Feeling weighed down with student loan debt? One option for debt relief is to consider student loan forgiveness programs, and more graduates qualify than you might think! One of the most popular programs is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. This option is available to those who work full-time in “public service” which includes the following types of employers:
- Governmental organizations – Federal, state, local, Tribal
- Not-for-profit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3)
- A not-for-profit organization that is not a tax-exempt organization but provides some specific public services, such as public education, law enforcement, public health or legal services
In addition, you must have Direct Loans to qualify for the program. Not sure if you have a Direct Loan? Visit the National Student Loan Database to see all your loans, all federal loans as of July 1, 2010 are Direct Loan. However, if you have federal loans that are not Direct Loans, you can always choose to consolidate those loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan in order to qualify.
Lastly, you must make 120 qualifying payments on a qualifying repayment plan. What does this mean? Those 120 payments must be made on time, while you are working for a public service employer. Lump sum payments or payments you make as advance payments for future months do not qualify. Qualifying plans are any Income-Driven Repayment Plans.
There are several job-specific loan forgiveness and repayment programs available at a federal and state level. There are Attorney Repayment Programs available for law graduates that work for the Department of Justice; or as a state or federal public defenders or state prosecutor for at least three years. Teachers who serve designated low-income schools or in teacher shortage areas may qualify for Teacher Loan Forgiveness Programs. There is also the Teach Iowa Scholars Program for recent graduates who teach in eligible teachings fields at a school district or area education agency for up to five years. Health Care Loan Forgiveness Programs are available for health professionals that serve rural areas, high-need communities or areas with a critical shortage.
Explore your options for paying off student loan debt! More information on loan repayments programs can be found on the Iowa College Aid website. If you have any questions, contact Iowa College Aid at 877-272-4456.