How to Get Your Student Loans Forgiven

Posted by Kristen on April 28, 2015

Are you struggling to find ways to deal with your student loans?

We highlighted several ways that you can get rid of your federal student loans without paying them all off yourself in How to Get Rid of Your Student Loans (Without Paying Them Off).

photo by: jjinsf94115

(Photo Credit: jjinsf94115)

How to Get Your Student Loans Forgiven

If you are still struggling, you might want to consider some of these options to get a portion of your loans forgiven.

Volunteer or Military

There are volunteer organizations that offer partial loan forgiveness. Keep in mind that there is a set amount they can offer, and you will need to serve for a set amount of time and hours. Here are a few options:

  • Peace Corps: If you volunteer with the peace corps, you can apply for partial cancellation of a Perkins student loan. According to Finaid.org, you can get 15% of a Perkins loan cancelled for each year of service, up to 70% total. For more information, visit Peacecorps.gov.
  • AmeriCorps: If you serve for 12 months, you may be able to receive a $7,400 stipend plus $4,725 to be used towards your student loans. Visit The National and Community Service website for more information.
  • Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA): If you provide 1700 hours of service and receive $4,725 for towards your student loans. Visit their official website for more information.
  • Army National Guard: If you are in the Army National Guard and a student, you may be eligible to receive $10,000 as part of their Student Loan Repayment Program.

Choose a Job to Help Pay Your Loans

Depending on your field and your skills, you may be able to apply for a job that offers partial student loan forgiveness. These positions offer this loan forgiveness because they may be trying to bring in health care professionals, teachers, and more to areas that have a low population or low economic status. Many of these positions require you work for a set amount of years or you will have to pay back the money they awarded you. For more information, visit FinAid.org’s loan forgiveness website. Here are a handful of professions that may offer a type of loan forgiveness:

  • Teachers serving low income schools or schools that have a shortage on teachers
  • Lawyers who serve in public interest or non-profit positions
  • Nurses who practice a set number of years in an area that lacks medical care
  • Physicians who practice a set number of years in an area that lacks medical care
  • Occupational and physical therapists
  • Veterinarians who work in an area that there is a shortage

Move to Place that Helps Pay Your Loans

In an effort to bring young, college educated people to their area, there are cities, states, and regions that will offer to help pay down some of your student loans. Here are four places that will pay a portion of your student loans:

  • Detroit, Michigan
    The city offers college graduates $2,500 the first year they move to the city to use towards renting an apartment or condo within the city. For the second year, you can receive $1,000 towards renting an apartment or condo as well. If you buy a house there, you could be eligible for up to $20,000 in student loan forgiveness. For more information, check out DetroitLiveDowntown.org.
  • Niagara Falls, New York
    Sure, it may be the honeymoon capital of the world, but Niagara Falls has a severe shortage of young professionals. So the city decided to pay recent graduates up to $3,492 per year (up to two years) to move to the designated downtown area. The goal is to have educated, money-earning residents revitalizing the downtown area with new business and culture. To apply and learn more, visit live-nf.com.
  • Kansas
    The population in Kansas has decreased drastically over the last 100 years, and the entire state wants to encourage more economic growth and prosperity. Depending on the Rural Opportunity Zone (50 counties total), college graduates can earn student loan repayments up to $15,000 or Kansas income tax waivers for moving there. For the details, kansascommerce.com.
  • Saskatchewan, Canada
    Both Canadians and foreigners are eligible for up to C$20,000 in tuition reimbursement to live and work in Saskatchewan. You need to have graduated after 2006 to qualify, and will need to file income tax in Saskatchewan. For more information, visit the Government of Saskatchewan website.

These programs have specific requirements as to the type of school you attended, your employment status and salary, the field of your job, where you live, the type and amount of your student loans, and how long you stay in the area. Before you make any big decision on where to move, be sure to fully understand the ins and outs of the program as well as the area you’re settling down in.

Tips for Exploring Student Loan Forgiveness

  • Read the fine print. Many times, there is a specific agreement for student loan forgiveness. If you breach this agreement, you may have to forget about any student loan forgiveness and may even be subject to a fine. For example, a job may require you to work there for a set amount of time for a set amount of hours. If you are moving to a location that is reimbursing your student loans, you may have to live in a specific area for a specific amount of time.
  • Consider the costs. If it’s going to cost you a large amount of money to move across the country, it may make more sense just to stay put. The same is true if you can land a higher paying job in your current location as well.
  • Do your homework. Whatever organization or program you are considering, do a lot of research to fully understand what is involved and how it works. Ask questions to a professional that could help you understand how it works.
  • Reach out to your college’s financial aid department. You can speak with a counselor about student loan forgiveness options.

Have you had any experience with any of these student loan forgiveness programs? Would you ever do something like this to cope with student loans? How are you paying them back?

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