Where were you when you realized the weight of student loans. Was it when you were filling out your first job application? Trying to rent your first apartment? While you were sitting through your first interview? At some point in life, typically when we are faced with a monetary decision, we realize all those student loans we took out will one day have to be paid back. You may wonder how you will ever pay off such a huge debt and live the BAUCE life that you envisioned for yourself?
Don’t let the balance of your student loans weigh you down — there are a variety of student loan forgiveness programs that exist to help you slay your debt. And depending on your field of study you can receive total forgiveness on your student loans. Here are a few forgiveness programs that can help you knock down that loan balance.
1) Public Service Loan Forgiveness
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program forgives the remaining balance on direct loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for an employer approved by the program. After making the 120 payments, you could qualify for 100 percent loan forgiveness.
In order to qualify, you must be a full-time employee at a federal, state, or local government agency. If you work for an organization with a 50 (c)(3) you may also be eligible.
2) Lawyer Forgiveness Programs
If you are a lawyer and you work for the Department of Justice, you could earn up to $60,000 in loan assistance. To qualify you must have at least 10,000 in federal loans.
The Herbert S. Garten Loan Repayment Assistance Program is a student loan forgiveness program that repays up to $5,600 in student loans to about 70 attorneys each year. The program uses a lottery system to pick its winners.
3) Military Student Loan Forgiveness and Assistance Programs
The Army, Navy, Air Force, and National Guard all offer loan repayment assistance programs. For example, the Army’s college loan program pays one-third of your loans every year for three years which equals to $65,000 in aid. The Navy also offers up to $65,000, and the National Guard LRAP offers up to $50,000.
4) Medical Forgiveness Programs
The IHS Loan Repayment Program was designed for doctors to practice in American Indian and Alaskan Native communities. To qualify, you must commit to two years of service. Once you have fulfilled your service the program will repay up for $40,000 of your student loans.
The military also offers a wide variety of student loan forgiveness and repayment programs to healthcare professionals. For instance, if you are a doctor in the army you can receive up to $120,000 if you are in the Active Duty Professions Loans Repayment Program.
The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) loan repayment assistance program also gives up to $50,000 to licensed health care providers.
5) Teacher Loan Forgiveness
The Teacher Loan Forgiveness program helps teachers’ pay back their student loans. To qualify teachers must work at a qualifying school to for at least five consecutive years. Your loans must not be in default, you must teach in a school that serves low-income people, you must work full-time, and you must have a state certification or teaching license to qualify. You can check the Teacher Cancellation Low Income Directory to see if your school qualifies.
6) Nurse Loan Repayment Program
If you are a registered nurse, nurse practitioner, or nurse faculty member and you work in an underserved community you can get up to 60% of your student loans paid over two-years of employment with the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program. To be eligible nurses must work in a critical shortage area and serve a high-needs population.
7) The Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR)
This plan is designed to make repaying education loans easier for students who intend to pursue jobs with lower salaries. This would include careers in public service. The repayment plan uses your income and family size to create a payment cap so borrowers can keep their loan payments affordable. The repayment period for ICR is 25 years. After that, your remaining loan balance is forgiven. For more information on this repayment plan visit FinAid.
While it may take some research and patience, there are many student loan forgiveness programs that are designed to help you cut down debt. Don’t let your present balance dictate your end results.