Student Loan Forgiveness for Trade Schools

Student loans can help fund higher education and provide access to specialized training and skills development. Trade school-specific loan forgiveness programs can provide debt relief.

These programs aim to alleviate student debt for vocational and technical education students, despite the recent decision by the Supreme Court.

This discussion examines the significance of trade school forgiveness programs and the criteria that potential applicants need to meet to have their loans potentially forgiven.

This section covers the different forgiveness programs for student loans and their importance.

What is Student Loan Forgiveness?

Student loan forgiveness is a government program that allows individuals to cancel or discharge any debt they’ve incurred for their educational services.

Some programs require trade school graduates to work in specific public service roles, including teaching in secondary schools, as part of their eligibility criteria.

However, note that for most loan relief and forgiveness programs, the remainder of your debt must be repaid when student loan payments resume.

The Importance of Student Loan Forgiveness for Trade School Students

Student forgiveness is important for trade school students for the following reasons.

  • Debt Relief and Financial Security: While shorter than a traditional college or academic degree, trade school programs can still result in significant student loan debt. Forgiveness programs help alleviate the financial strain of the debtor.
  • Boosting Economic Growth: Graduates with more discretionary income can better contribute to the economy.

GOOD TO KNOW: “Borrower defense” is a provision that allows eligible borrowers to seek forgiveness if they believe their trade school misled them or if the school engaged in misconduct. Borrower defense also applies if your school closed before the completion of your degree. This provision can be applied by the federal Education Department.

The Role of Trade Schools in Student Loan Forgiveness

Here are some ways that student loan forgiveness connects to technical schools.

  • Eligibility for Forgiveness Programs: Programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Teacher Loan Forgiveness, and IDR don’t differentiate between educational institutions, allowing trade school graduates to qualify based on profession or circumstances.
  • Income-Driven Repayment (IDR): IDR plans provide monthly payment flexibility based on income, making them ideal for trade school graduates with variable incomes. This allows for forgiveness of the remaining loan balance after set repayments. You can check out the newest IDR plan, the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan. Saving on Valuable Education (SAVE) can decrease monthly payments for low- and middle-income borrowers.

NOTE: Not all types of loans qualify for certain programs designed for trade school graduates, so it’s important to understand the eligibility criteria for each program and ensure your loans meet the requirements. If you don’t meet the criteria for loan forgiveness, any remaining balance must be repaid when payments resume.

Eligibility Criteria

Understanding the eligibility criteria for student loan forgiveness programs can help trade school students clear or pay off their student debt faster.

Note that depending on the forgiveness program and its criteria, there is a limit to how much debt can be forgiven.

Qualifications for Student Loan Forgiveness

Below are some general qualifications and considerations for student loan forgiveness for trade school graduates.

  • Program-Specific Criteria: These programs have unique eligibility criteria,  including PSLF and Teacher Loan Forgiveness, which may still apply based on public service professions and employment type.
  • Federal Student Loans: Federal student loans, like Stafford, Perkins Loans, and Direct Loans, typically offer forgiveness programs, while private loans are typically not eligible. Federal student loan borrowers do not have to pay for assistance with their loans.
  • Repayment Program: To qualify for income-driven student loan repayment plans for forgiveness, you must enroll and make student loan payments under a plan that changes monthly student loan payments based on your discretionary income and family size.

NOTE: Perkins loan cancellation is a valuable option for trade school graduates working in specific public service roles. The Perkins loan cancellation incentivizes individuals to pursue careers in vital public service fields while easing the burden of student loan debt.

Eligible Trade Schools for Loan Forgiveness

This section explores a few vocational schools whose students are eligible for loan forgiveness.

  1. Lincoln Technical Institute: Lincoln Technical Institute covers several technical schools, all offering vocational and technical programs. Many of these schools are eligible for forgiveness programs for federal student loans. Unfortunately, this forgiveness doesn’t extend to private student loans.
  2. Universal Technical Institute (UTI): Universal Technical Institute is a private, for-profit institution offering technical education across several campuses. Forgiveness programs and eligibility may vary, so contact the United States Department of Education for accurate information.
  3. Aveda Institutes: Aveda Institutes, U.S. cosmetology and beauty schools, offer eco-friendly education and forgiveness programs. Students should research options, contact the U.S. Department of Education, and consider costs and career implications.

