|By Wendy Clay on April 24, 2012
Attending college is one of the best ways to increase your lifetime earning potential, but the cost to do so increases more and more with each passing year. For those who were not lucky enough to get scholarships and grants to cover the cost of their education, the only other option is a student loan, but repaying loans after graduation can be a daunting task, especially when one has $40,000+ to pay. Fortunately, there are options to have portions, or all of your student loan debt forgiven.
Most forgiveness options listed below only apply to federal loans, but certain lenders also sponsor their own programs. With that being said, here are some opportunities to have your student loans forgiven:
These are just a few of the major loan forgiveness programs, but programs exist for many other professions from veterinarians to law enforcement officers. A great way to find opportunities would be to check national associations related to your profession, or if you are already employed, also check with the human resources staff at your current place of employment to see if they can help you determine your eligibility for programs other employees have participated in. Finally, note that generally forgiven loan debt will be considered taxable income except when forgiveness has been based upon working a set amount of years in particular professions, but this pertains only to federal taxes since every state has different guidelines regarding taxable income (check with the human resources staff for more information on this as well).
- Certain volunteer organizations—including AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA)—offer to pay off a set amount of volunteers’ student debt after they serve in the organization for a few years.
- Teachers can have portions of their loans forgiven if they teach in schools that serve students from low-income families or in schools with shortages in special education, math, science, and foreign language educators.
- For law students, opportunities for loan forgiveness exist for those serving in public interest or non-profit positions.
- For medical and registered nursing students, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers loan forgiveness for those that practice for a set period of time in areas lacking adequate medical care (i.e. remote or economically depressed areas), or for conducting clinical research. Many more opportunities for these professions exist and can be found on The American Association of Medical College’s database for medical school loan forgiveness programs.
Hopefully this information will inspire you to research your options for loan forgiveness and give you hope that there are ways to get a college education (almost) debt free.
Loan Forgiveness. FinAid Page, LLC, 2012. Web. 21 Apr. 2012
Taxability of Student Loan Forgiveness. FinAid Page, LLC, 2012. Web. 21 Apr. 2012