Want Your Student Loan Forgiven? Here Are Five Different Ways

student loans

Student loans are great and offer millions of people opportunities that they would have never had otherwise. However, upon graduating, those same loans can feel crippling to people financially and make it actually seem as though they are actually preventing individuals from certain opportunities. The most ideal way to deal with student loans after you graduate is not to have to deal with them at all. In certain situations, you may qualify to have your student loan forgiven, which can help prevent you from getting in over your head with debt and give you a great start in your new life.

Start by asking the human resources department at your job if you qualify for student loan forgiveness. There are many jobs and companies that offer forgiveness programs, so it never hurts to ask. If you’re not working yet, or your job doesn’t offer these types of programs, below are five other ways to get your student loan forgiven that may be more applicable to you.

1. Become a Volunteer

It’s true that volunteering won’t pay you anything in cash, but it could save you some. When you volunteer at certain organizations such as AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, or Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), you may be able to have some of your student loan forgiven. Certain agencies will forgive as much as 70 percent of your student loan, although this percentage will vary depending on which organization you volunteer for. Each organization will also require that you volunteer for a certain number of hours, and the number of those hours will also depend on which agency you are volunteering for.

2. Teach

Becoming a teacher could also have your student loan forgiven. Unfortunately, this only applies to certain types of loans. If you have obtained a Perkins Loan from the federal government, you can have it forgiven if you become a teacher. To qualify, you must teach full-time, although you have a choice of working in an elementary, middle, junior, or high school. The school you work in must, however, serve children from low-income families. The amount of your student loan that is forgiven will depend on how long you teach. The longer you teach, the more of your loan will be forgiven.

Unfortunately, Florida does not offer a separate loan forgiveness program for teachers. However, the Perkins Loan program is federal and so, if you’ve qualified for this type of loan, you qualify for at least some portion of forgiveness.

3. Join the Service

There are many benefits that come with serving the country by joining the military. However, it’s important to know that only certain branches of the military offer student loan forgiveness programs. The Army, Army National Guard, Air Force, the Air Force National Guard, and the Navy all offer student loan forgiveness. The amount you can have forgiven will depend on the branch you join. The Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and the Air Force Reserves, on the other hand, do not currently have any student loan forgiveness programs.

4. Become a Lawyer or Doctor

Students become lawyers and doctors so that they can help people, but these professions also come with high six-figure incomes. Unfortunately, they’re going to need those incomes to pay for their student loan, which is also in the six figures by the time they graduate. Fortunately, there are many programs that provide student loan forgiveness for people in these professions.

Equal Justice Works forgives some student loan debt under their loan repayment assistance program. All you have to do is check to see if your school name is on the list and, if so, contact the financial aid department at your school to learn how to qualify. To be eligible, you will likely have to perform some volunteer work for a non-profit organization.

If you are a medical student, you can also have some of your student loans forgiven. The National Institutes of Health forgives student loan debt for students who are completing certain types of research. These include medical disparities, clinical research, and contraception research.

Even if you’ve already graduated, you may qualify for up to $50,000 in student loan forgiveness. The National Health Service Corps offers a Loan Repayment Program if you volunteer for two years at any clinic experiencing a shortage of healthcare workers. If you volunteer for longer than two years, or you perform additional duties than what is asked of you, you may qualify for additional loan forgiveness.

5. Wait

There are certain instances in which you may have your loan forgiven by simply waiting. To qualify, you must have obtained a federal student loan and you must be on an income-based repayment (IBR) plan. You are also only eligible if your student loans aren’t in default, and they are not ParentPLUS loans, or a ParentPLUS consolidation loan.

If you meet these eligibility requirements and work in public service, you will only have to wait 10 years. If you do not work in public service but still meet the eligibility requirements, you may have to wait up to 25 years.

Things to Know if Your Student Loan Is Forgiven

Although it seems as though there are no drawbacks to having your student loan forgiven, there are. Any time any of your debt is forgiven, the IRS counts it as taxable income. Depending on what you went to school for and how much you owe in student loans, this could mean that you’ll owe thousands of dollars in taxes. It may still be worthwhile to have a portion of your loan forgiven, but you’ll definitely have to take tax payments into consideration before deciding.

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