Dying for student loan debt forgiveness? Sure, you can put these loans into deferment or forbearance, but both options have major drawbacks.
It is much better just to have your loan forgiven or have someone else pay it off for you. And if you're interested (because who isn't??), you have come to the right place. Get ready-this is the biggest guide to student loan debt forgiveness we've ever put together.
What is student loan forgiveness?
Student loan forgiveness can come in many different forms., You could get a subsidy to pay off some or all of your loans, or you could have your loans canceled to work in a specific high-need field for a period of time.
For example, one of the most well-known student loan forgiveness programs is public loan forgiveness. Under this program, the government cancels your federal loans if you work for a qualified public sector employer and make 120 qualifying payments.
We go into this program in later in this article, but for now, know that it's not the only way to get your loans forgiven.,
You could get a grant to pay off student loans?
Absolutely! There are many ways to have your student loans forgiven. Many of these are tied to your profession and workplace, but you can also receive grants through your employer, organizations you participate in, volunteer opportunities, and more.,
Most student loan forgiveness programs fall under the following categories, which we will cover in detail below:
- Career-based student loan forgiveness
- Federal student loan forgiveness
- Government student loan forgiveness
- Military Student Loan Forgiveness
- Nonprofit/voluntary student loan forgiveness
- Forgiveness of corporate programs for employees
We have provided links to the original websites for all of the scholarship programs listed below so you can easily see how and where to apply.,
If the application period has passed on one that looks good to you, try to check a calendar reminder setting back when it starts again. This is a good idea because many are given out annually – and for some, the funds are first-come, first-served. In addition, many of these programs run annually.
Career based scholarships
These are scholarship programs that provide funds nationally to anyone in these fields who qualifies.,
Scholarships for physicians, nurses and other medical professionals
National Health Service Corps: this is one of the most commonly known grant programs for people in the medical field, including physicians, dentists, and mental health professionals.
The deal is simple: sign up for two years of full-time work in a high-need community and receive up to 50.000 US dollars from your student loans. Reimbursement for part-time work is also available. See the funding levels here.,
Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program: there are many government grants student loans for nurses to repay; this is the most important nationally. (It's also a good source to find funding for specialized areas in nursing.)
The program pays off 60% of student loan debt for registered nurses who serve at least two years in a critical shortage area. Those who opt for an optional third year can receive an additional 25% reimbursement.,
IHS Loan Repayment Program: this program will pay up to $40.000 of your qualified student loans back if you enroll in two years of service in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
If you want to stay longer, you can extend your contract until all of your doctoral student loan debt is paid off.
Student-to-Service Loan Repayment Program:If you are in your last year of medical or dental school, you could be awarded up to $120.000 in student loan repayment earning by working in an area with a shortage of medical professionals for three years after you graduate.,
See also: student loan forgiveness for doctors and medical professionals
Grants for teachers
Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program: you could earn up to $17,500 in forgiveness on your federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans (including Stafford loans) if you agree to teach for five years in a low-income area.
Teacher Cancellation of Perkins Loans: There are no new Perkins loans as of 2017. But if you have one from before, you could be forgiven the full amount if you qualify.,
Qualified teachers working in low-income communities or teaching high-need subjects such as math, special education, science, bilingual education, or foreign languages.
This program is notable because, unlike other student loan repayment grants for teachers, it does not have a set time requirement or even a set number of hours per week that you are required to work. You receive your forgiveness in percentage increments per year until the loan is forgiven.,
See also: student loan forgiveness for teachers
Scholarships for Vets
Vet Medical Loan Repayment Program: this program pays as much as $25.000 per year toward your veterinary school debt if you agree to work in an area with a shortage of veterinarians for three years.
John R. Justice student loan repayment program: this program is designed for public defenders and prosecutors., You can borrow up to 10.000 USD per year (a total of 60.000 USD) for your law student loans if you agree to three to six years of service.
