Loan Forgiveness for Volunteer Work

The following volunteer organizations offer one or more types of federal student loan forgiveness:

  • AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps volunteers may receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award for each year of volunteer service. For more information, call 1-800-942-2677 or 1-202-606-5000.
  • Peace Corps. Peace Corps volunteers may receive a Segal national education award for each year of volunteer service or partial cancellation of their Federal Perkins Loans (but not both), in addition to other financial benefits. For more information, call 1-800-424-8580 or 1-202-692-1845.
  • Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA). Borrowers who have served as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer since October 7, 1998 may be eligible for partial cancellation of their Perkins Loans. (This benefit is not available to borrowers who have volunteered with other AmeriCorps programs.) For more information, call 1-800-942-2677 or 1-202-606-5000.

Types of Forgiveness

Borrowers may receive either a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award or partial forgiveness of the Perkins Loan, but not both.

Perkins Loan borrowers may be eligible for cancellation of up to 70 percent of the original principal loan balance and accrued interest on their loans for volunteer service with the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps VISTA. A total of up 70 percent of the original principal loan balance and accrued interest may be forgiven for four years of volunteer service. Fifteen percent will be forgiven for each of the first two years of service and 20 percent for each of the third and fourth years of service. Eligible loans include Perkins Loans made on or after July 1, 1987 and National Defense Student Loans made before July 1, 1987. The volunteer service must have occurred on or after October 7, 1998.

The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award may be used to pay for college or to repay federal or state student loans. Parent PLUS Loans and private student loans are not eligible. The amount of the award for a year of service is the same as the maximum Federal Pell Grant, $5,645 in FY2014. Volunteers may earn up to two education awards. Recipients have up to 7 years to use the award. The education award is treated as taxable income to the beneficiary in the year the payment is received. Volunteers who were age 55 or older at the time they began their volunteer service may transfer all or part of their education award to a child or step-child, grandchild or step-grandchild, or foster child.

A year of service requires 12 consecutive months of service, representing a total of 1,700 annual hours of volunteer service.

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