Smart Woman on Her Computer


How To Get Out of Student Loan Debt (Without Paying for It)

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: it’s possible to get out of student loan debt without paying for it.

All you have to do is figure out which student loan forgiveness programs you qualify for, then sign up to start wiping out your debt!

This page presents a comprehensive list of the most useful student loan forgiveness and cancellation programs, each of which could save you up to tens of thousands of dollars.

Whether your debt is privately-held, or publicly-funded, you’re sure to find help from at least one or two of the programs listed below:

Want to Get Your Loans Forgiven?

Virtually everyone with Federal student loans will qualify for one or more of the excellent financial assistance programs listed below, but people with Private loans have lots of options too!

Forgiveness benefits are offered for all sorts of reasons, from your educational history to your current employment status and public service work or disability qualifications.

Read through the list below to find out what you might qualify for, or ask me in the comments about your specific situation and I’ll check to see what you may be able to get!


Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

The easiest way to erase student loan debt without paying for it is to qualify for a forgiveness program.

There are tons of Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Programs currently available, but there are also a couple Private Student Loan Forgiveness Programs that are worth looking into as well.

Please don’t think that the list below is exhaustive either, as I’m sure there will be some programs that I’ve missed.

The one truth you’ll need to keep in mind when looking for answers about how to get rid of student loan debt is that it does take some work.

I guarantee that you will need to invest at least a couple hours of your time researching available opportunities, figuring out which ones may apply to your specific situation, then applying to receive the forgiveness benefits on offer.


Community Service Forgiveness Programs

The fastest, easiest, and most effective way to get out of paying student loans is to qualify for one of the community service forgiveness programs below.

My personal opinion is that the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is the absolute best way to wipe out student loans quickly.

If you aren’t dead-set in a certain career, or if you have any chance of applying for positions within your field that would qualify for PSLF benefits, then you should absolutely pursue it.


The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

Overview

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is the most powerful way to erase student loans, because it allows your debt to be completely forgiven as soon as you’ve made 120 monthly payments on it.

That’s just 10 years worth of payments! Even if you still owed $200,000 after making 10 years of payments, you’d still be able to receive complete forgiveness for the debt.

One trick to this program is that you have to be enrolled in the Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan, or one of the other income-based or income-contingent repayments plans for your payments to count toward the 120 threshold.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must have one or more Federal student loans
  • You must work full-time at a qualifying public service or nonprofit organization
  • You must be enrolled in one of the income-based or income-contingent student repayment plans
  • You must make 120 monthly payments (payments must be made on-time, and for the full amount required according to your repayment plan)

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Direct Stafford Loans
  • Direct Parent and Grad PLUS Loans
  • Direct Consolidation Loans

Only Federal student loans are eligible for the PSLF program, and Parent PLUS loans are only eligible for it if they’re consolidated into a Direct Consolidation Loan, and being paid off under the standard or income-contingent repayment plan.

Any non-Direct loans may be consolidated into Direct loans, but the payments made on the underlying loans before they were consolidated will not qualify toward the 120 payment threshold.

Finally, only payments made on or after October 1st, 2007 can count toward the 120 payment threshold, meaning that the earliest anyone could receive PSLF forgiveness would be October 1st, 2017.

How to Apply

Even though no one can qualify for the benefit for another couple years, you can find the application for PSLF online here.


The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award

Overview

The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award is for anyone who has completed a term of service with AmeriCorps, and offers anyone who qualifies for the program the opportunity to receive the maximum Pell grant allotment for the current year for up to 4 years.

In 2015, the maximum Pell Grant award is $5,730 per year, meaning that this benefit would be worth $22,920!

To qualify for this benefit, you have to sign up to receive it before your AmeriCorps service, and you can only start using it after you’ve completed your full term of service. There is no partial allotment.

Those who qualify to receive the benefit will have up to 7 years to apply it to their Federal student loans.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must have one or more Federal student loans
  • You must complete a full term of service with AmeriCorps
  • You must sign up for the program before your serving with AmeriCorps
  • You must use the benefit within 7 years of receiving it

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Parent Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Perkins Loans
  • State-funded Loans

One quick note about this program which is awesome is that you may still be able to apply the money earned from this benefit to your loans, even if they are in default!

How to Apply

To apply for the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, visit the AmeriCorps website.


The Peace Corps Loan Forgiveness Program

Overview

The Peace Corps Loan Forgiveness Program doesn’t actually exist. I use this phrase to refer to two different types of forgiveness benefits available to Peace Corps volunteers who have completed a term of service.

The two programs that Peace Corps volunteers will be able to leverage are the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (outlined above) and the Perkins Loan Cancellation Program (you’ll find more info on that further down the page).

As stated earlier, PSLF offers Federal student loan forgiveness after making just 120 monthly payments, but only payments made while you’re serving full-time in a public service capacity will count.

Via the Perkins Loan Cancellation Program, Peace Corps volunteers can qualify for a 15% loan cancellation benefit for completing each of their first two years of service, as well as a 20% loan cancellation benefit for completing each of their third and fourth years.

There’s a limitation on Peace Corps Perkins Loan Cancellation though – only 70% of your total Perkins Loan can be cancelled using the benefit.

Also important to note here – whether or not you qualify for a forgiveness benefit due to your Peace Corps service, any service will qualify you for a Peace Corps Student Loan Deferment.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • For PSLF, see the rules above in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness section
  • For Perkins Cancellation
  • You must have one or more Federal Perkins Loans
  • You must complete at least one year of service with the Peace Corps
  • You may not count any time spent training toward your first year of service
  • You must not have consolidated your Perkins Loan with other student loans

    Qualifying Loans:

  • For PSLF, see the rules above in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness section
  • For Perkins Cancellation
  • Federal Perkins Loans

How to Apply

For PSLF, see the rules above in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness section

Visit the official Peace Corps website and look at the “Certification for Partial Perkins Loan Cancellation” item here.


Profession-Based Forgiveness Programs

All sorts of Student Loan Relief Programs have been created for people in varying professions.

If you work in Education or Healthcare, you’re bound to qualify for one of the excellent forgiveness programs outlined below.


The Faculty Loan Repayment Program (FLRP)

Overview

The Faculty Loan Repayment Program (commonly referred to as FLRP) is the perfect program to introduce this section of the page, since it straddles the border between healthcare and education.

This program offers up to $40,000 in student loan forgiveness benefits for 2 years of service to degree-trained health professionals from disadvantaged backgrounds who serve on the faculty at accredited health profession colleges or universities.

You can increase your chances of being accepted into the program by working with your school to get a written statement saying that they will match equal FLRP loan repayments (meaning half the forgiveness comes from FLRP and the other half comes from the school itself).

The big shocker here? FLRP works for both federal and private student loans.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • You must come from a “disadvantaged background”
  • You must serve as faculty at an accredited health profession college or university
  • You must complete at least two years of service at the eligible school

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Perkins Loans
  • Private Student Loans

How to Apply

To enroll in the program, visit the HRSA website here.


