U.S. Fire Fighters
The IAFF has successfully helped to enact legislation that eases the financial burden of student loans for fire fighters with outstanding Perkins Loans. The existing program, expanded to include fire fighters, provides partial cancellation for the original principal loan amount, plus the annual interest accrued, for each year of qualifying full-time service performed after August 14, 2008. (Cancellation cannot be granted for periods of service prior to that date.) Full-time fire fighter serving a local, state or federal fire department/district are eligible for loan cancellation at the following rates:
- 15% cancelled for the first year.
- 15% cancelled for the second year.
- 20% cancelled for the third year.
- 20% cancelled for the fourth year.
- 30% cancelled for the fifth year.
To qualify, the loan must not be in default and it cannot have been consolidated. To apply for loan cancellation, contact your educational institution’s Financial Aid office or the designated billing service provider to obtain the appropriate cancellation form. The educational institution or its billing service will determine whether you are entitled to have any portion of your loan(s) cancelled. Educational institutions may not cancel any portion of a loan for full-time service performed either before the loan was issued or during the enrollment period covered by the loan.
Status Update on Loan Forgiveness for Service in Areas of National Need
Given the tight budgetary environment and the appetite for reduced spending which currently exists in Congress, we do not anticipate an opportunity to fund the programs in the near future. The IAFF will continue working to educate Members of Congress as to the importance of the loan forgiveness programs and will alert its membership should further progress be made on this issue.
Canadian Fire Fighters
- CanLearn offers information for Canadian students who have difficulty repaying their education loans. Each provincial student loan program has a mechanism for relief or repayment assistance, such as revision of terms, interest relief, or debt reduction grants.
- Effective fall 2009, a new student loan Repayment Assistance Plan (RAP) will be in place to make it easier for student loan borrowers to manage their debt by ensuring that they can afford their loan payments. The Repayment Assistance Plan is an optional program for students facing difficulty in meeting their student loan payments. The plan ensures that:
- No borrower will be required to make a student loan payment above an affordable level.
- No payment will be required from those with very low incomes.
- No borrower will have a repayment period exceeding 15 years.
- Eligibility criteria will be simple and standardized, making it easier for borrowers to understand and predict the requirements and obtain the support they need. The Canadian Student Loan Program has a Loan Repayment Assistance Program.