NOTE: Some programs for trade school graduates assist middle-income borrowers who may not qualify for other IDR plans but still face challenges in repaying their loans.

Types of Loans Eligible for Forgiveness

Student loans may be suitable for forgiveness or repayment discharge under specific circumstances. These include loan type, student loan repayment period, borrower’s career, and other factors.

  • Federal Direct Loans: These federal loans, including Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and Direct PLUS Loans, are eligible for forgiveness programs like PSLF and IDR plans. Direct subsidized loans are a kind of federal student loan often sought after by trade school students due to their favorable terms.
  • Federal Perkins Loans: Students with Perkins loans may be eligible for debt cancellation for individuals who work in specific public service careers set by their federal student loan servicer.
  • Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL): These federal loans, like the Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, FFEL PLUS Loans, and FFEL Consolidation Loans, may be eligible for federal student loan forgiveness if consolidated into Direct Consolidation Loans.
  • Teacher Loan Forgiveness: This program forgives Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and Federal Stafford Loans for teachers working in low-income schools or government agencies for a specified period.
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF): PSLF is available for individuals with Direct Loans who work full-time for a qualifying government or nonprofit employer. After completing 120 qualifying monthly payments, the remaining loan balance can be forgiven.

GOOD TO KNOW: Pell Grants are federal loans or resources that can reduce poverty for trade school students. A Pell Grant potentially minimizes the need to rely heavily on student loans and increases their eligibility for certain programs. Students who have received Pell Grants should contact their school’s financial office to ask if their loans can be forgiven.

Applying for Student Loan Forgiveness for Trade Schools

This guide offers a detailed guide on applying for student forgiveness for trade school students.

The Application Process

The application process for student forgiveness for technical schools varies based on the program and individual’s circumstances.

  • Determine Eligibility – To qualify for a forgiveness program, determine if you meet the eligibility criteria based on loan type, student loan repayment plan, and career status. Some programs require specific field or employer work.
  • Compile Documentation – Gather the necessary documents like employment proof, payment history, loan statements, and other required documents for your application to your specific forgiveness program.  Afterward, submit them to your loan servicer.
  • Select the Appropriate Forgiveness Program – Choose the forgiveness program that best suits your career and circumstances, such as PSLF, TLF, or income-driven repayment plan forgiveness.
  • Submit Your Application – Send your completed application to the appropriate entity. Depending on the program, this could be your loan servicer, the U.S. Department of Education, or another designated organization.
  • Continue Making Payments – During the application review period, it’s crucial to make regular payments on your loans to maintain eligibility and meet certain qualifying requirements for forgiveness.
  • Receive Approval or Denial – Upon review, applicants receive notification of approval or denial, with approved loans forgiven or discharged and denied loans explained and steps to address.

NOTE: After providing enough qualifying payments, some programs for graduates will forgive the remaining balance. This forgiveness may also be applied at the discretion of your state’s Education Department.

Required Documents for Loan Forgiveness Application

Common documents required for student loan forgiveness applications vary based on the program and individual circumstances. Here are some possible required documents.

  • Application Form: Most forgiveness programs have specific application forms you must complete and submit.
  • Proof of Employment or Service: Programs like PSLF and Teacher Loans require documentation proving employment or service requirements, such as employer certification forms or letters.
  • Loan Statements: You may need to provide copies of your student loans showing the outstanding loan balances, loan type, and payment history.
  • Tax Documents: Some forgiveness programs, especially income-driven repayment plan forgiveness, may require tax documents to verify your discretionary income.

NOTE: Certain programs extend their benefits to military service members who have attended technical schools, offering them opportunities to reduce their student loan debt. Note that you need to have completed at least 3 years of military service in order to qualify.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in the Application Process

When applying for student forgiveness, it’s important to be thorough and accurate to ensure a successful application.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid in the application process.

