BOSTON (WHDH) - If you’ve been trying to pay off a student loan, we have some potentially life-changing news! Tens of thousands of loans are going to be forgiven. And millions of dollars in refund payments are coming to some students. Could you be one of them? 7 Investigates’ Dan Hausle has the story.

“I’m literally crying happy tears,” Kelly said.

Kelly just found out $84,000 of her student loans are going to be wiped away.

“It’s great. I’m so happy,” Kelly said.

Kelly graduated with a degree in graphic design thirteen years ago.

She has struggled to pay off her loans.

“It really was like a living nightmare,” Kelly said.

Kelly is one of 66,000 students across the country who will soon have their loan balances forgiven.

It’s all part of a major settlement between dozens of states, including Massachusetts, and Navient Corporation, formerly part of Sallie Mae.

Navient is one of the country’s largest student loan companies.

“It is truly going to be a life-changing settlement,” said attorney Arwen Thoman, Student Loan Ombudsman and director of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Student Loan Assistance Unit.

The agreement settles lawsuits claiming the company “engaged in unfair and deceptive acts” and gave loans to students who were unlikely to be able to repay them.

“Borrowers have struggled under the weight of these debts in many cases for decades,” Thoman said.

Could you have your student loan forgiven in this settlement?

You may be eligible if you: 

  • Took out certain private loans between 2002 and 2014   
  • Had low credit scores   
  • Attended specific for-profit schools and later fell behind on your loan payments  

“In order to be eligible for the relief, the loans had to have gone at least seven months past due,” Thoman said.

Other students – about 350,000 of them – will be getting some money back if they paused payments on their federal loans by putting them in forbearance.

That is a mechanism that allows borrowers to temporarily stop making payments while they try to save money.

“We allege that the company should have told them about ways to manage their loans, but instead, told them to basically stop making payments on their loans. Meanwhile, interest accrued, and borrowers fell further and further behind,” Thoman said.

Massachusetts borrowers in this group will receive about $500 each.

Navient, the loan company involved, tells 7 Investigates the claims in the lawsuits are “unfounded.”

But the company says the settlement allows it “to avoid the additional burden, expense, time, and distraction to prevail in court.”

This debt relief is a huge relief for Kelly and her family.

They will finally be able to buy a house!

“I can’t put into words how much this will change my life,” Kelly said.

To potentially qualify for the loan cancelation, you must have had a Massachusetts mailing address or lived in one of the dozens of states participating in the settlement.

For a list of those states and to find out more about the settlement, click here for information from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office. 

To ensure the settlement administrator can find you, federal loan borrowers who may be eligible for a refund/restitution payment are encouraged to update their contact information in their studentaid.gov account or create an account if they do not already have one.

Studentaid.gov is the U.S. Department of Education’s main website for federal student loans and a portal to access information about all your federal student loans. You can use your studentaid.gov account to apply for repayment plans, consolidate your federal loans, explore repayment plans with a loan simulator, and use the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Help Tool.

Eligible private loan borrowers will be notified if their loan will be discharged.

For additional information and settlement updates, please visit the settlement administrator’s website  www.NavientAGSettlement.com or call the settlement hotline at 1-833-630-1416.

Click here to contact the MA AG’s Student Loan Assistance unit, where you can file a request for help. 

For more information about the settlement from Navient, click here. 

(Copyright (c) 2022 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox