After reading several articles on the subject, I was finally directed to ask my lender, good old Aunt Sallie. She told me that in order to be eligible for the forgiveness program, you have to be making income-contingent loan payments. I, however, am making level payments, which are defined as:
Extended Repayment - Level/Standard: This repayment plan, designed to allow you
to make lower monthly payments through a lengthened repayment period of up to 25 years, is available to borrowers with more than $30,000 in outstanding Federal
Stafford, PLUS and/or Consolidation loan balances and whose loans were first
disbursed 10/7/98 or later. Level/standard monthly payments of both principal
and interest are made throughout the repayment term. The repayment term
available on your private student loans may vary depending on loan type,
outstanding loan balance, repayment plan, and the terms of your promissory note.
Thus, in order to find out if I would be eligible for the forgiveness program I first needed to find out if I was eligible to make income-contingent payments instead. Here I entered some data in a calculator and here's what I got:
That chart would be completely accurate if I hadn't guessed my Adjusted Gross Income. No matter, it seems I am in fact eligible for income-based repayment of my federal student loans...at least for the next year when I'm single.
Up next...do I want to switch to the income-based repayment plan and how does this forgiveness program really work?