In California, in the United States, if one spouse takes out federal student loans during the marriage but the other spouse does not cosign them is there a responsible party in the event of death?

I have read some confusing information about community property states and federal (not private) student loans.

1 Answer 1


In exit counseling, and the U.S. Department of Education, if the borrower of a student loan dies, the debt is cancelled and the loan is forgiven.

If you, the borrower, die, then your federal student loans will be discharged. If you are a parent PLUS loan borrower, then the loan may be discharged if you die, or if the student on whose behalf you obtained the loan dies.

https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation under Death Discharge.

It also mentions the case of the parent loan mentioning that if either party dies, the loan is cancelled, so it can be assumed that in the event that the student dies, there will be no issue of having got pay back the loan.

  • 1
    +1 This is correct, and I've been in this position and can confirm it worked precisely the way the website says. You usually don't even need to fill out forms, and if you are contacted by the school or a loan service company you just need to inform them of the death and they usually handle the rest on their end.
    – BrianH
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 15:45
  • @mathew please mark this accepted solution if you are satisfied by the response. Thanks.
    – pal4life
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 4:49

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .