We’re always ready to celebrate and spread the word when there’s a new student loan forgiveness program announced. Today we’re taking a look at Liberty University’s recently launched Center for Global Engagement Loan Forgiveness Program. Established in 1971, the Lynchburg, Virginia based private religious college has a total enrollment of more than 100,000 students (with 12,600 students on-campus and the remainder online), which makes this program one of the farthest-reaching private forgiveness plans we’ve seen.
Who Qualifies for Liberty’s Forgiveness Program?
Any Liberty University alumnus can potentially be eligible for loan forgiveness if they are working as a missionary. To qualify, the alumn must have been accepted by an “evangelical-sending agency” for an overseas missionary assignment with the intent of a long-term placement. Priority is given to graduates that majored or minored in Global Studies and that “demonstrate proactive engagement with a sending agency prior to graduation.”
How Much and What Type of Student Loans Can Be Forgiven?
Only federal student loans are eligible for forgiveness. For each year of missionary service, up to 20% of the grad’s student loan balance can be forgiven up to a maximum of $30,000 per program participant, so long as the grad is not delinquent or in default on any loans. The initial payment will not be issued until after the missionary applicant is in the field. Liberty is encouraging graduates who participate in the program to work in areas located between the 10th and 40th parallels geographically.
How Do You Apply for Loan Forgiveness?
If you are a Liberty University alumnus that meets the missionary qualification, you’ll need to contact the school’s Center for Global Engagement to request an application for the loan forgiveness program. Applications will be considered by the center and then candidates selected will be forwarded to the university’s Enrollment Management division for final approval. If you’re still a Liberty student hoping to take advantage of this program, taking a CGE volunteer opportunity while in school can’t hurt.
Why Is Liberty Offering the Forgiveness Program?
The university has initiated the program because soaring student loan balances are often an obstacle that prevents graduates from considering missionary work. With debt for recent US college graduates now at $29,400, most cannot afford to work for a charitable organization for a low salary. Liberty representative Johnnie Moore says, “Make no mistake about it, Liberty intends on getting more students to the mission field more quickly by building this bridge of generosity over the chasm of debt.”
With student loans and tuition rates increasingly on the rise, any program that helps graduates get out from under debt is a good thing. To help with your student loans, sign up for Tuition.io’s free student loan tool where you can view and track all of your loans – both federal and private. Check out our blog for tips on dealing with debt and current news on student loans.