Want to know what options you have for figuring out how to pay for your student loans? Here are the ones we know about, with a brief statement about each. In many circumstances, individuals may be eligible for one or multiple of these options, but you should always double-check (and sometimes, triple check before you bet your finances on it) that your qualify for and may utilize one or many of these options. There are programs, including those in the first part of the list, and then there are repayment options. This post will focus only on repayment programs, with a future post discussing repayment options. Again, a borrower may or may not participate in a program and a repayment option – always check first.
National Health Service Corps – For health professionals with federal graduate student loans working in areas of need. Members may participate as scholars while in school and avoid loan withdrawal, or as participants in loan-repayment which currently reimbursing tax-free up to $60k for a two-year contract, with an option for yearly renewal and continued reimbursement. I have a write-up about this opportunity at my other blog, available here, as this is one of the programs of which I am a participant. (I have already paid of $60k of my graduate student loans with this money!)
Public Service Loan Forgiveness – Qualified public service workers may be eligible for forgiveness of remaining Direct Loan student loan debt after 120 on-time payments. This program began in 2007, so the original applicants have yet to achieve their final payments, and the final application submission for loan forgiveness has not yet occurred for those student loan applications. Wonder if you qualify? Check out the homepage for the FAQ.
Perkins Loan Deferment and Cancellation – Some professions qualify for deferment/cancellation of Perkins Loans. I also participate in this program, with payments deferred yearly and a percentage of my loan forgiven with each year of employment, until at 5 years the entire loan is forgiven. Check out the other applicable professions below, and find forms for your profession here or at your specific academic program.
Indian Health Service – Offers both loan repayment and scholarship programs for health professionals who work at an Indian health program site with Native American and Alaska Native communities, with $20k per year toward student loans. Per the website, the scholarship program for 2012-13 was on hold until further notice.
Nurse Corps – For registered nurses and nurse practitioners working in qualified areas. 2-year contract with optional third year. Participants in the program have 60% of their loans paid off after two-year contract completion, with an option for a 3rd year that would pay off an additional 25% of the original loan balance. Next application due February 28th.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness – Specifically for teachers with Direct Sub/Unsub Loans and Stafford Sub/Unsub Loans, who meet other requirements, to have up to $17,500 forgiven on student loans. Official application available here. Other loan forgiveness opportunities for teachers available here.
Stafford Loan Forgiveness – This overlaps with many of the other programs listed above, but is worth checking out if you are looking for specific loans to be forgiven through your type of work or volunteer program.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) – For NIH employees, an opportunity for certain qualified loans to be forgiven up to $10k per year with a lifetime forgiveness up to $60k.
Military Loan Forgiveness – Army and Navy recruits have the opportunity for up to $65k of qualified student loan repayment, and Air Force recruits have the opportunity for up to $10k in repayment.
Do you volunteer? Those participating in volunteer programs like AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and VISTA, may also be eligible for loan forgiveness if participating in these programs – check out this website for these opportunities!
Whew, if that wasn’t enough, there are also some opportunities for lawyers, physical/occupational therapists, veterinarians, certain state residents, among others, go here – seems like just about any professional could qualify!!!
Do you know of other loan repayment programs? Are you in one of these programs and have feedback? We’re all in this together! Please leave a comment with the link and a brief blurb about the repayment option!