If you are pursuing a degree in nursing, education, criminal justice or another form of public service, you may be watching your debt build with awe. You may be wondering how you will ever be able to pay off those student loans. But it’s okay! Here’s why:
How to Pay Off Big Student Loans
In 2007, Congress ratified a bill specifically designed to help students with a passion for public service. Called the Loan Forgiveness for Public Service Employees, the program assists qualifying students by “forgiving” or rather cancelling loan balances after 120 payments. Even better, a parent PLUS Loan for parent borrowers are also eligible. With the program’s start in 2007, the first round of “forgiven” loans will begin in 2017.
Who’s eligible for this type of federal student aid?
Criteria for the program is as follows but you should continuously check the Student Aid website to review latest guidelines. In general, students must
-not be in default on the loans
-be employed full time by a public service organization
-make each of the 120 payments while working for a public service organization
-apply for forgiveness while still employed full time by the public service organization
What types of jobs qualify for loan forgiveness?
Again, check with the official Federal Student Aid website for new updates but as of 2013, the following positions and organizations qualify for the program.
-a government organization including federal, state, local or tribal agencies or a tribal college
-non-profit, tax-exempt organizations under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code
-private, non-profit organizations (excluding labor unions or partisan political organizations) that provides a public service such as: emergency management, military service, public safety, law enforcement, public interest law services, early childhood education, public health, public education, public library services, school library services.
What to do now?
Discuss with your guidance counselor or admissions officer if you might be eligible for this program. Once you’ve planned out your repayments, keep track of the requirements and your adherence to the Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness form. As you continue your studies, remember to budget carefully and study hard! Good luck!