The U.S. Department of Education performs a data match with the VA and SSA to identify borrowers who are eligible for a TPD discharge and will discharge their federal education loans automatically.
The TPD Discharge Application is available on the DisabilityDischarge website as a printable PDF form. There is also an online Application Wizard that can be completed instead of the PDF version. Borrowers can request that an application form be mailed to them by calling 1-888-303-7818, by faxing 1-303-696-5250 or by sending email to
If the borrower’s loans are discharged based on a doctor’s certification or SSA determination, there is a three-year post-discharge monitoring period. During the post-discharge monitoring period, the borrower’s annual earnings from employment must be less than 100% of the poverty line for a family of two and the borrower must not get a new federal education loan or TEACH Grant. (A pending proposal will eliminate the post-discharge monitoring period.)
Some lenders of private student loans provide a disability discharge that is similar to the TPD discharge available for federal student loans. Contact the lender to ask whether they offer a disability discharge. If the lender does not provide a disability discharge, ask about their compassionate review process.
Federal education loans are discharged if the borrower dies. Federal Parent PLUS loans may also be discharged if the student dies.
To apply for a death discharge, provide the loan servicer with proof of death. Proof of death includes an original or certified copy of the death certificate or a photocopy of the death certificate.
Some lenders of private student loans will cancel the borrower’s loans if the borrower dies. Contact the lender for more information. If the lender does not offer a death discharge, ask about their compassionate review process.
Close School Discharge
If the student’s college closed while the student was enrolled or within 180 days of the student’s withdrawal, the student may be eligible for a closed school discharge of their federal education loans, including federal student loans and Federal Parent PLUS loans.
If the student is able to complete their program through a teach-out program or at another college, they are ineligible for the closed school discharge. If the student transfers their credits to another college, they may be ineligible for the closed school discharge.
To apply for a closed school discharge, submit a Closed School Discharge Form to the loan servicer after confirming that the college is listed on the U.S. Department of Education’s list of closed schools.
If a borrower is ineligible for a closed school discharge, they may be eligible for a borrower defense to repayment discharge.
Borrower Defense to Repayment Discharge
Borrowers may be eligible for discharge of their federal education loans if their college engaged in fraudulent, deceptive or illegal practices concerning their student loans or education under federal or state law. Examples include providing false information about college costs, accreditation, job placement statistics or the ability to transfer credits.
Borrowers who qualify for the borrower defense to repayment discharge may also qualify for a refund of some or all of the payments they made on the loans.
False Certification and Unpaid Refund Discharges
If the student’s college certified the student as eligible for federal student aid, but the student is ineligible for employment in the occupation for which they are being trained due to age, criminal record, or physical or mental conditions, they may be eligible for a false certification discharge (Disqualifying Status Discharge).
If the student’s college signed their name to a loan promissory note without the student’s authorization, the student’s federal education loans may be eligible for a false certification discharge (Unauthorized Signature Discharge). Note that the student must not have received the loan proceeds, had the loan proceeds applied to charges owed by the student to the college, or otherwise benefited from the loan.