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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How to Qualify for Student Loan Forgiveness


To most, loans are the only solution to pay their tuition fees and complete education. Student loans also help students pay for books and living expenses while schooling. Even though these loans are refunded at low interest rates, they can be a burden depending on the job, salary, or how fiscally savvy an individual is.


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If you find yourself forced to live below your means or struggling to pay bills, applying for loan forgiveness will ease the financial encumbrance. Not everyone qualifies for loan forgiveness but most public servants do. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) can be a thank you gift to public servants for dedicating their time and energy serving their country.

Organizations that offer student loan forgiveness

The following are not the only organizations that will offer loan forgiveness. Therefore, it's wise to consult with your employer, or carry out research online to find if your profession qualifies for loan forgiveness.

• The Association of Medical Colleges

• The American Federation of Teachers

• Providers of Intervention Services for Disabled Students 

• Peace Corps Financial Benefit and Loan Deferment

Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program (NELRP)

• National Health Services Corp

• Head Start Staff Student Loan Forgiveness Program

• College Cost Reduction and Access Act

• Child Care Provider Loan Forgiveness

• Armed Forces Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

• Americorps

• American Bar Association

According to the AES, “loan forgiveness programs encourage students to pursue an education that will lead to employment in specific occupations.” Loan forgiveness programs focus towards forgiving all or part of the loan as long as the borrower fulfills specific professional requirements.  The government also uses loan forgiveness to increase personnel in areas that lack enough. An example is nursing shortage in the U.S.

The programs are only applicable to students who secured loans through the government. Such loans include Federal Ford Loan, Federal Stafford Loan, Federal Consolidation Loans, and Federal PLUS Loan. However, you qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness only if you have already made 120 payments under any of the programs while still employed although they don’t have to be concurrent.

To qualify for Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program, health professionals should sign a two-year contract with an Indian health program. The program offers up to $48,000 coverage on student loans.

The Child Care Provider Loan Forgiveness Program will cover 20% of a borrower’s loan after serving two years, 20% for the next three years, and 30% onwards. To qualify, one must have served in a childcare facility and hold an early childhood education bachelor's or associate degree.
 
For vets, the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) can offer up to $25,000 yearly. For approval, one has to serve in the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program helps qualified nurses pay up to 60% of their education loan balance. The catch is they have to commit to a two-year contract and get 25% for a third year.

 More information on Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is available at studentaid.ed.gov.

By Eileen Eva