The Indian Health Services Loan Repayment Program

Overview

The Indian Health Services Loan Repayment Program is another one aimed at medical professionals, and offers up to $40,000 in loan forgiveness for 2 years of service at an Indian health program site.

To qualify for this benefit, you have to commit to a 2-year service obligation where you’ll practice full-time at a qualifying site that primarily provides health care services to American Indian or Alaska Native communities.

You’ll receive up to $20,000 in forgiveness benefits per year for each of your 2 years of completed service.

Another shocker – this program also offers forgiveness benefits for private student loan debt!

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must sign up for a 2 year service commitment
  • You must practice a qualifying health profession full time at an Indian health program site

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Perkins Loans
  • Institutional Loans
  • Private Student Loans

How to Apply

To apply, visit the official Indian Health Service website here.


The John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program

Overview

The John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program offers up to $60,000 in total student loan forgiveness, with up to $4,000 per year of service as an attorney continually licensed to practice law.

However, not all lawyers are eligible for this program, as participation stipulates that you must be employed full-time at one of the following institutions:

    Qualifying Institutions:

  • A state or local government agency that prosecutes criminal or juvenile delinquency cases
  • A state or local government agency that offers legal representation to indigent people being tried in criminal or juvenile delinquency cases
  • A nonprofit organization operating under contract of a local government to provide legal representation to indigent people in criminal or juvenile cases
  • A defender organization that offers legal representation to indigent people in criminal or juvenile delinquency cases

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • You must be an attorney and continually licensed to practice law in your state
  • You must satisfy one of the “Qualifying Institutions” requirements above

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Perkins Loans

How to Apply

Find out how to apply for this forgiveness plan by visiting the Equal Justice Works page on it here.


The National Health Service Corps Forgiveness Plan

Overview

The National Health Service Corps student loan forgiveness plan offers up to $60,000 in student loan forgiveness benefits for 2-years of service as a licensed primary care medical, dental, or mental and behavioral health provider working at a high-need site.

It’s possible to receive even more money from this program after you’ve already receive your initial $60,000 in forgiveness for the first 2 years, but you’ll have to apply to that additional benefit after you’ve already received the first disbursement.

This program is also run by the National Health Service Corps, but even though it’s Federally-funded, it too offers forgiveness benefits for both federal and private student loans.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must agree to work as a licensed primary medical, dental or mental and behavioral health provider for at least 2 years
  • You must serve those 2 years at a “high-need site” (typically hospitals, clinics or service areas in poverty-stricken areas)

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Perkins Loans
  • Private Student Loans

How to Apply

To apply for the National Health Service Corps student loan forgiveness plan, visit the official HRSA website here.


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Loan Forgiveness Program

Overview

This is one of the best student loan forgiveness programs available, as it offers up to $35,000 in forgiveness benefits PER YEAR for those that qualify.

However, it’s also pretty difficult to meet the eligibility conditions as this program is only open to research professionals with doctoral degrees.

The thing is – there are all sorts of people out there performing all sorts of research tasks, and anyone with a PhD (which this program requires), is likely to have a ton of student loan debt, so while this may sound like a long shot, there are sure to be plenty of participants.

Also, I’m having trouble wrapping my head around this part, but apparently part-time federal employees who work less than 20 hours a week, but who meet the other research criteria, may also apply for the benefit.

Another great part about this program is that it offers assistance to both federal and private student loan borrowers.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or U.S. permanent resident
  • You must have a health professional doctoral degree
  • You must have student loans that exceed 20% of institutional base salary
  • You must perform research supported by a nonprofit, university, professional association or U.S. government agency
  • You must engage in research at least 50% of the time, averaging at least 20 hours per week
  • You must conduct research that is not prohobited by federal law, regulations, or policies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Sciences, or NIH

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Perkins Loans
  • State-issued loans (including Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and any other U.S. held territories)
  • Academic Institution Loans
  • MEDLOANS
  • Private Student Loans

How to Apply

Visit the official NIH Loan Repayment Forgiveness Program page here.


The NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program

Overview

The NURSE Corps Student Loan Repayment Program is an awesome benefit to anyone who’s working as a Registered Nurse (RN) or an advanced-practice RN.

This program is extremely powerful, because it offers forgiveness for up to 85% of your loan for 3 years of qualifying service, or forgiveness for up to 60% of your loan for just 2 years of service.

Also, unlike a lot of the other Federally-funded forgiveness programs, this one works for both federal and private student loans.

The one trick is that not all RNs are eligible, and that you have to be working in a critical shortage facility or as nursing faculty working full time at an accredited school of nursing.

I love this program though because of two reasons – first, nursing is a great field to get into (there’s always available jobs, pay is great, and the work is both rewarding and beneficial to society at large), and second, because compared to other advanced fields, it isn’t that difficult to get into and doesn’t require as much debt.

If you’re a high school student, or someone in college who hasn’t quite figured out what to do with yourself yet, then you should definitely consider a career in nursing, and you should start preparing to take advantage of this excellent forgiveness plan.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must be an RN or advanced-practice RN working in a critical shortage facility, or a member of the nurse faculty at an accredited school of nursing
  • You must serve in this position for either 2 or 3 years (2 years gets you 60% forgiveness, 3 years gets you 85% forgiveness)
  • You must have secured your student loans to cover nursing educational expenses, or living expenses while you were studying nursing

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Perkins Loans
  • Private Student Loans

How to Apply

To apply for the NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program, check out the official HRSA PDF here.


The Perkins Loan Cancellation & Discharge Program

Overview

The Perkins Loan Cancellation & Discharge Program offers comprehensive forgiveness benefits for a variety of different occupations.

Probably the most popular form of Perkins Loan Forgiveness is the Teacher Loan Cancellation Program, which offers significant assistance to teachers working in shortage areas like math, science and foreign language (see details below).

Perkins loan forgiveness is only available to those with qualifying Perkins loans, but it’s a great deal because it’s possible to have up to 100% of your outstanding principal balance AND accumulated interest completely cancelled!

Forgiveness is offered for each year of service you complete in an eligible position, with the schedule working out as follows:

    Forgiveness % For Each Completed Year

  • 1st & 2nd Year of Service: 15% forgiveness
  • 3rd & 4th Year of Service: 20% forgiveness
  • 5th Year of Service: 30% forgiveness

Note that above, you receive forgiveness percentages after each individual year of service. So after your 1st year of service, you’ll get 15% forgiveness. After you complete your 2nd year of service, you’ll get another 15% forgiven.

Another awesome component to Perkins forgiveness is that you are able to qualify for deferments before you receive forgiveness, so you can postpone payment of your loans for as long as you are performing qualified service.

If you play your cards right, you could even use Perkins loan forgiveness benefits to ensure that you never have to make an actual payment on your student loan debt!

