You don’t go into teaching or volunteering to rake in the dough. And unless you’re selling them $7,622 coffee pots, you don’t make big coin working for the government either. But these are worthy professions and our government has “secret” programs to make sure you’re not discouraged from entering and staying in them because of being overburdened by student loan debt. They’re not really secret, it’s just that most people don’t know about them. It turns out that if you put in enough time and qualify, and have a Federally backed student loan, then Uncle Sam will pick up the tab. Sounds great — so how do you get started?
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Student loan forgiveness programs are actually backed by the U.S. government and are used for education loans issued through federal programs, such as Stafford or Perkins loans. For example, the U.S. Department of Education administers the Stafford Loan Forgiveness Program for Teachers, which will give college graduates who teach full-time for five consecutive years, complete academic years in elementary and secondary schools for low-income families and meet other qualifications can receive forgiveness of up to $17,500 in principle and interest on their federal education loans.
Another program is Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which will forgive your Direct Loan if you worked for 10 years with the government at either the federal, state, or local level, or if you worked for a 501(c)(3) designated non-profit. If the organization you worked for provided public services like library, law enforcement, or public health services it might count as well. To qualify you will need to have made 120 payments on-time monthly payments and been employed in the public service the whole time.
[Related Article: Military Student Loan Forgiveness and Discharge Programs]
However, you should also keep in mind that the amount of loan forgiveness you receive for participating in these programs can be taxable, as it is considered income for the year you received it. Fortunately, some student loans allow for debt to be forgiven tax-free, though that, too, comes with certain restrictions based on your profession and employers, among other things.
For more information on what type of student loan forgiveness you may be able to qualify for, Google around, or ask your college’s financial aid office.
Image: JD Hancock, via Flickr
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