You can apply through your state.
Department of Justice Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program: this program offers approximately $6.000 per year, up to $60.000 total, for attorneys working in the Department of Justice and federal student loan debt of at least $10.000. There is a three-year benefit requirement. Applicants are selected on a competitive basis.
Herbert S., Garden Loan Repayment Assistance Program:This program works on a lottery system, offering as much as $5.600 in grants for attorneys with a minimum of $75.000 in student debt. You must work with one of the organization's scholarship recipients to qualify.
Other options: Many law schools offer loan forgiveness for graduates working in the public sector, and there are numerous state programs for public service lawyers. A more complete list of resources can be found on the American Bar Association website.,
Scholarships for Researchers
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Loan Repayment Programs: This is actually a group of grant programs designed to attract medical professionals to important research areas. You can receive up to 50.Receive $2,000 per year (for a total of two years) by agreeing to conduct research that is deemed critical by the NIH. You do not have to work for the NIH to qualify.,
Individual research topics include:
- Clinical Research
- Health disparities in minority populations
- Contraception and Infertility
- Clinical research for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds
Federal student loan forgiveness
The federal government administers many of the career-based forgiveness programs mentioned earlier, but the following are either not tied to your job title or apply to a variety of occupations.,
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF): we've written a lot about this program. The bottom line is that you can forgive the rest of your federal student loans after 10 years or 120 qualifying payments if you work for a qualified government or nonprofit employer.
Under this program there are many hoops to jump through. Who you work for is more important than your job title; doctors, lawyers, teachers and many other professionals could qualify for forgiveness.,
Forgiveness income-driven repayment plan: There are four different types of income-driven repayment plans, all of which determine your federal loan payments based on a percentage of your income. After 20 or 25 years, the remainder of your balance is forgiven, but you must pay taxes on the forgiven balance.
Perkins Loan Cancellation: We already have a Perkins Loan Forgiveness program listed for teachers, but the federal government will also forgive your Perkins Loan if you choose other careers. You can find a complete list on the website.,li>disability
Many states provide grants for student loan forgiveness as well as scholarships for people enrolling in college., These are often tied to occupations, so it pays to look for student loan forgiveness in your state and occupation.
Here are some of the federal grants available, just to give you an idea.
New York State Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program: New York gives as much as $10.000 per year for up to five years for those who graduated from an in-state university and plan to run a farm in New York for at least five years. You must apply within two years of graduating from high school.,
California Loan Repayment Program for Health Care Workers: California offers eight different loan repayment programs for people in the health care industry. For example, California's Bachelor of Science in Nursing Loan Repayment Program pays licensed RNs who live in California up to 10.000 for their student loans in exchange for a year of service in a medically underserved area, prison or veterans health facility. Participants can be reimbursed for up to three years.,
New York State Child Welfare Worker Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program: This program will award you $10.000 per year for up to five years of employment in a New York State child welfare agency.
Maine Alfond Leaders Program: This program pays up to 60.000 in student loans for people in STEM professions who live and work in Maine.,
Grants for members of the military (and their families)
Army Loan Repayment Program: if you sign up for the military after college and have student loans, you can get forgiveness on these loans.
Army Reserve College Loan Repayment Program: this program offers up to $50,000 in student loan forgiveness for those in certain specialties who agree to serve for at least six years.,
If you agree to serve for three years and meet other qualifications, you can receive one-third of your outstanding principal each year for a maximum of 65.000 U.S. dollars can be received.
Iraq-Afghanistan Grant: If your parent was a member of the military and died while serving in Afghanistan or Iraq and you were not eligible for a Pell Grant due to financial criteria, you may be eligible for an amount up to the maximum Pell Grant amount available for the award year. The amount for 2020-21 is $6,345.
You must have been under age 24 or enrolled at least part-time in college when your parents died.
