Student loans are one of the biggest components of debts that people carry around from the time that they graduate all through their entire adult lives. People believe that once they get out of college and join the workforce, they will earn enough money to be able to pay off these loans and move ahead with their lives. What most people do not realize is that student loans most often have huge interest rates and the longer they go without being repaid, the more rapidly they accumulate. Student loans are a major source of anxiety for most college graduates (according to The Institute of College Access and Success, 71% of all degree-holding graduates from college had an average student debt of $29,400 in 2014). You should not be scared or feel alone when you have students loans. You should, however, be proactive in finding a way to deal with your loans.
What is Student Loan Debt Forgiveness?
They are programs that work with college graduates to help alleviate student loans (by forgiveness). You do not have to live with your student loans forever. Despite the fact that most student loan forgiveness programs have an eligibility criterium, there is a very good chance that you can find one that will be a good fit for you. Most students who are unsure of how to pay off their loans or how to refinance them can take advantage of these programs. Below are a few student loan forgiveness programs and their eligibility criteria that you can look through and identify which are a good match for your individual needs.
Military Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
If you happen to be a member of the U.S military, there are a lot of options available to you to get your student loans forgiven. These options also cover medical and health professionals that serve in the military. One of these options is the Health Professions Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP) which is basically an incentive for health professionals to join the army. There are other similar loan forgiveness programs that are available for the National Guard, U.S Navy as well as the U.S Army, so your best option is to speak to a recruiter about the options that you have for loan forgiveness if you are already enlisted in the U.S military or if you are thinking of joining.
State Specific Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
There are a lot of options for people who are residents of certain states. These are mostly related to health or teaching professions. For example, New York has a loan forgiveness program that offers teachers working in some specified shortage areas. It has a value of up to $24,000. To be eligible, teachers must have been working in New York public schools for at least 6 years. Texas and Illinois have similar programs for teachers that work in communities which have a shortage of teachers (values up to $2,500 and $5,000 respectively). For health care practitioners such as doctors and dentists, the quota is much higher. In New York, the Regent Physician Loan Forgiveness Award Program makes practicing physicians eligible to earn up to $10,000 each year for two yers in student loan debt forgiveness. States like Washington (up to $35,000 per year for two years) and Pennsylvania (up to $100,000 per year for two years) have similar programs for health care practitioners that serve in underserved communities. The Health Professions Education Loan Repayment Program in California also offers loan forgiveness for medical practitioners that live and work in the state.
The Obama Student Loan Forgiveness Program
This is a student loan forgiveness program that is targeted specifically at federal loans. It should be one of the first steps that you take if you have any federal student loans that you need forgiven because it is an excellent program that has helped thousands of college graduates with huge student loan debts. There are options within this forgiveness program that provide clemency to people who are diligent workers and regularly pay their debts.
These options include the Pay As You Earn plan (PAYE) that allows the rest of one’s loans to be forgiven after 20 years of controlled payments. The Income- Contingent Repayment plan (ICR) which provides clemency after 25 years if payments are made, and the Income- Based Repayment plan (IBR) that induces loan forgiveness after 20 or 25 years of regulated loan payments. This is a very good program that covers almost anyone with federal loans so it definitely has to be taken into consideration soon after graduation.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
For people who work in the public service, there are a few options to attain student loan forgiveness via the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). There are a few conditions attached to this program, though. The forgiveness can only be attained after 120 qualifying payments have been made while employed as a full-time worker with a qualifying public service employer. The rest of the loan is paid in full by the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan program. This is a very good option for people who want to work in public service because the salary is usually not enough for students to repay their loans in full without the help of an external organization. If you work for a qualifying public service employer, you should really consider this option as it may be a fantastic option to get rid of your heavy debt once and for all.
Other Professions and Occupations
There are some student loan forgiveness programs that are specific to a lot of different professions and occupations after graduation. These professions include teachers, law enforcers (such as attorneys and social workers), STEM majors (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and medical professionals. There are thousands of ways that your specific career field can help you get rid of your entire loan or a big part of it. A bit of research is required to find out which ones will be a good fit for your specific job.