs, she said.

Meanwhile, after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked President Joe Biden’s sweeping student loan forgiveness plan last June, his administration began working on a revised, more targeted relief plan. People could see that aid later this year, if the program survives legal challenges this time.

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