Paying back student loans can take years, if not decades. If a payment is late or missed, the loan may be considered delinquent and late fees will be tacked on. Many graduates find themselves having to put off life commitments and large purchases, like getting married or buying a house, until that debt is paid down.

What We'll Cover

Luckily, there are federal and state programs available to borrowers for student loan relief, student loan forgiveness, student loan refinance. Let's look at some of those programs and how you can take advantage of them.

Federal Student Loan Forgiveness/Restructuring Programs

In some circumstances or job situations, federal student loans can be canceled, forgiven, or discharged. Federal programs that are currently available to borrowers include:

Teacher Loan Forgiveness

Those who teach full-time in a low-income elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency for five complete, consecutive academic years may be eligible for loan forgiveness up to $17,500 on Direct Loans or Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans. 

Accommodations may be made for teachers who were unable to complete one of the required years of teaching due to:

  • A return to secondary education in a directly related area of study on at least a half-time basis
  • The existence of a condition covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA)
  • An order to report for active duty as a member of a reserve component of the US Armed Forces for more than 30 days

Additional requirements apply for teachers who are new to the profession.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Those employed by the government or not-for-profit organizations may be eligible for loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. PSLF will forgive the remaining balance on a Direct Loan after qualifying candidates have made 120 monthly payments on time while working full time for a qualified employer.

Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge

Based on employment or volunteer service, all or a portion of a Perkins Loan may be canceled. It can also be canceled, under certain conditions. Perkins Loan Teacher Cancellation is included.

To apply for loan forgiveness, you must contact the financial aid department of the school that made the loan or a designated loan servicer.

Student Loan Relief Programs Available By State

Student loan forgiveness programs are currently funded for residents of 46 states and the District of Columbia. 

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in Alabama

The Alabama Math and Science Teacher Education Program (AMSTEP) offers student loan forgiveness up to $7,500 per year for four years. Administered by the Alabama Commission of Higher Education (ACHE) and Alabama State Board of Education (ALSBE), it was enacted to address the shortage of public school math and science teachers across the state. 

Student Loan Help in Alaska

Alaska has the SHARP, Health Care Professions Loan Repayment and Incentive Program. Aimed at clinicians who work in medical facilities that accept Medicare, Medicaid, and uninsured patients, the amount of forgiveness varies based on profession and salary. 

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in Arizona

Arizona has three loan forgiveness programs to service the residents of the state:

  • The Teacher Loan Forgiveness program helps Arizona students who have completed at least 60 college credit hours in a degree program that is meant to alleviate the shortage of teachers in the state.   

Student Loan Relief Programs in Arkansas

The State Teacher Education Program (STEP) assists resident applicants who teach full-time at a public school district in Arkansas in geographic and subject areas that are experiencing a teacher shortage. 

The Out-of-State Veterinary Medical Education Loan Repayment Program assists eligible veterinarians who graduated from Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine and who practice food supply veterinary medicine in the State of Arkansas. 

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in California

The State of California currently has three loan forgiveness programs:

  • The California State Loan Repayment Program repays educational loans up to $50,000 for health professionals who commit to work in public or non-profit facilities in medically underserved areas for a minimum of two years and a maximum of four years.

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in Colorado

Colorado also has three loan forgiveness programs:

  • The Colorado Health Service Corps repays qualified student loans up to $90,000 for primary healthcare professionals who agree to work for three years at an approved public or non-profit medical site.

Student Loan Relief Programs in Connecticut

Although Connecticut actually has seven student loan forgiveness programs, only one of them is currently funded by the state. The Minority Teacher Incentive Program awards up to $5,000 to junior and senior minority students enrolled in Connecticut undergraduate education degree programs. Participants who become teachers in the public school system are eligible for loan reimbursement of up to $2,500 a year for a maximum of four years.

Student Loan Help in Delaware

The Delaware State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) awards up to $100,000 to primary care, dental, and mental health care professionals who work in identified Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) in the state. 

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in Florida 

Florida has two student loan forgiveness programs including the Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program (NSLFP) and the Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) for Lawyers

The NSLFP awards up to $4,000 per year for up to four years to LPNs, RNs, and ARNPs who seek employment in areas of Florida where critical nursing shortages exist. The LRAP awards up to $5,000 per year to lawyers employed at Florida legal services organizations.

Student Loan Help in Georgia

The Physicians for Rural Areas Assistance Program in Georgia provides up to $25,000 yearly ($100,000 maximum) for the medical education loan debt of physicians who agree to practice medicine full time in a rural county in Georgia.   

Student Loan Relief Programs in Hawaii

The Hawaii State Loan Repayment Program (HSLRP) provides assistance in repaying educational loan debt to primary health care providers who work in designated Health Professional Shortage Areas in the state.  

Student Loan Help in Idaho

The Idaho State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) is a multi-discipline loan repayment program aimed at practitioners who work for a non-profit or public entity based in a designated Health Professional Shortage Area. 

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in Illinois

Illinois has four student loan forgiveness programs:

Student Loan Relief Programs in Indiana

The Justice Richard M. Givan Loan Repayment Assistance Program helps law school graduates who choose to work in civil legal aid. 