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • Attorneys: Full-time attorneys employed in federal public or community defender organizations who performed qualified service that on or after August 14th, 2008 are eligible to receive up to 100% forgiveness.
  • Child or Family Services Workers: Full-time employees of a public or nonprofit child or family services agency that provides services to “high-risk” children from low-income communities are eligible to receive up to 100% forgiveness.
  • Firefighters: Full-time firefighters who performed qualified service on or after August 14th, 2008 are eligible to receive up to 100% forgiveness.
  • Head Start Employees: Full-time staff members in the education component of a Head Start program are eligible to receive up to 100% forgiveness, at 15% forgiveness per completed year of service.
  • Military Personnel in Imminent Danger Areas: U.S. Military Personnel who were deployed to a hostile fire or imminent danger area are eligible to receive up to 50% forgiveness for active duty that ended before August 14,2008, and up to 100% forgiveness if active duty includes or began after August 14th, 2008.
  • Intervention Service Providers: Full-time qualified professionals who provide early intervention services for disabled people on or after August 14th, 2008 are eligible to receive up to 100% forgiveness.
  • Law Enforcement Personnel: Full-time law enforcement personnel and corrections officers are eligible to receive up to 100% forgiveness.
  • Librarians: Librarian’s with Master’s Degrees working in Title I-eligible elementary or secondary schools, or in public libraries that serve Title I-eligible schools who worked on or after August 14th, 2008 are eligible to receive up to 100% forgiveness.
  • Nurses & Medical Technicians: Full-time nurses or Licensed Medical Technicians are eligible to receive up to 100% forgiveness.
  • Prekindergarten & Child Care Workers: Full-time staff members in prekindergatens or state licensed and regulated child care programs who worked on or after August 14th, 2008 are eligible for up to 100% forgiveness.
  • Special Education Teachers: Full-time special education teachers working with children who have disabilities in a public school, nonprofit elementary or secondary school or educational service agencies are eligible to receive up to 100% forgiveness.
  • Speech Pathologists: Full-time speech pathologists with a Master’s Degree working at a Title I-eligible elementary school or secondary school with service on or after August 14th, 2008 are eligible to receive up to 100% forgiveness.
  • Educational Service Agency Teachers: Full-time teachers at a designated educatioanl service agency serving students from low-income families on or after August 14th, 2008 are eligible to receive up to 100% forgiveess.
  • Teachers in Shortage Areas: Full-time teachers who teach math, science, foreign languages, bilingual education or other shortage areas are eligible to receive up to 100% forgiveness.
  • Tribal College Faculty Members: Full-time faculty members at tribal colleges and universities who worked on or after August 14th, 2008 are eligible to receive up to 100% forgiveness.
  • Vista & Peace Corp Volunteers: AmeriCorps, Vista and Peace Corps volunteers who served for at least a year are eligible to receive up to 70% of their loans forgiven, with 15% of the principal balance and accrued interest forgiven for the first and second years, and 20% forgiven for the third and fourth years of service.

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Perkins Loans

How to Apply

To apply for Perkins Loan Cancellation benefits, you’ll need to find the specific application form for the Perkins loan forgiveness plan that applies to your specific profession. A simple Google search should help.


The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

Overview

I already outlined this one above in the “Community Service” section, so if you’re interested in details, please scroll up to the first entry in the loan forgiveness section.

Briefly, PSLF allows you to receive comprehensive loan forgiveness after making 10 years worth payments (120 payments) on your Federal student loans, cancelling the remaining debt no matter how much is left.

The best part of the PSLF program is that you don’t have to work in a traditional community service position – you could be a Doctor, a Nurse, a Government Employee, a Nonprofit Employee or a variety of other positions and still qualify for PSLF.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • See the first PSLF entry above

    Qualifying Loans:

  • See the first PSLF entry above

How to Apply

Find the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Application Form here.


The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program

Overview

The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is also referred to as the Stafford Loan Forgiveness Program, and is an excellent benefit for those teachers willing to work in low-income schools.

The way it works is that you’re able to receive up to $17,500 in federal loan forgiveness benefits for 5 complete and consecutive years of teaching at a qualifying school or educational service agency.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must not have any Federal student loans that pre-date October 1st, 1998
  • You must not be in default on any Federal student loans (or you must have made repayment arrangements with the lender on defaulted loans)
  • You must have loans that you seek forgiveness on which were NOT made before the end of your five years of qualifying teaching service
  • You must not count time spent teaching with AmeriCorps for your five years of qualifying service
  • You must be employeed full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years, with at least one of those years being after the 1997-1998 academic year
  • You must be employed at an elementary or secondary school that qualifies for Title 1 funds, or has at least 30% of the school’s total enrollment qualifying for Title 1 services, or is included on the Designated Low-Income Schools list (found here)
  • You must count as a “Highly Qualified Teacher” – this part is too difficult to explain briefly, so for details, please visit my page about the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Federal Consolidation Loans

How to Apply

To apply for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, you’ll need to download the official application form here.


Military Forgiveness Programs

One of the best ways to qualify for student loan forgiveness is via service with the United States military.

Whether you want to join up as a Soldier, Sailor, Airmen or Reservist, military service virtually guarantees that you’ll be able to qualify for cancellation of student loan debt.

The programs below don’t even get into all of the other excellent student loan relief opportunities offered by the military either, from the excellent Post 9/11 GI Bill Education Benefits package, to the awesome Military Tuition Assistance and Deferment programs.

If you’re having trouble paying off your student loans, then you should consider looking to the military for help.


The Military College Loan Repayment Programs

Overview

Each branch of the United States Military offers it’s own version of a student loan forgiveness benefits, but some of them have better rewards than others.

Benefits are best in the Army and Navy, who each allow enlistees to qualify for up to $65,000 in total lifetime forgiveness benefits, but they’re still good in the Air Force and Coast Guard as well. Marines, unfortunately, get nothing. Sorry guys.

However, there’s a couple huge catches when it comes to qualifying for Military College Loan Repayment Program benefits – they’re only available to new enlistees, participation in the program requires sacrificing Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits (unless you agree to serve for a longer period of time), and participation in the program must be written into your original enlistment contract.

For those of you already in the military, it’s too late to take advantage of these benefits.

Oh, and I keep getting comments on my pages about these programs that the Government is not actually paying off what they’ve promised to do.

I’ve been looking into it and I haven’t been able to find a good answer on why this is occuring, but I’ve heard from many Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen that benefits are not being paid in a timely fashion.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • See the rules for each specific service branch below

    Qualifying Loans:

  • See the rules for each specific service branch below

How to Apply

See below.


The Army Student Loan Repayment Program

Overview

For Soldiers, there’s virtually no better way to wipe out your debt than taking advantage of the Army Student Loan Repayment Program (typically referred to as SLRP).

