5 Loan Forgiveness Programs To Help Free You From Student Loan Debt
Students and recent graduates have been stuck in student loan debt for many years. According to the Federal Reserve, Americans owe more than $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, with the average recipient owing more than $37,000. Fortunately, there are a number of loan forgiveness programs available to assist debtors in managing and eliminating their student loan debt.
This article discusses the five types of student loan forgiveness programs, including government proposals, career-based, military, volunteering-based, and discharge options for lowering student loan debt. So, if you are struggling with student loan debt, take a look at this list, conduct research, and explore your options to determine which loan forgiveness program is right for you.
Government Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
1. Biden Student Loan Forgiveness Program — Under the Biden student loan forgiveness program, up to $10,000 in student loan debt is canceled. People are presently waiting for the program to begin since it was approved in 2023.
Borrowers who make regular payments on their student loans for a defined amount of time (e.g., 20 or 25 years) are eligible to have the remaining sum forgiven under these arrangements. The amount forgiven will be determined by the repayment plan chosen below.
Income-Based Repayment (IBR):
With IBR, borrowers can limit their monthly loan payments to a percentage of their discretionary income. After making payments for a set number of years (typically 20 or 25), the remaining balance may be forgiven.
Pay As You Earn (PAYE):
A pay-as-you-earn repayment plan consists of monthly payments that are limited to 10% of the borrower’s discretionary income. After 20 years of qualifying payments, the remaining loan balance may be forgiven.
Revised Pay As You Earn (RePAYE):
Similar to PAYE, RePAYE is an income-driven repayment plan that takes into account both the borrower’s and spousal income when calculating loan payments.
Income Contingent Repayment (ICR):
With ICR, monthly payments are calculated based on the borrower’s income and family size. After 25 years of qualifying payments, the remaining loan balance may be forgiven.
Career-Based Student Loan Forgiveness Options
1. Public Service Forgiveness Programs
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) — PSLF forgives the remaining student loan balance for borrowers who work full-time in qualifying public service jobs, such as government or non-profit organizations, after making 120 qualifying monthly payments.
Attorney Student Loan Forgiveness Program — Attorneys who work in qualifying public service positions may be eligible for $6,000 loan forgiveness after a certain period of service and meeting specific requirements.
John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program — Designed for public defenders and prosecutors, this program offers loan repayment assistance to individuals who agree to work an additional three years in the criminal justice system after receiving loan repayment assistance.
This program aims to attract and retain qualified faculty members by offering $40,000 loan repayment assistance for individuals teaching at accredited institutions serving economically disadvantaged communities.
This program assists federal employees by providing up to $10,000 annually for student loan repayment in exchange for a commitment to work for the government for a specified period.
4. Health Careers
Indian Health Services Loan Repayment Program — Healthcare professionals working in Indian Health Service facilities can receive up to $20,000 loan repayment assistance for committing to a two year service agreement.
National Health Service Corps — Healthcare professionals working in underserved communities can receive $50,000 loan forgiveness in exchange for providing medical services for at least two years in a designated Health Professional Shortage Area.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Loan Forgiveness — The NIH offers up to $35,000 loan forgiveness programs in exchange for researchers who work two years conducting research supported by a domestic nonprofit or U.S. government.
NURSE Corps Loan Program — NURSE Corps provides up to 85% of unpaid nursing education loan repayment assistance to registered nurses (RNs), advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), and nurse faculty (NF) who work for two years in underserved areas.
SEMA Loan Forgiveness Program — This program is specific to automative industry professionals. Specialty Equipment MarketAssociation (SEMA) employers providing $2,000 loan forgiveness for individuals who work in qualifying positions.
The teacher loan forgiveness program offers up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness for full-time teachers who work in a low-income school and teach for five consecutive academic years.
The VMLRP offers up to $25,000 per year in loan repayment assistance for a maximum of three years, as long as you commit to working full-time in a designated shortage area for a period of three years.
Many states offer their own loan forgiveness programs in exchange for moving to their state to practice their professions in certain fields. Learn more about it at 12 States Where Student Loans Are Repaid For A New Home.
U.S. Military Student Loan Forgiveness Options
The Air Force offers $65,000 loan repayment assistance to individuals who serve one year as a JAG officer.
Army College Loan Repayment Program: The Army provides $65,000 loan repayment assistance total within three years to active duty soldiers who qualify and agree to serve.
Army Active Duty Health Professions Student Loan Repayment Program: This program is specifically for healthcare professionals serving in the Army who practice medicine and dentistry, providing up to $120,000 loan repayment assistance in exchange for active duty service.
Members of the National Guard may be eligible for $50,000 loan repayment assistance for enlisting for 6 years.
Navy Guard Student Loan Repayment Program — The Navy offers $50,000 loan repayment assistance to active duty sailors who qualify and serve three years.
Navy Health Professions Student Loan Repayment Program — Healthcare professionals serving in the Navy can receive $40,000 loan repayment assistance in exchange for a commitment to serve on active duty.
5. Employer-Based Student Loan Repayment Assistance Programs:
Certain employers offer assistance with student loan repayment as part of their employee benefits package. Eligibility and program details depend on the employer. Some employers that offer this are Aetna, Estee Lauder, Ally Financial, Chegg, ChowNow, Peloton, Common Bond, Connelly Partners, Fidelity, Gradifi, Google, Kronos, LendEDU, Martin Health Systems, Natixis Global Asset Management, Nvidia, PowerTex, Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), SoFi, Tuition.io, U.S. Government companies, and many more. Reach out to your employer and find out for more details.
Additionally, under the Consolidated Appropriations Act employers can give each employee $5,250 per year tax free student loan assistance until December 2025.
Volunteering-Based Student Loan Forgiveness Options
Volunteers who complete a term of service (12 months) with AmeriCorps are eligible to receive an education award of $5,920 that can be used to repay student loans or pursue further education.
Student Loan Discharge Options
1. Closed School Discharge: Borrowers whose schools close while they are enrolled or shortly after may be eligible for a discharge of their federal student loans.
2. False Certification (Identity Theft) Discharge: If a borrower’s identity was stolen, resulting in unauthorized loans, they may qualify for a discharge.
3. Death Discharge: Student loans can be discharged if the borrower dies, relieving the responsibility of repayment for their family or estate.
4. Total and Permanent Disability Discharge: Borrowers who are permanently disabled and unable to work may qualify for a discharge of their federal student loans.
Bankruptcy Discharge: Although it is challenging, filing for bankruptcy may provide relief for borrowers struggling with overwhelming student loan debt.
Perkins Loan Cancellation Options
Perkins loan borrowers may be eligible for loan cancellation based on their chosen profession, such as teaching, nursing, or serving in the military.
At the end of the day, navigating the various student loan forgiveness options can be complex, but borrowers should explore all available programs to find one that suits their individual circumstances. By taking advantage of these forgiveness programs, borrowers can achieve relief from their student loan debt and pave the way for a brighter financial future.
Written By The Resource Manual
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