Debt from student loans can become overwhelming. There are some options available that allow you to significantly reduce or even eliminate the debt that you owe for your education. Student loan debt can be forgiven, which means that you won’t need to repay loans, if you meet some specific criteria.
Do You Qualify for a Student Loan Forgiveness Program?
Student loan forgiveness is available to some people based on your career. Volunteers for the Red Cross or Peace Corps, for instance, may be eligible for loan forgiveness provided that you volunteer for a specific amount of time. Volunteers typically have seventy percent or less of their total loan amount dismissed after volunteering. Teachers and those entering other public service careers can also be eligible for loan forgiveness if payments have been made for at least ten years. Teachers should be working in a low income area to qualify for loan reductions through the National Defense Education Act.
Among those with the largest amount of education related debt are doctors and lawyers. Some people in these professions are eligible to have their loan debt forgiven in exchange for focusing their career on specific fields or by volunteering for at least two years. Doctors can volunteer through the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program, while lawyers can volunteer for an eligible non-profit organization to have their debt reduced.
Why Use Loan Forgiveness Programs?
Many graduates aren’t prepared to begin repaying debt within a few months of graduation. Right after graduation, you may not have a career established, making loan repayments very difficult. Others may want to spend some time volunteering to establish their career experience or for personal reasons. Volunteer work is very important and allows you more freedom from debt at a time when you are just beginning to establish a career in your chosen field. Recent graduates who are experiencing extreme financial difficulties may also need to use federal loan forgiveness programs.
To qualify for loan forgiveness programs, you will need to begin by applying for the program. Most accepted volunteer organizations provide their own application, while those applying for loan forgiveness as a teacher will apply through the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Application, which is then certified by your school’s chief administrative staff. Military personnel can apply through their local recruiting office. Taking the time to evaluate your eligibility for loan forgiveness allows you to relieve some of the burden of student debt while working or volunteering.