Health Professions Student Loan Repayment Program: physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, veterinarians and other health professionals who enlist in the Army can receive up to 120.Receive $000 in student loan forgiveness if they enroll for a certain amount of time, usually three years. Amount and time period vary by occupation and service line.,
In addition, the military offers special student loan forgiveness programs:
If you haven't yet enrolled in college, the military offers a wide range of scholarship programs for those who enroll in. Go here for a complete list.,
Grants for volunteers / community service workers
Organizations like AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps and Teach for America qualify for public service loan forgiveness and can provide funds for your loans
Grants for employees at private companies
Some private companies, like Chegg, use student loan forgiveness as a recruiting tool., A few others are:
Aetna: If you work for this health care company full-time, it will match your payments of up to $2,000 per year, for a maximum of $10,000 toward your student loans. Part-time employees are eligible for half.
PricewaterhouseCoopers: the financial services firm offers up to $1.200 per year, up to a total of $10.000, toward student loans for its employees and senior associates.,
Student loan repayment subsidies for single mothers
This one is a little tricky-there aren't many student loan forgiveness programs specifically for single moms.
However, if you are a single mother in need of student loan debt relief, any of the above options may be an option, depending on your career, the state in which you live, and other circumstances.
How to find yourself
You just need to know where to look.,
Many student loan forgiveness programs are tied to your occupation and where you are willing to work-they are administered by organizations that want to encourage people with certain skills to work in a high-need field, and they do this by disbursing student loans.
There are job-based student loan forgiveness programs that are administered at the state and federal levels. You can also have your student loans forgiven by working in public service or enlisting in the military, as long as you qualify.,
Another place to check, however, is with your college. Some colleges and universities forgive student loans for those who agree to use their skills in a high-need field.
For example, law schools will often forgive a large portion of student loan debt for public defenders, prior to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Check with your school to see if they offer this benefit.
It's also worth looking for federal student loan forgiveness programs for people in your profession., You may need to register to work in a high-need area or low-income community to access these funds.
Finally, check with your employer. Some employers offer scholarships, grants, and student loan forgiveness for people who work for them. The usual amount is somewhere around 1.$200 per year ($100 per month), up to 10.000 US dollars.
Quick guide to applying for student loan scholarships
To be clear, we're talking about how you can apply for a scholarship-either for tuition or to pay off an existing loan. We are not talking about applying for a new loan.,
Remember, the key difference is that grants don't have to be disbursed, and loans do. The application process varies by individual grant, but here is a general outline.
Look for a scholarship that fits your circumstances
As you have seen, you need to narrow your search before you can apply. Here are a few ideas:
- Look for scholarships for people in your profession. This may include working in a high-need field.,
- Check to see if your current job qualifies for public service loan forgiveness.
- Look for scholarships in your state, for people in your profession.
- Look into grants for members of the military or nonprofit organizations like Teach for America or the Peace Corps if you're willing to join.
- Check to see if your employer offers tuition assistance or student loan forgiveness.
- Find out if your college student loans offer forgiveness for people in your major.,
Fill out the application
The granting organization should have an application on their website. You may have to print it out and mail it, or you can fill it out online.
Each grant requires different information., Information you may be asked for includes:
- Your university's name and proof of graduation
- Proof of employment-a pay stub or a letter from an employer
- Proof of residency-z. B. A utility bill with your name on it
- Legal identification-a driver's license or passport
- Information about all the loans you are applying to be forgiven
Some organizations will ask you to write an essay about why you are applying and what work you are doing, add letters of recommendation or a resume-depending on the type of grant.,
Keep an eye out for due dates
Note that many grants are issued on a cycle-and there is usually a deadline each year.
If you missed the deadline for a scholarship that looks like it would be a good fit, check when it will reopen and set a calendar reminder to apply. It is best to do this early in the cycle, as many grants have limited funds and are first-come, first-served.
Want another way to reduce your student loan burden? Check out this refinancing tool to see how much you can save by refinancing.