Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What is Student Loan Forgiveness and Where Can I Apply?

Uncle SamImage by AJC1 via Flickr

Your just out of college and you have a large student loan. What can you do about. Under certain circumstances the federal goverment will cancel all or part of you student loan. This is what "Loan Forgiveness" is. To qualify you must do one of these four things:

  • Perform volunteer work.
  • Perform military service.
  • Teach or practice medicine in certain types of communities.
  • Meet other criteria specified by the forgiveness program.

Volunteer Work

These volunteer organizations offer loan forgiveness:

AmeriCorps. Serve for 12 months and receive up to $7400 in stipends plus $4725 to be used towards your loan. Call 1-800-942-2677.

Peace Corps. Volunteers may apply for deferment of Stafford, Perkins and Consolidation loans and partial cancellation of Perkins Loans (15% for each year of service, up to 70% in total). Volunteers make a real difference in the lives of real people with two years of service in more than 70 developing countries. Contact the Peace Corps at 1111 20th St., NW, Washington, DC 20526 or call 1-800-424-8580 or 1-202-692-1845.

Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA). Volunteer with private, non-profit groups that help eradicate hunger, homelessness, poverty and illiteracy. Provide 1700 hours of service and receive $4725. Call 1-800-942-2677 or 1-202-606-5000.


Students who are in the Army National Guard may be eligible for their Student Loan Repayment Program, which offers up to $10,000. (Note, the military and veterans' associations provide many scholarships and tuition assistance programs.


Students who become full-time teachers in an elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families can have a portion of their Perkins Loan forgiven under The National Defense Education Act. This program forgives 15% of your loan for the first and second years of teaching service, 20% for the third and fourth, and 30% for the fifth. Contact your school district's administration to see which schools are eligible.

Legal and Medical Studies

Many law schools forgive the loans of students who serve in public interest or non-profit positions. For more information, contact Equal Justice Works (formerly the National Association for Public Interest Law) at 2120 L Street, NW, Suite 450, Washington, DC 20037-1541 (phone 1-202-466-3686 or fax 1-202-429-9766). The American Bar Association (ABA) also has a summary of Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP) and State Loan Repayment Assistance Programs.

The US Department of Health and Human Services offers loan forgiveness programs through the National Health Service Corps and the Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program. These programs offer loan forgiveness to physicians and registered nurses who agree to practice for a set number of years in areas that lack adequate medical care (including remote and/or economically depressed regions).

The US National Institutes of Health's NIH Loan Repayment Programs repays up to $35,000/year of student loan debt for US citizens who are conducting clinical medical research.

The US Department of Agriculture's Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) offers loan forgiveness of $25,000 per year for three years for veterinarians who commit to work in a veterinary shortage area for three years. The application deadline is June 30.

If you're a California resident, contact the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (State Loan Repayment Program, 400 R Street, Room 330, Sacramento, CA 95811; 1-916-326-3745). Other states may have similar programs.

Many hospitals and private healthcare facilities use loan forgiveness to recruit occupational and physical therapists. Contact the American Physical Therapy Association (1111 North Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA 22314-1488; 1-800-999-2782) or the American Occupational Therapy Association (P.O. Box 31220, 47200 Montgomery Lane, Bethesda, MD 20824-1220; 1-301-652-2682).

Other loan repayment programs for medical school students include:

Other Paths to Forgiveness

Students who receive the Michael Murphy Loan to study law enforcement, law, probation and parole, penology, or other related fields are eligible to work off one-fifth per year as a State Trooper (or related law enforcement official) in Alaska. Contact the Alaska State Troopers, Director's Office Scholarship Fund, 5700 East Tudor Rd., Anchorage, AK 99507; 1-907-269-5511.

Maryland state and local government employees who earn less than $40,000 gross annually may be eligible for a loan assistance/repayment program to study law, nursing, physical and occupational therapy, social work and education. Contact the Maryland State Scholarship Administration, 16 Francis St., Annapolis, MD 21401; 1-410-974-2971 x146.

Federal Government Loan Forgiveness Programs

Perkins loans and Stafford Loans can be cancelled for full-time service as a teacher in a designated elementary or secondary school serving students from low-income families, special education teacher (includes teaching children with disabilities in a public or other nonprofit elementary or secondary school), qualified professional provider of early intervention services for the disabled, teacher of math, science, foreign languages, bilingual education, or other fields designated as teacher shortage areas, employee of a public or non-profit child or family service agency providing services to high-risk children and their families from low-income communities, nurse or medical technician, law enforcement or corrections officer, staff member in the educational component of a Head Start Program, service as a Vista or Peace Corps Volunteer and service in the Armed Forces (up to 50% in areas of hostilities or imminent danger)

These are but a few places that may suit your needs to help you pay back your student loans. There are more depending on your occupation.


  1. If you are a teacher/social worker/ speech and language professional and work five years in a title one school (more than 50% of the population gets free lunch) then your federal loans ARE FORGIVEN!
    You have to apply to start the clock ticking. I know many teachers who have done this in the past.
    It is a great deal!

  2. Great information here! Since so many adults are going back to school, they will definitely want to know about these options. Even for their children or people currently in school. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Students use educational credits more than 40 years. And every year amendments are made to the relevant law depending on an economic situation in the country. The educational credits in the USA are still popular among the students and their parents. But not every family is able to sign up for a cashadvance, because of high interest rate. Education is becoming more and more expensive every year and students have to pay the whole sum. Of course there are some exceptions, but in general it’s very difficult to find money for education. So students need some alternatives to the loans to be able to pay for good knowledge.


Join 1000's of People Following 50 Plus Finance
Real Time Web Analytics