One of the best ways to get out of student loan debt is by getting into one of a number of programs that will lessen or forgive your student loans in return for joining. Most of the best of these programs are government run and require a commitment to direct your newly acquired college skills toward a specific career; it’s kind of like the government is subsidizing you for working in an area that needs your help. However, joining one of the following programs won’t narrow your career options as much you might at first think.
1. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
This is one of the best and broadest programs offered by the U.S. government to help reduce and forgive student debt. In exchange for working in public service you’ll have low monthly payments and be eligible for loan forgiveness after ten years of qualifying public service employment and on-time payments.
There are loads of different careers that fit into the category of public service: everything from social work to non-profit work to law; there are even medical careers in public service, even something as wild as tending to secret service injuries; it just depends on what kind of opportunities you’re drawn to and can seek out for yourself.
2. Teacher Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Cancelation Programs
While PSLF is a possibility for teachers as well, these two programs are designed specifically for teachers and therefore might be a better fit for those who wish to pursue a teaching career. The difference between the two programs is mainly in the type of federal loan you have. For those who qualify, TLF will forgive up to $17,500 of your loans after five academic years of full-time teaching in certain schools. Those who qualify for TCP can cancel an increasing percentage of the student loans per year of teaching in certain schools, potentially until all loans have been canceled.
3. AmeriCorps/Peace Corps
AmeriCorps offers the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award at the end of your term of service. The amount you’ll receive is equivalent to the amount of the Pell Grant at the time you completed your service. It’s also possible to defer your student loan repayments while you serve as well as receiving a stipend to cover your living expensed during your term of service.
Peace Corps volunteers with federal Perkins loans may be eligible for partial student loan cancelation; borrowers of other types of federal student loans can likely get loan deferment during service. After 27 months of service, you’ll receive $7,425 to spend as you choose.
4. Choosing the Right City
A number of areas of the U.S. have begun to offer student loan reductions as an incentive for educated, young people to move to the community and help revitalize the local economy. In addition to loan reductions, you’ll have the opportunity to join like-minded others in creating a new culture in your area of choice.
5. College Loan Repayment Assistance
Some colleges and universities offer their own programs to assist graduates with repaying their student loans. LRAPs, or loan repayment assistance programs, are traditionally for law students but are in the process of expanding to incorporate a larger body of graduates. Tufts University, for instance, recently initiated such a program.
For those still seeking assistance with loan management, don’t hesitate to contact the experts who can optimize your student debt.