Student loan forgiveness is a popular topic amongst those who are dealing with them. Although it is not necessarily an overnight way to rid yourself of debt, it is still a legitimate and free way of paying it off over time.
Some loan forgiveness programs only apply to those with federal student loans, do keep in mind. Others may have very specific requirements that make it hard to qualify. There are also income based programs that are open to most borrowers! First we will go over those which require a federal student loan.
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Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
Teacher Loan Forgiveness
If you have taught in a low income school or educational service agency full-time for a total of five consecutive years, as a part of the teacher loan forgiveness program, you may qualify for loan forgiveness. The maximum amount that can be forgiven is $17,500, and other qualifications must be met also. Qualifying loans include direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans, and subsidized and unsubsidized federal Stafford loans. Additionally, loans had to be taken out after October 1st of 1998 in order to qualify. Thus, making this obsolete when it comes to older teachers with remaining debt balances.
Find more info on the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
This program is available for those who are employed by the government or qualifying non-profit companies with federal student loans. Additionally, you must have taken out a direct loan to be eligible. Under this program, after 120 correct loan payments, eligible borrowers may get their remaining balance of debt deducted tax-free. Above all, to qualify your 120 payments had to have been made through an income-driven repayment plan. The reason being if you were on a standard repayment plan then you would have already paid the loan off.
Find more info on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
Forgiveness Programs for Nurses
Nurses who have a high debt balance total have several options when it comes to their loans being forgiven. For starters, the previously mentioned Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program applies to nurses. Moving on to other programs, the Perkins Loan Cancellation program (PLC) and the NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program (NCLR) are also options for nurses with a debt balance. The PLC program is often not a popular choice, as not many borrowers have a Perkins loan, but it is still a viable one as you can get up to 100% cancelled with the right qualifications. NCLR program is a very competitive loan forgiveness program, but that chance of getting up to 85% of your unpaid student loans forgiven is worth a shot. Qualifying positions are registered nurses (RNs), advance practice registered nurses (APRNs), and nurse faculty (NF).
Find more info on the Perkins Loan Cancellation Program
Find more info on the NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program
Additional Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
Military Student Loan Forgiveness
Essentially all branches of the military offer their own types of loan forgiveness programs. These branches include the Army, Navy, Air Force, National Guard and Coast Guard. For example, the National Guard will repay up to $50,000 worth of unpaid student loans to qualifying individuals. This is done through the College Loan Repayment Program (LRP).
Find more info on the College Loan Repayment Program
State-Sponsored Loan Forgiveness Programs
The number of programs that a state sponsors ranges from 1-9. In my home state of Washington, only 1 program is sponsored. However, in New York state there are 9 sponsored loan forgiveness programs. Washington State’s program is the Health Professional Loan Repayment Program, and can pay up to $35,000 a year for two years. I would recommend looking up your state’s educational website for information on which programs are sponsored in your state.
Find more info on the Health Professional Loan Repayment Program
Things to Remember…
If you have defaulted on any of your student loans, you will not be eligible for any loan forgiveness programs. In order to requalify for these programs you will need to go through consolidation or rehabilitation to get your federal student loans into good standing. In the end, if all else fails and you need a last resort, settlement or bankruptcy can reduce debt, but only for extreme cases. Additionally, defaulted federal loans only qualify for discharge programs.