The Heartbreaking Ruse of Student Loan Forgiveness

The Ugly Facts

Here’s the scoop:

I’ll shamelessly take any excuse to reference an Archer phrase. Clearly professional-quality image by The Angry Grad.
  1. PAYE (Pay As You Earn)
  2. IBR (Income-Based Repayment)
  3. ICR (Income-Contingent Repayment)
This owl has a developed a healthy skepticism when it comes to the government’s appetite for student debt forgiveness.

The Philosophy Of It All

In theory, student loan forgiveness makes sense.

God cries tears of joy every time a student’s loans are forgiven.

The Ugly Truth

First off, even if you succeed in making it through the 20–25 years, it will still mean that for all those years you somehow managed to faithfully submit the annual paperwork required by the 4 income-driven payment plans mentioned above.

  • Have the baby.
  • Raise the baby.
  • Take the baby through elementary, middle, and high school.
  • See the baby transform into a rebellious teenager.
  • Drop the rebellious teenager off at college.
  • See the rebellious teenager transform into a rebellious collegiate.
  • Allow the rebellious collegiate to boomerang back home post-graduation.

The Worst Thing Ever Happens

It turns out that somewhere along the way, Congress neglected to close the loophole that states that IBR-forgiven student loans count as taxable income.

The Reality We Live In

So, here’s the real question: how many students and graduates know that as of now, their IBR-forgiven loans are counted as taxable income?

Some Hopeful Signs… but Don’t Hold Your Breath

Shockingly, two forward-thinking Congresspeople have taken this into account. Back in July 2014, U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan and Frederica Wilson introduced a bill called the Relief for Underwater Student Borrowers Act. It’s designed to close this very loophole, so that forgiven loans are not absurdly taxed as income. It is also aptly named.


One woman’s journey into the terrifying, punishing world of student loan repayment. Follow along at

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