With thousands of college graduates out of work, or just underemployed and experiencing difficulties paying back their student loans, many are having to think of creative ways to get by. If you have a Federal Stafford Student loan, the Stafford Loan Forgiveness Program may cancel part or possibly all of your debt. However, this program only applies to certain career choices and duties including, but not limited to:
-Volunteer work with AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, or Service to America
-Military service or serve in the National Guard
-Teach at schools with low-income students or teach special education
-Practice medicine for a certain period of time low-income communities
-Law students who work for non-profit organizations or work for public -interest
-Meet other criteria specified by the forgiveness program
These are specific career path options that could lead to your write off of your student loan under the Federal Loan Forgiveness program. This program was created by Congress to encourage college graduates to work full time in public service jobs where they could contribute their skills to the community. In exchange, your loan debt (or at least part of it) may be eligible for forgiveness. This service is not for undergrads who have simply dropped out, and only applies for those who have graduated and can’t pay off their student loan debts.
For parents or graduates who just want your Federal Stafford loan debt forgiven, you still must meet certain criteria. You cannot simply apply for forgiveness solely on the idea that you or your child was given inadequate training or that you did not get a job right out of school.
Volunteer Work for Students With Stafford Loans
AmeriCorps offers up to $7,400 in stipends, plus $4,725 to be used towards your loan for 12 months of volunteer labor. For details on this option call AmeriCorps at 1-800-942-2677.
Peace Corps volunteers may apply for postponement of their Stafford, Perkins, consolidation loans, and partial cancellation of Perkins Loans (15% for each year of service). To not only get your loan debt forgiven, but to help make a difference in other countries, contact 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 gives you the option to volunteer with both private and non-profit groups to aid in fighting hunger, helping the homeless and teaching those less fortunate and illiterate. Those who give 1700 hours of time and service are eligible to receive up to $4725 of forgiveness. For more info, call 1-800-942-2677 or 1-202-606-5000.
Army and National Guard students may be eligible for a Student Loan Repayment Program, which may offer up to $10,000in forgiveness towards your Federal Stafford Student loans. However, military and veterans’ associations provide a variety of scholarship programs, so be sure to look into those too first when searching for student loan forgiveness.
If your going to school to become a teacher, full-time teachers in an elementary or secondary school who serve students from low-income families, may have a portion of their 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 up to 30% for the fifth.
Mississippi teachers who majored in education might be eligible for the William Winter Teacher Scholar Loan. This program forgives one year of your loan in exchange for one year of service. Contact the Mississippi Office of State Student Financial Aid, 3825 Ridgewood Rd., Jackson, MS 39211-6453; 1-601-982-6663.
Of course remember, just like a mortgage loan there are many additional requirements that must be met. Visit this website for full details and information for Teaching Student Loan Forgiveness.
Legal and Medical Studies Loan Forgiveness
If you end up serving in public interests or for non-profit associations, you can contact the National Association for Public Interest Law (1666 Connecticut Ave., Suite 424, Washington, DC, 20009; 1-202-466-3686) for possible loan forgiveness programs.
Students who obtain the “Michael Murphy Loan” to study law enforcement, 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.
For health care majors, their are similar groups like the National Health Service Corps. They offer medical students loan forgiveness programs for agreeing to practice for a set number of years in areas that lack adequate medical care, and may include work in less prosperous countries. If you’re a California resident, contact the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development at 1-916-654-1833. But don’t stop here, as there are many other state programs available for students.
A variety of hospitals and other private health care businesses offer loan forgiveness in order 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).
Also research the US Department of Education’s pages on Cancellation/Deferment Options for Teachers and Cancellation for Childcare Providers.
Other reasons why a student may qualify for loan forgiveness:
-The school closed within 90 days of your enrollment and they were unable to finish their program of study.
-The school did not properly qualify your status before they began studies.
-You did not receive a refund that was due to you.
-Your signature was forged.
-The school did not properly evaluate your ability to benefit from the coursework before beginning studies.
-You become totally and permanently disabled.
- If you or the dependent who obtained the loan has passed away.
-Your loan is discharged due to bankruptcy. Generally, many student loans cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy.) Consult with legal counsel regarding your particular situation.
Contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center by calling toll-free (800) 433-3243 for more information on student loan forgiveness.