Skip to main content

What happens to my federal student loans if I die or become disabled?

If you meet certain requirements, your federal student loans may be canceled if you become disabled. Private student loans, however, have different provisions.

Your student loans may be canceled or discharged if you become totally or permanently disabled or pass away, but the requirements vary depending on whether the loans are federal or private.

Federal student loans

You may qualify to have your student loans discharged, relieving you from having to repay the remainder of your loan, if you meet the Department of Education’s requirements for being totally or permanently disabled.

If you or a loved one with federal student loans pass away, the loans won’t transfer to another person. Relatives can notify the loan servicer, and the loan will be canceled.

Private student loans

Unlike federal student loans, there are no legal requirements to cancel private student loans for borrowers who die or become disabled.

In certain cases, private lenders have special provisions to discharge loans, but it’s important to check the terms and conditions of your loan or contact your servicer for more details.

Learn more about repaying student debt