  • Incomplete Applications: A common mistake is failing to complete all application sections or provide required documentation. Be meticulous in filling out the application, and make sure you’ve included all the necessary documents.
  • Failure to Certify Employment: For programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), your employer must certify your employment. Failing to obtain this certification can lead to issues with your application.
  • Not Maintaining Eligibility: Certain forgiveness programs necessitate continuous eligibility criteria, such as qualifying payments for income-driven repayment plans, which could be affected if these criteria are unmet.

NOTE: Former military service members can apply for Total and Permanent disability discharge. Total and Permanent disability discharge applies to servicemen who were injured while serving.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Student Loan Forgiveness

This section offers a detailed analysis of debt relief options for trade school students.

Advantages of Loan Forgiveness for Trade School Students

Forgiveness for trade school students offers several advantages that can provide financial relief and help individuals build better futures.

Some of the key advantages include the following.

  • Reduced Financial Burden: Loan forgiveness reduces student loan debt, allowing trade school graduates to focus on other essential expenses and opportunities.
  • Increased Career Flexibility: Loan forgiveness programs allow graduates to pursue careers they’re passionate about or align with their values, even if they require higher salaries to cover loan payments.
  • Incentive for Public Service: Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs encourage graduates to pursue public service roles like teaching or nonprofit work, fostering a more dedicated and robust public sector workforce.

Potential Disadvantages of Loan Forgiveness for Trade School Students

While loan forgiveness for trade school students offers various advantages, there are also potential disadvantages and considerations that borrowers should be aware of.

  • Limited Eligibility: Loan forgiveness programs may not be accessible to all trade school graduates due to eligibility requirements based on loan type, chosen career, and payment history.
  • Extended Time Frames: Some loan forgiveness programs like PSLF and income-driven repayment plan forgiveness require borrowers to make extended payments for 10, 20, or 25 years before qualifying for forgiveness.
  • Tax Implications: Loan forgiveness programs may result in taxable income for borrowers, potentially leading to substantial tax bills, particularly for those with high loan balances.
  • Uncertainty of Program Continuation: Loan forgiveness programs may be subject to legislative and federal government policy changes, affecting eligibility and expected benefits for borrowers.

NOTE: If a trade school suddenly closes down while students are still enrolled, those affected may be eligible for a closed school discharge. This relieves them of the obligation to repay any federal student loans taken out to attend the now-defunct institution.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about student loan forgiveness programs for trade school graduates here.

Can I Get My Student Loans Forgiven for Trade School?

Trade school graduates may qualify for student loan forgiveness if they meet specific program requirements and criteria. These criteria may differ per program, so research the difference accordingly.

How Do I Qualify for Student Loan Forgiveness for Trade Schools?

Technical schools can qualify for student loan forgiveness through various criteria, including federal student loan programs, qualifying careers, and monthly payment plans—review the eligibility criteria to be certain.

What Are the Benefits of Student Loan Forgiveness for Trade Schools?

Loan forgiveness provides financial relief, career flexibility, public service incentives, recognition of education and skills, and faster monthly payment potential.

What Are the Drawbacks of Student Loan Forgiveness for Trade Schools?

Depending on the program and individual circumstances, loan forgiveness has limitations, including restricted eligibility, extended loan repayment periods, and delayed financial goals.

How Do I Apply for Student Loan Forgiveness for Trade Schools?

To apply for student loan forgiveness for technical schools, review your eligibility, gather the necessary documents, complete the application form, submit it to the designated entity, and follow up for updates.


Student loan forgiveness programs for technical schools can lead to reduced debt and career flexibility. They can help trade school students, regardless of the recent Supreme Court decision.

Prospective trade school applicants must understand the eligibility criteria, application requirements, and nuances of the loan forgiveness program to ensure a successful education.

It’s best to stay informed about regulations and consult the U.S. Department of Education for more info regarding student loan forgiveness for career schools.