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Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

Francine L. Huff
LoanBiz Columnist

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As tuition costs continue to soar, many college graduates will leave school with student loan debt near or in the six figures. Such heavy debt loads can make it difficult for people to get a handle on their finances after graduating. But choosing certain types of employment could help them qualify for a student loan forgiveness program.

Public Service Jobs

Graduates who are willing to work in a public service position for at least a decade may be eligible for loan forgiveness on the remaining balance of their federal student loans, including PLUS and consolidation loans. They must have made student loan payments over the 10 year period and loan payments made before October 1, 2007, don't count. Jobs that qualify include those in law enforcement and education. Among the loan forgiveness programs for teachers is one that pays up to $17,500 for high school math and science teachers who work in low-income schools for five years.

Military Service

Individual branches of the military have Student Loan Repayment Programs that can pay up to $65,000 in qualified loans for people enlisted in the Army and Air Force, and up to $10,000 for people in the Navy, according to FinAid. Army reservists may be eligible for student loan repayments of up to $20,000. In addition to loan forgiveness programs, different branches of the military also offer help with tuition and scholarships. The Montgomery GI Bill provides up to 36 months of education benefits to eligible veterans of all branches of the military. Funds can be used during active duty or after being discharged.

Student Loan Forgiveness for Medical Jobs

The National Health Services Corps and Nursing Education Loan Repayment Programs offer loan forgiveness to doctors and nurses who work for a certain number of years in economically depressed or remote areas. Other loan forgiveness programs for health professionals include those for people who are occupational and physical therapists, conducting AIDS research, or conducting clinical medical research.

A variety of student loan forgiveness programs are available. If you're a lawyer serving in a position of public interest or in a non-profit, you may be eligible for law school loan forgiveness. Perkins Loan borrowers may have loans forgiven for teaching in schools that serve low-income families. Anyone who thinks they may be eligible for one should talk to their employee benefits department or the financial aid office at their school. Residents of certain states and graduates of certain colleges may also qualify. And loan forgiveness isn't always for paid positions. Volunteering in the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps also can qualify individuals for student loan forgiveness programs.

Sources:
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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