Relief Programs for Student Loans in Iowa

Iowa has six student loan forgiveness programs:

  • Teach Iowa Scholars assists first-year Iowa teachers who teach in designated shortage areas. 

Student Loan Help in Kansas

Kansas has three loan repayment programs:

  • The Kansas Bridging Plan offers loan forgiveness up to $26,000 to Kansas physicians in Family Practice, Pediatrics, and Internal Medicine programs.

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in Kentucky

The Kentucky State Loan Repayment Program offers tax-free student loan repayment in exchange for a service commitment that will help reduce healthcare workforce shortages in rural and underserved areas throughout the state. 

Student Loan Relief Programs in Louisiana

Louisiana offers three student loan forgiveness programs:

  • The John R. Justice Student Loan Forgiveness Program offers debt relief to attorneys who are full-time employees of the State of Louisiana, local government, or a non-profit organization representing criminal, juvenile delinquency, and indigent cases.
  • The Louisiana Bar Foundation Loan Repayment Assistance Program provides loan repayment assistance of up to $5,000 per year for up to 10 years to members of the Louisiana State Bar Association employed full-time in a public interest position with a gross annual income less than $65,000.  

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in Maine

The state of Maine currently has four loan forgiveness programs:

  • Educators for Maine forgives one year's loan amount for each year of return service as a full-time teacher or speech pathologist in an eligible Maine elementary or secondary school.

Student Loan Help in Maryland

Maryland has three student loan forgiveness programs:

Student Loan Relief Programs in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Loan Repayment Program for Health Professionals provides up to $50,000 in loan repayment to primary health care professionals in medical, dental, and mental health disciplines.

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in Michigan

The Michigan State Loan Repayment Program provides loan repayment to graduates of medical, dental, and mental healthcare programs who enter MSLRP service obligations in Health Profession Shortage Areas for two years in not-for-profit health clinics. 

The John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program provides up to $10, 000 per year for a maximum of $60,000 to federal and state public defenders and state prosecutors who remain employed in public service for at least three years. 

Student Loan Relief Programs in Minnesota

Minnesota currently has ten student loan forgiveness programs:

  • The Minnesota Dentist Loan Forgiveness Program pays up to $25,000 per year for four years to dental students, residents, or licensed dentists who provide at least 25% of annual patient services to state public program enrollees.
  • The Minnesota Rural Mid Level Practitioner Loan Forgiveness Program provides assistance to nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists, certified nurse midwives, physician assistants, and advanced clinical nurse specialists who agree to practice in a designated rural area of Minnesota for at least three years following completion of a residency.

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in Mississippi

The Mississippi Teacher Loan Repayment Program assists teachers in paying back their loans if they teach in a Mississippi Critical Teacher Shortage Area and hold an Alternate Route Teaching License.

Student Loan Help in Missouri

Missouri has three student loan forgiveness programs:

  • The PRIMO Student Loan Program awards forgivable loans to students pursuing health care training that leads to licensure in Missouri.

Student Loan Relief Programs in Montana

The Montana Rural Physician Incentive Program provides up to $100,000 to relieve the educational debts of physicians who practice in rural or medically underserved areas of the state. 

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in Nebraska

The Nebraska Student Loan Repayment Program gives physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists, pharmacists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, clinical psychologists, and mental health professionals up to $40,000 in loan repayment.

Student Loan Help in Nevada

The National Health Service Corps Programs (NHSP) offer loan repayment to physicians who enter the program and engage in full-time clinical practice in an assigned Nevada community.  

Student Loan Relief Programs in New Hampshire

The New Hampshire State Loan Repayment Program offers up to $75,000 to health care providers who work in medically underserved areas. The Private Practice Dentists State Loan Repayment Program provides the same amount to private practice dentists located in a Medicaid-defined priority area. 

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in New Jersey

New Jersey offers the John R. Justice Federal Student Loan Redemption Program to eligible public defenders and prosecutors. The Nursing Faculty Loan Redemption Program benefits full-time nursing instructors in the state of New Jersey. 

Student Loan Help in New Mexico

The Health Professional Loan Repayment Program provides a maximum of $25,000 per year to practicing health professionals who make a two-year service commitment to full-time employment in a designated medical shortage area in New Mexico. The Public Service Law Loan Repayment Program offers up to $7,500 per year for legal educational loan repayment for attorneys providing public service to low-income or underserved residents of the state.

Student Loan Forgiveness Program in New York State

The State of New York has seven student loan forgiveness programs that are currently fully funded:

Student Loan Relief Programs in North Carolina

North Carolina has three student debt relief programs:

  • Forgivable Education Loans for Service provides up to $7,000 per year for those seeking undergraduate degrees and up to $14,000 per year for graduate studies to qualified students who are committed to working in critical employment shortage professions in North Carolina.

Student Loan Help in North Dakota

North Dakota is currently one of only two states with no student loan forgiveness programs. Citizens are encouraged to contact their state representatives to remedy this situation. 

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in Ohio

Ohio utilizes the John R. Justice Loan Repayment Program to provide relief to federal and state public defenders and state prosecutors who remain in public service for at least three years. 

