Just because you have student loan debt — say $100,000+ — doesn’t mean you have to pay that all back. Like with many things in life, where there’s a will, there’s a way (out!). I had a portion of my own student loans forgiven, and share resources below that may help you.
But first, what is student loan forgiveness?
Forgiveness is exactly what it sounds like…the bank that you’re borrowing from (or a generous organization) pays all or a portion of your balance, or reduces your balance (if they’re your lender). I taught in a low-income school for two years, and had a portion of my student loans forgiven because of it.
The world is ripe with money. Institutions, banks, and government, all deal with gigantic sums of money. These are often the institutions that have forgiveness programs.
But, keep in mind that many programs are service and/or time based, and require you to prove service time. There may also be some that you may already qualify for but don’t even know it (that’s what happened with me). So do your research. Who knows…filling out some paperwork could save you a few thousand of dollars.
Here are a few popular programs, and some things to keep in mind about them:
If you serve in a government agency, nonprofit or other public service entity and make 120 payments (about 10 years of on time loan repayments), then the rest may be forgiven. There are forgiveness programs for teachers, nurses, lawyers, and almost anything in the nonprofit/public service world.
Keep in mind: By that time you’ve made 120 payments, then you’ve probably already paid it back fully. So do the math before filling out the paperwork. Also consider that you have to prove you’ve worked for a public service organization and that you’ve made those payments on time. I can barely remember what I did last Tuesday, let alone have to prove 10 years of employment. Some even require that you submit paper work every year, and get signatures from past employers (that was my case). So look into those now, and don’t wait until the end of the 10 year span.
Federal/Public Loan Forgiveness Resource:
- Federal Government’s Forgiveness Information: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation
- Form you’ll need to submit if you qualify: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/public-service-employment-certification-form.pdf
Some employers offer student loan repayment to their employees.
Keep in mind: These programs often pay back any education that’s relevant to your work with that employer, and only after a certain period of service. In other words, there’s often service time in exchange for repayment.
- Ask your Human Resources department if your employer has any loan forgiveness programs. It doesn’t hurt to ask! The answer may save you thousands.
- For Doctors:
- A loan repayment guide for doctors: http://studentloanhero.com/featured/ultimate-student-loan-repayment-guide-for-doctors/
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: https://nhsc.hrsa.gov/loanrepayment/
- For Lawyers:
- List of law schools with loan repayment assistance programs: http://www.equaljusticeworks.org/resources/student-debt-relief/law-school-lraps/list-law-school-lraps
- Resources outlined by the American Bar Association: http://www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education/resources/student_loan_repayment_and_forgiveness.html
There are several types of student loans (Perkins, Direct, Stafford, etc.), and there are programs that specify forgiveness for each. So, it may be well worth looking into forgiveness programs that are specific to your student loan type.
Keep in mind: Just like with Public Forgiveness Programs, there’s often some proof of service you’ll need to provide. So look into these now before time runs out.
– See what types of student loans you have and simply Google forgiveness programs for them. You never know what’s out there until you look.