Army offers up to $65,000 in Federal student loan forgiveness benefits, making it one of the most powerful forgiveness programs on offer, and one that anyone buried in student loan debt should give some serious consideration.

Army SLRP benefits are paid out annually, awarded to cover a certain percentage of your outstanding student loan debt (33.33% of whatever’s left), and issued after each year of service that you complete.

The big downside to the SLRP program is that you can only receive these benefits if they were written into your original enlistment contract.

Already in the Army? Unfortunately, it’s too late for you to enroll in this program.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must have Army SLRP benefits written into your original enlistment contract
  • You must complete at least one year of service with the United States Army
  • You must decline participation in the Post 9/11 GI Bill, in writing
  • You must hold a high school diploma (GED won’t cut it) at the time of your enlistment
  • You must score at least a 50 on the Armed Forces Qualification Test
  • You must enlist in an MOS deemed eligible for the program at the time of your enlistment
  • You must not have served in the military before (unless you’re enlisting in the Reserves now)
  • You must have a student loan that qualifies for the program (one insured or guaranteed by the Higher Education Act of 1965, Title IV, Part B, D, or E)

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Loans that were made, insured or guaranteed under the Federal Family Education Loan Program, the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, or the under the Federal Perkins Loans Program
  • Loans that were made to cover education purposes, and made by a lender that is an agency or instrumentality of a State, a financial or credit institution, or an insurance company subject to examination and supervision by an agency of the U.S. or a State, or from a pension fund or non-profit private entity subject to a case-by-case review and approval

How to Apply

That part is pretty easy – when you go to enlist with the United States Army, speak to your recruiter and make sure that he puts participation in the Army SLRP program on your contract, in writing.


The Army Reserves College Loan Repayment Program

Overview

This program is about the same as the standard Army SLRP program for active-duty Soldiers, except that you qualify it by joining the Reserves, and that you only qualify for having half the amount forgiven for each year of service you complete.

Instead of getting the 33.33% of your remaining loan debt forgiven per year (like with Army SLRP), the Reserves CRLP program will earn you forgiveness for 15% of your outstanding loan balance after each completed year of service.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • Same as Army SLRP (just replace “Army” with “Army Reserves”)

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Same as Army SLRP

How to Apply

Same as Army SLRP – when you go to join the Army Reserves, make sure that your recruiter includes participation in Army Reserves CLRP on your contract, in writing.


The Navy College Loan Repayment Program

Overview

The Navy College Loan Repayment Program is the best student loan forgiveness benefit available to Sailors.

Navy CLRP benefits are identical to those offered by the Army, allowing Sailors to qualify for having up to $65,000 in total Federal student loan debt forgiven.

Like Army SLRP, this benefit is offered incrementally, with a set 33.33% of the outstanding loan balance on qualifying loans being forgiven after each year of service the Sailor completes.

And like Army SLRP, Navy CLRP benefits are only available to new Sailors, and participation in the program must be written into your original enlistment contract.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must request to participate in Navy CLRP while enlisting for the first time (or while joining the Reserves)
  • You must get your request to participate in writing on your original enlistment contract
  • You must decline participation in the Post 9/11 GI Bill, in writing
  • If you’re joining the active-duty Navy, you must agree to serve for at least four years
  • If you’re joining the Navy Reserves, you must agree to serve for at least six years
  • You must have student loans that meet the eligibility conditions outlined below
  • You must enlist in a rating (your specific job) deemed eligible for the program at the time of your enlistment

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Only Federally-funded Title IV student loans are eligible for Navy CLRP
  • Examples of qualifying loans include: Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans, Federally Insured Student Loans, Supplemental Loans for Students, Parent PLUS Loans and Direct Consolidation Loans

How to Apply

When you go to enlist with the Navy, make sure that your recruiter puts your request to participate in this program on your enlistment contract, in writing.


The Navy Reserves College Loan Repayment Program

Overview

Naval Reserves members are eligible to receive similar benefits as active-duty Sailors, but at a reduced rate.

For each year of completed service in the Reserves, Sailors are eligible to have 15% of the outstanding principal balance of their qualifying loans forgiven.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • Same as active-duty Navy CLRP

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Same as active-duty Navy CLRP

How to Apply

Make sure that your enlistment contract spells out your participation in the program, in writing. If you fail to get this documented on the contract, you will not be able to leverage these benefits.


The Air Force College Loan Repayment Program

Overview

The Air Force College Loan Repayment Program offers $10,000 in student loan repayment benefits to encourage the enlistment of new Airmen.

Like the Army and Navy repayment program, this is also only available to new enlistees, and participation in Air Force CLRP must be stated in writing on your enlistment contract.

Also like the Army and Navy version of the same program, you must agree to forget Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits in order to participate. The only way to get around that is to agree to enlist for 6 years (allowing you to take advantage of both CLRP benefits, and the Post 9/11 GI Bill).

Air Force CLRP pays out benefits in annual installments, paying down 33.33% of your oustanding student loan debt for each year of service that you complete, until you’ve reached the lifetime maximum of $10,000 in total debt forgiveness.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must have no prior military service
  • You must agree to enlist for at least four years
  • You must agree to forfeit eligibility for Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Only Federal student loans are eligible for this benefit, including
  • Stafford Loans
  • Perkins Loans
  • Auxiliary Loan Assistance for Students (ALAS Loans)
  • Parents Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS Loans)
  • Federally Insured Student Loans (FISL Loans)

How to Apply

Like all the other military college loan repayment programs, you’ll need to speak to your recruiter at the time of enlistment.

You will only be able to exercise these benefits if your participation in the program is spelled out in writing on your enlistment contract.


The National Defense Student Loan Discharge Program

Overview

The National Defense Student Loan Discharge offers debt forgiveness to military personnel who funded their college expenses with National Defense Student Loans or Federal Perkins Loans.

This program requires completing one full year of service in a branch of United States military while deployed to a hostile fire or imminent danger pay area.

Unfortunately, the amount of money that can be forgiven as part of this program is not publicized anywhere. All I know is that it offer a partial cancellation.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must complete a full year of service in the United State military while deployed to a hostile fire or imminent danger pay area

    Qualifying Loans:

  • National Defense Student Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loans

How to Apply

If you believe that you satisfy the conditions of this program, you’ll need to send a copy of your DD214 (military discharge form) and a letter of explanation (explaining that you completed a year of service in the hostile fire or imminent danger pay area) to whoever services your loan.

In your letter, make sure to state clearly that you qualify for the National Defense Student Loan Discharge, and say that you want them to apply it to your account.

The Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment Program

Overview

The Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment Program is for military personnel who are fully qualified health professionals (as determined by the United States military) who service in an identified skill-shortage area.

To qualify for this benefit, you must also serve as a commissioned officer, and on active duty. Members of reserves units will not be eligible for the program.

This is an excellent program, as it offers up to $40,000 in student loan forgiveness benefits.

