With student loan debt continuing to rise and more and more graduates entering the job market, the pressure on graduates to find jobs and repay their loans is intense. With the average student loan debt for those who graduated in 2017 topped $37,000, many students and graduates are looking for ways to lower their loan payments and repay their loans sooner. Fortunately, there are a number of programs available specifically for loan forgiveness which allow borrowers to have their debt reduced or canceled in exchange for working in a certain field or sector or taking certain classes. Depending on the program, it can be difficult to qualify for loan forgiveness. However, if you are eligible and are willing to put in the time, patience, and effort, you can lower your student loan payments and have your loan discharged.
Teach for America
One remedy to reduce your loan amount is through the Teach for America program. This program provides a salary of $30,000 and opportunities for student loan forgiveness if you work in a certain field or sector. However, it’s important to note that this is not an easy process–you have to complete certain coursework and pass an assessment test before being accepted into the program. Once on board, many programs offer additional assistance with your loans, including reading assistance and family support as well as support from alumni.
Another option for loan forgiveness is through the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program which offers up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness over 5 years if teachers commit to teaching full-time in a low-income school for 5 years or more. You must be working at an eligible school to qualify for this program and the debt forgiven through this program does not count against the 10-year repayment limit. With these two options, you can lower your student loan payments considerably and have your debt reduced or canceled by 2022.
Army and Navy Graduate Loans (ANL)
One of the most popular student loan forgiveness programs is the Army and Navy Graduate Assistance Program (ANL). This program is available to graduates with a high school diploma or GED who have at least $12,000 in student loans accrued after high school.
To qualify for this program, you must enroll in classes at an accredited college and work full-time while enrolled. If you don’t meet these requirements and are not eligible for any other assistance program, your loan will be forgiven after 10 years of employment in the appropriate occupation.
The 10 year repayment period begins on the date you start working in your field. For example, if a graduate starts working as a doctor after graduation and takes out loans within 90 days of graduation, their loan will be forgiven after 10 years of service.
Federal Perkins Loan
The Federal Perkins Loan Program offers a loan forgiveness option for those who work in qualifying fields. You can apply for the program through your school or by filling out the application online. You must also have a minimum 3.0 GPA and be enrolled as a full-time student in an eligible degree or certificate program that leads to employment in one of the designated fields of study. The fields include: education, public service, social work, counseling, psychology, health care, home health care and nursing.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
Even with a graduate degree, it can be difficult to find a job in the field of education. With teacher loan forgiveness program, you can have your student loans forgiven after working full-time as an elementary school teacher for 10 years. This is a transferable program and if you take out additional loans to earn your doctorate, you are still eligible for forgiveness.
This program was created to help educators who are working in low-income communities and graduating with debt. It allows students to teach for at least five years before qualifying for forgiveness.
If you qualify for this program, you will have your loans forgiven after 10 years of teaching
Direct Loan Program
The Direct Loan Program is a federal assistance program offered to eligible students who need assistance with their student loans. This program will reduce the amount of your monthly payments if you agree to work in an eligible occupation for a specified period of time, up to 10 years. These occupations include:
-Other Healthcare Professionals
-Architects (Non Construction)
-Veteran’s Service Officers
-Journalists and Media Workers -Librarians (non library employees)
If you are interested in this program, learn about how it works and what your eligibility is here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/directloan/.
U.S. Department of Education Program
The U.S. Department of Education offers various loan forgiveness programs, including the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, and the Revised Pay as You Earn Repayment Plan (REPAYE).
With these programs, borrowers can have their loans forgiven or reduced in exchange for working in a certain field or sector or taking certain classes. Depending on the program and how long you’re committed to it, it can be difficult to qualify for loan forgiveness. It is important to understand that these programs are not guaranteed and they often require extensive documentation and time-consuming paperwork.
Federal and Private Bankruptcy
One option for student loan forgiveness is to file for bankruptcy. If you meet the qualifications, filing for personal bankruptcy could help you reduce your student loans faster than other options. However, there are many restrictions on who can file for personal bankruptcy. You cannot get student loan forgiveness with a personal bankruptcy filing.
Another option is federal student loan forgiveness programs such as Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). These programs have different requirements depending on which program you qualify for, but they offer some relief from the overwhelming stress of student loan debt.
In order to be considered for student loan forgiveness under the new rule, you must meet a number of requirements. You must have made 120 payments on your loan(s) under the Federal Perkins Loan, the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, or the Direct Loan Program. You must have completed at least five years of service in a qualifying public or nonprofit job and not owe more than $15,000 in federal student loans. If you are an active military member, you must have completed at least one year of service in the military. Finally, your combined federal student loan debt cannot exceed $150,000.
If you meet these requirements, you will be able to qualify for forgiveness on up to $57,500 of your federal student loans after you’ve made 120 payments on the loan(s). After you’ve made those 120 payments, any remaining balance will be forgiven.
If you are not eligible for the new forgiveness program, it doesn’t mean that your current student loans are without hope. There are plenty of options available to help you pay off your debt. Speak with an experienced lawyer to learn about your options for borrowing relief and debt relief.