The average college student in 2016 just recently graduated with an average of $37,172 in student load debt this past May. This number seems to continue to grow with each graduating class and continues to impact other financial decisions of adults. With the debt as high as it is, this has led to many student loan borrowers to seek some of the student loan forgiveness options that are available. Many of these college graduates are now entering the workforce to begin their professional careers and make some very important decisions. Some of the options we have previously covered in other articles and won’t go into great detail today. But we will also explore some options that you may not have heard of before or options that are less known.
Working in an eligible profession
We have previously talked about the Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. This program will allow you to have your loans forgiven after 120 payments are made while working for a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit organization or the government. There currently is not a cap to the amount that can be forgiven but there is some speculation that may change in future.
Health Care Profession
Some of the professions that offer student loan forgiveness programs can include doctors, nurses, veterinarians, dentists and other individuals who work in the health care professions. There are some stipulations as to the amount as well as the location. If you are interested in working in under-served areas this may be appealing to your career search.
As we mentioned in our article here, teachers are also eligible for up to potentially as high as $17,500 being forgiven. This is available for teachers who work in low-income schools. Other teachers may qualify for $5,000 in loan forgiveness program. This is an additional perk offered to teachers and one that should be explored for those interested in the teaching field.
This was is a little bit more surprising and it is primarily because it is not universal to all states. 26 different states may have forgiveness programs where the lawyers specialize in “public interest law” and even some law schools are beginning to offer repayment programs to students who work for public interest. Farmers in New York can have $50,000 forgiven.
Many public servants can have their student loans forgiven in addition to PSLF. Particularly if they Perkins Loans, there are programs available to these individuals that ought to be explored.
Relocating to another city
This is an interesting one for me as it is showing that many municipalities are beginning to recognize the impact student loans are having the purchasing decisions of individuals. In an effort to attract people to move to their city, some cities are beginning to offer incentives with respect to student loans. For example, Kansas has some areas where you can receive up to $15,000 for your student loans paid. Other areas such as Niagara Falls have offered $7,000 incentives to move there.
Ask your employer
This is one that will most likely begin to gain the most traction if I was a betting man. Currently only about 3% of employers currently offer student loan repayment as an employee benefit but almost 50% of people said they would rather have their employer pay their student loans when compared to contributing to health insurance premiums or 401K. The other 50% not included in that number is most likely older and does not have student loan repayments. It would surprise me a bit if we saw some sort of regulation change that make it more incentive for employers to offer this option. With the amount of student loan debt outstanding and no decrease in tuition rates any time soon, this would reason that people will seek changes.
However, there are currently some employers that offer student loan repayment incentives which would essentially equate to a forgiveness program of sorts. Fidelity and PricewaterhouseCoopers have laid out some incentives. Hopefully in the future more and more employers will adopt something as their employees would certainly welcome this perk. Legislation is being discussed to offer tax advantages for employers similar to the tuition reimbursement program.
This option is one that often helps those individuals who are protecting our freedoms. This certainly seems like a worthy cause in my personal opinion. Understanding that the Armed Forces is not for everyone, if it is something you would be willing to pursue you can potentially have up to $65,000 if you are in the Army or Air Force. An important note too, military service will also count toward your PSLF payments if you are enrolled in that program as well.
All of these plans are in place and there may be others that I simply have not written about in this article. But when making choices about a career, it is wise to look at all of the factors that now go into overall compensation. Student loan considerations are increasing becoming a factor and with some of these options, you may be able to qualify for a forgiveness program of sorts.