One other huge benefit to this program is that even Private Student Loans are eligible for forgiveness here. That’s exceptionally rare! In fact, this may be the only true forgiveness program for private student loan debt.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must be a commissioned officer in the United States military
  • You must be serving on active duty
  • You must be a fully qualified health professional, serving in a skill-shortage area

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Perkins Loans
  • Health Professions Student Loans (HPSLs)
  • Private Student Loans

How to Apply

You can find detailed instructions on how this program works, as well as how to apply for it here.

The Military Reserve Health Professionals Loan Repayment Program

Overview

The Military Reserve Health Professionals Loan Repayment Program offers even more money than than the Active Duty program of the same name!

This benefit offers up to $50,000 in total student loan forgiveness, with up to $20,000 of forgiveness offered for each year of completed service.

To qualify for the program, you must either possess professional qualifications in a health profession that the Secretary of Defense has determined to be critically needed to meet medical skill shortages, or you must be enrolled in a program that will lead to the similar professional qualifications.

Your length of service after the qualifying student loan was disbursed is what determines how much money you’ll receive each year, and in total.

Like the Active Duty program of the same name – this is an excellent and unique opportunity for those who seek forgiveness from private loans.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must possess professional qualifications in a health profession deemed in critical shortage, or be enrolled in a program and working on attaining similar qualifications
  • You must perform satisfactory service in the Selected Reserve of a branch of the United States Armed Forces

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Perkins Loans
  • Health Professions Student Loans (HPSLs)
  • Private Student Loans

How to Apply

To apply for this benefit, you’ll need to speak to a Reserves recruiter.

The National Guard Student Loan Repayment Program

Overview

The National Guard Student Loan Repayment Program offers up to $50,000 in total student loan debt benefits, with up to $7,500 in forgiveness offered for each year of completed service.

This program is another incentive for new enlistees, and requires signing up for a minimum service contract of at least 6 years.

You must also fill a critical skills vacancy in the grade of E-4 or below, and be joining to hold a qualifying position in a Modified Table of Organization and Equity (MTOE) or Medical Table of Distribution Allowances (TDA) unit.

Finally, you must score at least 50 on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT).

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must be a new enlistee in the National Guard
  • You must agree to serve for at least 6 years
  • You must fill a critical skills vacancy at E-4 or below
  • You must serve in an MTOE or TDA unit
  • You must score at least 50 on the AFQT

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Perkins Loans

How to Apply

This is another Military Forgiveness Program that must be spelled out in writing on your enlistment contract, so to apply you’ll need to speak with a recruiter.

State-Based Forgiveness Programs

Getting out of student loan debt isn’t easy, but one way to get some assistance is by looking for help from your state of residence.

Most of the states offer some form of student loan debt forgiveness, though the amount of support definitely varies from place to place.

If you want help cancelling student loans, then don’t neglect the state-based opportunities listed below.

Alaska’s Supporting Health Care Access Through Loan Repayment Program

Overview

The Alaska Supporting Health Care Access Through Loan Repayment Program offers exceptional benefits, with up to $35,000 of forgiveness offered per year for a period of up to 2 years.

That’s $70,000 in debt forgiveness on the table, and it can be yours for simply operating as a licensed primary health care professional practicing in a federally designated health shortage area.

The amount of money you’ll receive is based on your specific field (more money goes to fields with greater shortages, and with more specific skill-sets).

But the best part about this program might be that it covers both federal student loans, as well as private loans.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must be a licensed primary health care professional
  • You must practice in a federally designated health professional shortage area in Alaska

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Perkins Loans
  • Private Student Loans

How to Apply

To apply for these benefits, visit the official program website here.

Arkansas’s State Teacher Education Program (STEP)

Overview

The STEP program offers yearly loan repayment grants to current teachers teaching in a subject or geographic shortage area within the Arkansas public school system.

Teachers must reapply for the benefits each year, and they are only eligible to receive it for up to three years.

Under this program, you can receive up to $4,000 in loan forgiveness per year of qualifying service.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must have graduated from a teacher education program after April 1st, 2004
  • You must be teaching in either a geographic shortage area, or a subject matter shortage area
  • You must be a bona fide Arkansas resident for at least 12 months prior to the annual application deadline
  • You must be a citizen of the United States, or a lawful permanent resident
  • You must have outstanding Federal student loans
  • You must hold a valid Arkansas teacher’s license

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Perkins Loans

How to Apply

You can apply for the STAR program at the Arkansas Department of Higher Education website here.

Arkansas’s State Teacher Assistance Resource Program

Overview

The Arkansas State Teacher Assistance Resource Program (also called “Arkansas STAR”) offers up to $18,000 in total student loan debt forgiveness benefits.

To qualify for the benefit, you must be a full-time teacher who graduated after April 1st, 2004, and you must teach at an Arkansas public school found within a designated critical teacher shortage area, or within a subject that has been designated to have a critical shortage of teachers.

For satisfying both conditions above (both the critical shortage geographic area and the critical shortage subject matter area), you will receive up to $6,000 per year for 3 years.

For satisfying just one of the conditions above (either the critical shortage geographic area or the critical shortage subject matter area), you will receive up to $3,000 per year for 3 years.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must be a full-time teacher at an Arkansas public school located in an area designated as having a critical shortage of teacher, or be teaching in a subject matter area designated as having a critical shortage of teachers
  • You must have graduated from a teacher education program after April 1st, 2004
  • You must be a resident of Arkansas for at least 6 months before applying

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Perkins Loans

How to Apply

To apply for the Arkansas STAR Program, please visit their official website here.

California’s State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP)

Overview

The California State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) was created to encourage more people to join the growing primary healthcare profession, and it offers a serious incentive: up to $160,000 in total student loan debt forgiveness benefits.

While this program is only eligible to be applied to Federal student loans, it’s still extremely powerful and absolutely worth leveraging if you satisfy the eligibility conditions outlined below.

If you do satisfy the conditions of the program, you’ll receive $50,000 per year for a 2 year commitment, $40,000 per year for a 3 or 4 year commitment, or $30,000 per year for a 5 year commitment.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • You must be a California resident
  • You must be a licensed primary healthcare professional
  • You must provide healthcare services in federally designated professional shortage areas to improve access to healthcare in “underserved” areas within the great state of California
  • You must provide at least 40 hours per week of primary care in California, for a minimum of 2 years
  • You must not operate as a private practice (they do not qualify for this program)

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Perkins Loans

How to Apply

Visit the official website for the California SLRP Program here.

Colorado’s Health Service Corps Program

The Colorado Health Service Corps student loan debt forgiveness program was created to encourage more people to get into the ever-growing, always-needed field of primary care.

This program offers up to $75,000 in total student loan debt forgiveness for primary care providers (Doctors, Psychologists, Pharmacists, Nurse Practitioners, Physician’s Assistants, and a variety of other positions), and up to $100,000 in total debt forgiveness for Dentists.