The Ohio Dentist Loan Repayment Program offers loan repayment for dentists who practice in designated shortage areas, provide dental care to patients regardless of their ability to pay, and who treat Medicaid patients.

Student Loan Relief Programs in Oklahoma

Oklahoma has four loan forgiveness programs:

  • The Oklahoma Dental Loan Repayment Program provides a minimum of $25,000 per year to dentists who either teach at the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry or provide dental care in a shortage area. 
  • The Physician/Community Match Program provides loan forgiveness up to $50,000 to primary care physicians who repay the loan by working in the community that put up a portion of the money matched by the Oklahoma Physician Manpower Training Commission (PMTC).
  • The Physician Loan Repayment Program provides up to $200,000 maximum over four years to primary care physicians who establish a practice in an approved community.  

Student Loan Help in Oregon

The Healthcare Provider Incentive Program in Oregon provides up to $35,000 per year to qualified health professionals including Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, Dentists, Dental Hygienists, Pharmacists, Psychiatrists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Clinical Psychologists, Licensed Professional Counselors, and Marriage/Family Counselors who commit to working in underserved communities upon graduation. 

The Oregon State Bar Loan Repayment Assistance Program pays up to $7,500 for three years to help public service lawyers in the state pay off their educational financial obligations.  

Student Loan Relief Programs in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Primary Care Loan Repayment Program provides up to $80,000 in loan forgiveness funds to primary care physicians who commit to serving in medically underserved populations in the state.

The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation-PA IOLTA Loan Repayment Assistance Program helps Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts funded attorneys better manage their student loan debt so that they can remain in public service.  

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in Rhode Island

Rhode Island has three student loan forgiveness programs:

  • The Nursing Reward Program offers interest forgiveness on RISLA student loans to RNs employed by a licensed health care facility in Rhode Island.
  • The Health Professionals Loan Repayment Program offers education loan repayment assistance to primary care, dental, and mental health professionals who commit to practicing in medically underserved communities in the state.
  • The Wavemaker Fellowship provides a financial incentive in the form of a redeemable tax credit of $6,000 maximum for graduate degree holders, up to $4,000 for bachelor's degree holders, and up to $1,000 for associate degree holders. 

Student Loan Relief Programs in South Carolina

The Public Interest Law Loan Forgiveness Fund (PILLFF) provides loan repayment assistance to University of South Carolina School of Law graduates who work in public interest law for a minimum of two years.

Student Loan Help in South Dakota

The Delta Dental Loan Repayment for Service Program provides up to $100,000 for dentists who agree to serve a percentage of Medicaid-insured patients in their South Dakota practices.

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in Tennessee

Tennessee currently has no student loan forgiveness programs. Residents of the state are encouraged to contact their state representatives to make a change in this policy.

Student Loan Relief Programs in Texas

Texas has five student loan forgiveness programs:

  • The Physician Education Loan Repayment Program pays up to $160,000 over four years in loan repayment funds in exchange for four consecutive years of service in a federally designated HPSA, a Texas Juvenile Justice Department owned or contracted secure correctional facility, or a Texas Department of Criminal Justice owned or contracted secure correctional facility.

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in Utah

The Utah State Legislature has discontinued funding for student debt relief.

Student Loan Relief Programs in Vermont

Vermont currently has two available programs for student debt fund forgiveness:

Student Loan Help in Virginia

Virginia currently has three student debt forgiveness programs:

  • The Virginia Loan Repayment Program provides a non-taxed incentive to qualified medical, dental, pharmaceutical, and behavioral health professionals in return for a minimum of two years of service in an HPSA.

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in Washington

The Health Professional Loan Repayment Program awards up to $35,000 per year for two years to healthcare graduates who commit to serving in rural or underserved urban communities for those two years. 

Student Loan Relief Programs in West Virginia

The State Loan Forgiveness Program  provides up to $90,000 in repayment assistance to primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, dentists, physician assistants, and nurse midwives in exchange for a two-year commitment working in an HPSA in West Virginia. 

Student Loan Help in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Health Professionals Loan Assistance Program provides up to $50,000 healthcare professionals (physicians, dentists, psychiatrists, physician assistants, dental hygienists, certified nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners) who agree to provide services for three years in a rural or underserved urban community.

Student Loan Relief Programs in Wyoming

Wyoming officially has two student debt forgiveness programs, but neither of them is currently funded. They are the Wyoming Veterinary Loan Repayment Program and the Wyoming Healthcare Professional Loan Repayment Program.

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in Washington D.C.

The DC Health Professional Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP) provides loan repayment funds to eligible providers practicing in HPLRP-certified service obligation sites for two- to four-year contracts. The District of Columbia Bar Foundation Loan Repayment Assistance Program provides educational debt assistance to qualified attorneys who provide legal assistance to low-income DC residents.    

Credible Refinancing

Even if you don't qualify for any of the aforementioned programs on the federal or local levels, there is still student loan relief available. Credible Refinancing offers solutions for student loan refinance with a variety of competitive options so you can quit worrying about how to pay off your loans and get back to living your life.

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