Imagine waking up tomorrow and discovering you don’t need to pay back your federal Stafford, PLUS and Perkins loans. For many Americans, that dream is a reality, thanks to a number of programs that allow you to have some, if not all, of your loans forgiven.
Aside from applying for a loan discharge, which is available only under extreme circumstances, some career paths and post-graduate options will cover the cost of repaying your student loans. Here is an overview of some of the careers that may take advantage of those options:
Public Service Employees: If you work full time in a public service position, and make 120 payments (approximately ten years) on your loans while employed, you may be eligible to have the remaining balance forgiven. Public service positions include law enforcement officers, early education teachers, public librarians, emergency medical technicians and more.
Volunteers: Many volunteer organizations offer stipends and loan forgiveness options if you provide a certain number of hours of service. For example, AmeriCorps will offer $7400 in stipends on top of $4725 to be used toward your student loans, as well as partial cancellation of your Perkins Loan in exchange for 12 months of service. The PeaceCorps and VISTA also offer similar forgiveness options.
Teachers: Under the National Defense Education Act, full-time teachers in an elementary or secondary school for low-income families may be eligible to have as much as 30% of their Perkins Loan forgiven. Contact your school district’s administration to see which schools are eligible.
Lawyers: Sorry, the ambulance-chasers on TV aren’t eligible. But many law schools will forgive the loans of students who serve as a non-profit or public interest attorney. For more information, contact the National Association for Public Interest Law at 1-202-466-3686. Or, contact your law school’s financial aid office.
Physicians: Physicians who agree to practice for a certain number of years in economically depressed areas may be able to get some of their medical school loans forgiven by the National Health Service Corps. Check with your state agency for similar programs.
There are other options for repaying your student loans, including income-based repayment, forbearance and deferment. For more information on these options, visit our student loan repayment page.
If you are not eligible for any of the aforementioned repayment options, you might consider student loan consolidation, with can turn multiple loans (federal or private) into a low, single monthly payment and possibly lower your interest rate. For more information on student loan consolidation, visit our help page.
ScholarshipPoints code: 4GIVELOANS
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