To qualify for the benefit, you must work in one of the Eligible Health Professions listed below, serve at one of the “Approved Sites” (find a link to them below) and agree to a minimum service obligation of three years.

It’s worth it though, because the program supports both federal and private student loan borrowers, and since it offers so much money, I think it’s an excellent incentive for anyone looking to break into healthcare, regardless of how you plan on financing your education costs.

If you satisfy the eligibility conditions of the program, you will receive up to $35,000 per year for up to 3 years (depending on your field of practice), and if you’re a Dentist, you are eligible for an additional $25,000 for an extra 2 year service commitment.

Overview

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must practice in a Health Professional Shortage Area, delivering primary health care services in a public or nonprofit clinic
  • Your practice must accept public insurance and offer discounted services to low-income, uninsured patients on a sliding fee scale
  • You must serve in one of the primary care positions from the Eligible Health Professions list below
  • You must serve at one of the “Approved Sites” found on the list located here
    Eligible Health Professions:

  • Doctors of Osteophatic or Allopathic Medicine (Family Medicine, General Internal Medicine, General Psychiatry, General Child Psychiatry, General Obstetrics and Gynecology, General Pediatrics or Geriatrics)
  • Clinical Pharmacists (PharmD)
  • Dentists (General and Pediatric)
  • Licensed Clinical or Counseling Psychologists (Ph.D., Psy.D.)
  • Licensed Clinical Social Workers (Master’s or Doctoral Degree in Social Work)
  • Licensed Professional Counselors (Master’s or Doctoral Degree with a Major Study in Counseling)
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (Master’s or Doctoral Degree with a Major Study in Marriage and Family Therapy)
  • Certified Nurse-Midwives
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Physician Assistants
  • Psychiatric Nurse Specialists
  • Registered Dental Hygienists

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Perkins Loans
  • Private Student Loans

How to Apply

To apply for benefits under the Colorado Health Service Corps loan repayment program, please visit the program’s official website here.

Delaware’s State Loan Repayment Program

Overview

The Delaware State Loan Repayment Program is another one created to encourage people to go into medical professions, and it offers quite a bit of money for those who choose to do so.

To qualify for the program, you must work ina designated healthcare professional shortage area within the state of Delaware, and in a geographic region that the Delaware Health Commission has designated as “underserved”.

Advanced degree healthcare practitioners are eligible to receive up to $105,000 for a 3 year service commitment, while mid-level degree practitioners are eligible for up to $52,000 for a 3 year commitment.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must be a designated healthcare professional
  • You must work in a healthcare professional shortage area
  • You must work at a location within a designated “underserved” geographic region
  • You must agree to a 3 year service commitment

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Perkins Loans
  • Private Student Loans

How to Apply

Visit the official program website here.

Florida’s Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program

Overview

This program offers up to $16,000 in forgiveness benefits for federal or private student loans, doling the benefits out at a rate of $4,000 per year for a maximum of 4 total years.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must be a licensed practical nurse (LPN), a registered nurse (RN) or an advanced registered nurse practitioner in the state of Florida
  • You must work full-time at a state-of-Florida-operated medical or healthcare facility, public school, Department of Health, county health department, federally sponsored community health center, teaching hospital, family practice teaching hospital or specialty hospital for children
  • If you work at a different Florida-licensed hospital, birth center or nursing home, then the place you work must agree to match the money provided by this program on a dollar-for-dollar basis via contributions

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Perkins Loans
  • Private Student Loans
  • Loans must have been obtained to cover nursing education expenses, or living expenses during the time period that you were studying nursing

How to Apply

Navigate to the official program page here.

Georgia’s Physicians for Rural Areas Assistance Program

Overview

The Georgia Physicians for Rural Areas Assistance Program was created to encourage physicians to practice medicine full time in rural counties throughout the state of Georgia, and it offers some excellent incentives for anyone willing to do so.

If you practice medicine for at least 40 clinical hours per week in a Georgie county that has less than 35,000 people,

This program offers up to $100,000 in forgiveness benefits, with up to $25,000 per year for a maximum of 4 years.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must practice medicine for at least 40 clinical hours per week in a Georgia County with a population of fewer than 35,000 people (based on the 2010 Census Count)
  • You may split your practice time between two or more counties, but all of them must be under the 35,000 population limit
  • You may own the practice, or you may be employed by a hospital, community health center, group medical practice or other health care organization (and it need not be a nonprofit)
  • You must participate in Medicaid, and you must agree to accept new patients insured by Medicaid, whom you’ll actively treat
  • You must sign a contract with the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce, agreeing to the terms and conditions of the program

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Perkins Loans
  • Private Student Loans

How to Apply

Visit the official page for the Georgia Physicians for Rural Areas Assistance Program here.

Illinois’s Nurse Educator Loan Repayment Program

Overview

The Illinois Nurse Educator Loan Repayment Program was created to address the shortage of nurses and lack of instructors teaching nursing in Illinois.

The program offers up to $20,000 in total student loan forgiveness benefits, with the possibility of earning $5,000 per year, for up to a maximum of four years.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen
  • You must be an Illinois resident
  • You must have an outstanding balance on a loan used to pay for nursing education expenses
  • You must be a nurse educator who meets licensing requirements of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
  • You must have worked as a nurse educator who instructed practical or professional nurses in an approved Illinois institution for at least the past 12 consecutive months before your application date
  • You must not be in default on any federal student loans, nor owe a refund on any scholarship or grant programs administered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC)

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Perkins Loans
  • Nursing Student Loans (NSLs)
  • Supplemental Loans for Students (SLS)
  • Private Student Loans
  • Institution Student Loans

How to Apply

Visit the official Illinois Nursing Student Loan Repayment Program website here.

Illinois’s Teachers and Child Care Providers Loan Repayment Program

Overview

The Illinois Teachers and Child Care Providers Loan Repayment Program was created to encourage academically talented students to teach in Illinois schools in low-income areas.

This program offers up to $5,000 to qualifying teachers to help repay their student loan debt. Due to budget cuts, the program no longer offers awards for Child Care Providers, but it is still available to teachers.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen
  • You must be an Illinois resident
  • You must have already had an amount of your educational loans forgiven under the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
  • You must fulfill a five-year teaching obligation in an Illinois elementary or secondary school that was designated as a low-income school

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans

How to Apply

Visit the official program page on the ISAC website here.

Illinois’s Veterans’ Home Nurse Loan Repayment Program

Overview

The Illinois Veterans’ Home Nurse Loan Repayment Program was created as an incentive to encourage nurses to pursue careers at veterans’ homes in the state.

