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Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

Francine L. Huff
LoanBiz Columnist

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Graduating college seniors carry an average cumulative student loan debt of $19,202, according to FinAid. Paying back these loans can pose a financial hardship for graduates who don't earn a large income. However, those who work in certain professions may be eligible for one of the federal government's student loan forgiveness programs.

Help for Volunteers

People who volunteer for certain organizations may be able to have all or part of their student loans cancelled. AmeriCorps offers $4,725 that can applied to the student loans of volunteers who serve for 12 months. Those in the Peace Corps can request deferment of Stafford, Consolidation, and Perkins federal student loans. They can also apply to have up to 70% of loans cancelled depending upon the length of service.

Aid for Those in Military

Those who serve in the Army National Guard may be eligible to receive up to $10,000 for repaying loans. The Student Loan Repayment Program can retire up to $65,000 in qualified loans for people in the Army, up to $65,000 for those in the Navy, and up to $10,000 for people in the Air Force. Private student loans don't qualify for this program.

Help for Teachers

People who decide to teach elementary or secondary school may be able to have part of their Perkins Loans forgiven. Under this program, 15% of loans would be forgiven the first and second years of teaching, 20% the third and fourth years, and 30% the fifth year. Other loan forgiveness programs may be available to teachers depending upon where they choose to teach.

Student Loans for Medical Studies

There are a variety of loan forgiveness programs for people in the medical profession. Doctors and nurses who commit to practicing in areas that lack adequate medical care may be eligible for help through the National Health Service Corps or the Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program. People conducting clinical medical research may be able to get up to $35,000 a year repaid by the National Institutes of Health.

Other student loan forgiveness programs are available to people in certain professions. For instance, law school graduates may get help if they serve in nonprofit or public interest positions. People who think their profession may qualify them for help repaying loans should contact their employer's human resources department.

Source
FinAid


About the Author
Francine L. Huff is a freelance journalist and the author of The 25-Day Money Makeover for Women. She has appeared on a variety of TV and radio shows.

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