Can My Son Get Federal Student Loans While in Prison?


Dear Steve,

My 42-year-old son has two student loans totaling approx $9000. He’s currently serving a 10-year minimum sentence in Carson City, NV, in a state facility, not federal.

He has approx five years left in prison. He wants to get a college degree while he’s in prison. I’ve contacted the Dept of Education about his debt. He’s set up to pay $5.00 per month for nine months.

Once he’s done that, his loans will be re-established for repayment. He makes no money in prison. I’m the source of paying the $5.00 per month.

I’m not going to be able to pay back his student loans on what I make with Social Security.

1. Can he get forgiveness on his student loans since he’s in prison. If so, where can I apply on a state level?

2. Is Biden’s Student Loan forgiveness program something he can qualify for?

3. If he does get forgiveness, will he be able to apply for future student loans?



Dear LouAnn,

I’m certain there is an unfortunate story behind his incarceration. Ugh.

There is no forgiveness for being in prison, and there is no Biden student loan forgiveness program, but I have some news on the loans.

The rehabilitation plan he is on is probably the best approach right now. Once the loans are rehabilitated, he should complete a new income qualification statement, and his payment will probably go to zero.

According to the Department of Education, your son would not be eligible for federal student aid while confined in an adult correctional facility. However, he would be eligible for Federal Pell Grants if he was in a local, municipal, or county correctional facility. He is not eligible in a federal or state facility. – Source

The only caveat is that the Pell Grants are not available if he was “convicted of a forcible or nonforcible sexual offense and [is] subject to an involuntary civil commitment upon completion of a period of incarceration for that offense.”

Once your son is out of prison on probation or parole, he would be eligible for future federal student loans as long as his previous loans are in good standing.


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