This program offers up to $20,000 in total student loan forgiven, at the rate of up to $5,000 per year, for a maximum of four years.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen
  • You must be an Illinois resident
  • You must be a nurse who meets licensing requirements of the Illinois Departmetn of Financial and Professional Regulation
  • You must be a nurses who completed the prescribed employment probationary period, and your employment must be in good standing according to the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs
  • You must complete a separate 12 month period as a registered professional nurse of licensed practical nurse in an approved State of Illinois veterans’ home (located in Anna, LaSalle, Manteno and Quincy, Illinois) for each year that you receive the award
  • You must not be in default on any federal student loans, nor owe a refund on any scholarship or grant programs administered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC)

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Nursing Student Loans (NSLs)
  • Supplemental Loans for Students (SLS)
  • Private Student Loans
  • Institutional Loans
  • Perkins Loans

How to Apply

Visit the official Illinois Veterans Home Nurse Loan Repayment Program page on the ISAC website here.

Iowa’s Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program

The Iowa Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program offers loan repayment assistance to fully licensed teachers who started their original classroom teaching positions in Iowa after July 1st, 2007, and who are employed in a teacher shortage area as designated by the Iowa Department of Education.

The way the forgiveness works is a little tricky, because it’s based on a percentage, rather than a dollar value. If you qualify for the program, you’ll be eligible to have 20% of your remaining student loan balance (including both principal and interest) forgiven each year.

The maximum amount of money you can apply for is determined annually, and is set at 20% of your outstanding student loan balance, except that during your first year after graduating from school, you’re limited to applying for an amount that is no higher than the average resident tuition rate for students attending Iowa’s Regent Universities.

Overview

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must be a fully licensed instructional teacher who started teaching in Iowa on or after July 1st, 2007
  • You must teach in a shortage area, as designated by the Iowa Department of Education
  • You must be in good standing with all of your Federal student loan accounts

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Consolidation Loans

How to Apply

To view eligible shortage areas and get additional information about the program, including how to apply for the benefit, please visit its official website here.

Kansas’s State Loan Repayment Program

Overview

The Kansas State Loan Repayment Program was created to help healthcare professionals working in Kansas get rid of their student loan debt, and offers eligible Physicians and Dentists up to $30,000 in annual assistance for up to 2 years, and up to $25,000 in annual assistance for other health professionals.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must be an eligible health professional working in Kansas
  • You must commit to provide healthcare services at an eligible site in a Federally-designated health professional service area for at least 2 years
  • Your employment must be at a public or nonprofit private agency or facility
  • Your practice site must maintain an open door to all residents regardless of their ability to pay for services

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Perkins Loans
  • Private Student Loans

How to Apply

Navigate to the official website for the Kansas State Loan Repayment Program here.

Kansas’s Bridging Plan

Overview

The Kansas Bridging Plan was created to help family practice, internal medicine and pediatrics Doctors pay down their student loan debt, offering them up to $26,000 in forgiveness benefits.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must be a physician in a Kansas residency program
  • You must be in family practice, internal medicine or pediatrics
  • You must commit to practicing medicine after your residency for 36 months in a rural community in Kansas

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Student PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Perkins Loans
  • Private Student Loans

How to Apply

Point your browser to the official website for the Kansas Bridge Bridging Plan here.

Kentucky’s Large/Food Animal Veterinary Incentive Program

Overview

The Kentucky Large/Food Animal Veterinary Incentive Program was created to help encourage more people to get into veterinary care for large/food animal medicine in Kentucky. This program offers eligible borrowers up to $6,000 per year for up to 3 years, for a total of $18,000 in total debt relief.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must have either a degree in veterinary medicine from an accredited college or university, or have completed an accredited 2-year veterinary technician or 4-year veterinary technologist program
  • You must be accredited by the USDA-APHIS to perform veterinary medical tasks in Kentucky
  • You must be a veterinarian, veterinary technician, or veterinary technologist
  • You must practice mostly large/food animal medicine in the state of Kentucky
  • You must work at a practice that devotes over half of its time to large/food animals
  • You must apply to the program within the first 2 years after graduation
  • You must have borrowed loans to cover the costs of veterinary education

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Private Student Loans
  • Institutional Loans
  • Perkins Loans

How to Apply

This program was suspended in January, 2013, but may return. We’ve left it in this list in case it comes back.

Maryland’s Janet L. Hoffman Loan Assistance Program

Overview

The Janet L. Hoffman Loan Assistance Program (LARP) was created to help anyone who graduated from a Maryland education institution. It offers different levels of debt relief to people with different annual salaries.

    Debt Relief by Salary

  • Total Debt Less than $15,000: you may receive up to $1,500 per year
  • Total Debt Between $15,001 – $40,000: you may receive up to $3,000 per year
  • Total Debt Between $40,001 – $75,000: you may receive up to $6,000 per year
  • Total Debt Over $75,000: you may receive up to $10,000 per year

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must be a Maryland resident
  • You must have graduated from a Maryland school or university
  • You must work full time in public service in Maryland state, or for a local government or nonprofit agency in Maryland
  • You must work to serve low-income or under-served residents
  • You must gross less than $60,000 per year
  • You must not have a combined gross (if married) over $130,000 per year
  • You must be a lawyer, nurse, nurse faculty member, physical or occupational therapist, social worker, speech pathologist, physician assistant, or teacher

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Perkins Loans
  • Private Student Loans

How to Apply

Visit the official page for the Janet L. Hoffman Loan Assistance Repayment Program (LARP) here.

Massachusetts’s Loan Repayment Program

Overview

The Massachusetts Loan Repayment Program (MLRP) provides student loan repayment benefits for primary health professionals operating across a wide range of disciplines, including those working in Dental, Medical and Mental Health. This program was created to encourage more people to practice in these areas within communities where there is an existing significant shortage of qualified health care providers.

The program offers up to $50,000 in student loan debt forgiveness for a two-year contract, with award amounts that vary based on your discipline. Also of important note, award amounts cannot be larger than your outstanding student loan balance.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must be licensed to practice in Massachusetts
  • You must commit to practicing two years full-time, or the equivalent extended commitment part time (like 20 hours per week for 4 years)
  • You must provide services at an eligible facility or in an eligible setting, meaning either: Component A: You’re an eligible health professional and you’re employed by or hav ea contract to practice in eligible public or non-profit healthcare organization located in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA); or, Component C: You are a primary care physician (M.D. or D.O.), physician assistant, nurse practitioner, behavioral or a mental health care professional, or substance abuse disorder counselor
  • You may not be concurrently taking part in any other government loan repayment plan or be a member of the National Health Service Corps
  • You must apply between March 1st and July 31st

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Perkins Loans

How to Apply

Download your Application by visiting the official page for Massachusetts Loan Repayment Program (MLRP) for Health Professionals here, or here.

Minnesota’s Loan Forgiveness Program

Overview

The Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program offers up to $25,000 per year for either a 3 or 4 year contract working as an eligible health professional. The amount of money awarded depends on your field, and the specific location where you practice. To find out how much you can get, please visit the official website for this program here.

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must work as a health professional in a designated rural area in MInnesota, which means that you workin a statutory and home rule charter city or township that is outside the seven-county metropolitan area, as defined in section 473.121, subdivision 2 excluding the cities of Duluth, Mankato, Moorhead, Rochester and St. Cloud.
  • You must commit to either a 3 year or 4 year contract
  • See the link above or below for additional details (this program is more complicated than most of the others listed on this page, as benefits eligibility requirements are specific to different professions

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Perkins Loans
  • Private Student Loans

How to Apply

Visit the official page of the Minnesota Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Program here.

Minnesota’s Dentist Loan Forgiveness Program

Overview

The Minnesota Dentist Loan Forgiveness Program was created to recruit and retain Dental health care professionals in needed areas and facilities within Minnesota. This program offers substantial financial benefits to Dental workers in communities with a shortage of access to primary care services.

This program offers up to $30,000 per year for a maximum period of four years, with the total amount of forgiveness offered not to exceed $120,000 total, or the balance of your designated loans (whicheves is less).

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

  • You must be a Dental student, resident, or licensed Dentist
  • You must plan to serve, or be serving at least 25% of your annual patient encounters to state public program enrollees, or to patients receiving a sliding fee schedule in Minnesota
  • You must submit an application to the ORHPC during the open application cycle as a practicing dentist, or while completing dental school or residency training
  • You must agree to practice at least 30 hours per week, for at least 45 weeks per year, for a minimum of three years
  • You must begin your service obligation no later than March 31st following completion of your dental program (and you must complete your dental program, as stated in your application)
  • You may participate in the program for up to four years

    Qualifying Loans:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Private Student Loans
  • Institutional Loans
  • Perkins Loans

How to Apply

To get your application, please visit the official page for the Minnesota Dentist Loan Forgiveness Program here.

Minnesota’s Veterinary Loan Repayment Program

Overview

Eligibility Rules

    General Requirements:

    Qualifying Loans:

How to Apply

Mississippi’s Teacher Loan Repayment Program

Montana’s Quality Educator Loan Assistance Program

New York’s District Attorney & Indigent Legal Services Attorney Loan Forgiveness Program

New York’s State-Licensed Social Worker Loan Forgiveness Program

New York’s Nursing Faculty Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program

North Dakota’s Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) Occupations Student Loan Program

North Dakota’s Teacher Shortage Loan Forgiveness Program

North Dakota’s Veterinarian Loan Repayment Program

Oklahoma’s Dental Loan Repayment Program

Rhode Island’s Educational Loan Repayment Program for Primary Care Providers

Rhode Island’s Dental Educational Loan Repayment Program

Texas’s Teach for Texas Loan Forgiveness Program

Vermont’s Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) Incentive Program

Virginia’s Loan Repayment Program

Wyoming’s Healthcare Professional Loan Repayment Program

Loan Discharge / Cancellation Programs

Closed School Discharge

Unpaid Refund Discharge

Disaster Relief Discharges

The Spouses & Parents of Victims of September 11th, 2001 Forgiveness Program

Financial Hardship Discharges

Bankruptcy Discharges

Income-Based Repayment Discharges

Income-Contingent Repayment Discharges

The Pay As You Earn Forgiveness Discharge

Fraud Discharges

False Certification Due to Identify Theft

False Loan Certification

Medical Discharges

Death Discharges

Total and Permanent Disability Discharges

I Can’t Make My Payments – What Should I do?

Join the Resistance (Become a Debt Striker!)

Of course, you do have other options for dealing with your student loan debt.

One option is to join the Corinthian 15, pledge your fealty to the cause of the strikers, and simply refuse to pay back your loans, but this would be a foolhardy decision to make without a lot of careful consideration.

My personal thinking is that there is no way that this will end well for the strikers.

Yes, they are gaining national media attention and starting a more public narrative about the problems faced by those with excessive student loan debt, but will these strikers be able to procure low interest loans to purchase new homes, cars, or start families in the near future? I doubt it.

Be careful about joining up with the growing resistance. As all resistances go, the early adopters carry the most risk, and there’s no guarantee that any of the people participating now will see a light at the end of the tunnel – ever.

Remember that Defaulting on Student Loans is no laughing matter. In fact, it’s probably the worst financial decision that you could ever make.

Get a Personal Loan to Help Make Payments

It’s possible to raise money from other lenders to help pay back your student loans, you’ll just have to be careful about picking the right lender.

If you’re already facing tough a tough financial situation, and having trouble raising money to make your monthly payments, then you may need to rely on short-term collateral loans to get some cash.

If you’re doing alright, have a good income, but have credit problems, then you’ll want to check out some of the lenders who offer personal loans for people with poor credit.

Refinance or Consolidate Your Debt

If you’re doing great, have good credit, but want to reduce your monthly payments and make things more affordable in the short-run, then you’ll want to speak with one of the Best Student Loan Debt Consolidation Companies to work out a new financial arrangement for handling your debt.

As of the Summer of 2015, here are the top student loan consolidation companies in the business:

CompanyRates (APR)Loan TypesLoan TermEligible DegreesEligible Loans 
Lend-Key-Logo1.90% - 7.12%Variable & Fixed5, 10, 15Undergrad & GradPrivate & FederalApply Now
SoFi-Logo1.90% - 7.24%Variable & Fixed5, 10, 15, 20Undergrad & GradPrivate & FederalApply Now
Common-Bond-Logo1.93% - 6.14%Variable & Fixed5, 10, 15, 20Grad OnlyPrivate & FederalApply Now
Credible-Logo1.93% - 11.29%Variable & Fixed2 - 25Undergrad & GradPrivate & FederalApply Now

*In the interest of full disclosure, I may have affiliate agreements with some of the companies listed above.

What that means is that I will receive a small commission if you use my “Apply Now” links above to refinance your student loans.

Thoughts, Comments & Feedback

What do you think about the current state of the student loan debt crisis? Is there enough assistance offered to those holding massive student loans?

Will the millenials ever be able to afford their own houses, start families, and live a normal life? Or will they be always saddled by excessive student loan debt?

What could be done to improve the situation? Does anything need to be done? Or are people simply borrowing too much money without thinking of the long-term consequences?

Did I miss any debt forgiveness, reduction, discharge or cancellation opportunities that you’re aware of?

If you have the answers to any of these questions, please let me know in the comments section below.

Please Support This Site

This site takes a great deal of work to maintain.

I update content on a daily basis, investing hours of my time to ensure that you have access the latest, most accurate and most comprehensive information available anywhere online.

Please, if you learned something from visiting my site, consider sending a link to it to your friends and colleagues over email, or even Social Media.

The more people that visit Forget Student Loan Debt, the more time I can dedicate to ensuring that this remains the best resource on the web for people looking to find out how to get out of paying student loans.

Thank you for visiting, and thank you so much for your support!