If you’ve recently completed your college education, or even if you left school without obtaining a degree, you may now be required to repay financial aid that you were awarded, such as your student loans. If you’re thinking of strategic ways to lower your debts faster, one option is to get your job to forgive or pay off your student loans.
Today, it is estimated that more than 40 million people in the U.S. are saddled with student loan debt, with an average loan balance of more than $35,000. And, due to the continuously rising cost of higher education, each year, a new class of students will be in even more debt than the last.
Having this type of debt obligation when just starting out in the working world can make it difficult to get ahead financially. The good news is that there may be a way to reduce, or even eliminate, your student loan balance by going into certain fields of employment.
Here is a list of jobs that forgive or pay off student loans.
Student Loan Forgiveness Jobs
By working in various jobs, you could essentially make your student loan debt more bearable, and in some cases, even be able to have most or all your student loans paid off. The jobs or careers that offer this unique opportunity include:
Civil Servant, Government Agencies
If you opt to go to work for the government, you could have your student loan forgiven after 120 monthly loan payments, or 10 years, as a part of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness. This program is open to federal, state, and local government agency employees, regardless of your title or authority. The agency is allowed to pay up to $10,000 per year for federally-insured loans, but the total assistance cannot exceed $60,000 per employee.
One example includes student loan forgiveness for lawyers from the Department of Justice via the Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program (ASLRP).
Military and Public Employment
If you have a Perkins Loan, then you may be able to have all of this debt forgiven if you serve in a hostile zone as a member of the military. There are other professions that can qualify for this type of loan forgiveness, including law enforcement and corrections officers, public defenders, firefighters, nurses, EMTs (emergency medical technicians), and social workers who work with families in high-risk or low-income areas.
Student Loan Forgiveness For Teachers
Certain areas of the teaching profession may also qualify for student loan forgiveness. Based on the Education Department’s guidelines, a teacher who has a Federal Perkins Loan may get all of their balance forgiven if he or she teaches for five consecutive years in a public school that serves low-income families.
Eligibility also extends to teachers who specialize in math, science, special education, foreign language, or bilingual education. You could also qualify if you teach in an area where there is a shortage of teachers.
As a teacher, you can get up to $17,500 of your student loan forgiven if you teach for five consecutive years in a federally designated low-income secondary institution and you teach either science or math. Up to $17,500 in student loan forgiveness could also be available to you if you work for five years at either a low-income elementary or secondary school as a special education teacher.
In other cases, up to $5,000 in loan forgiveness could be available to other public elementary or secondary school teachers, provided that your school qualifies for these funds under Title l of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, and that at least 30% of the school’s students qualify for Title l Services and are on the Teacher Cancellation Low Income Directory that is put out by the Education Department.
Non-Profit Organization Employee
If you work for a non-profit organization that qualifies for tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service and is not a partisan political entity or a labor union, you could also obtain loan forgiveness. It is important to note, though, that any time you spend on worship services, religious instruction, or any type of proselytizing will not count.
There are also certain volunteer organizations that could allow you to qualify for up to 70% forgiveness of your Federal Perkins Loan. For instance, going into the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps or Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) will qualify.
State of Residence
Depending on your state of residence, certain jobs and job categories may help you to pay off or reduce your student loan balance. For instance, if you are a dentist in the state of Kansas, you may be able to receive up to $30,000 per year for two years. Likewise, if you are a large animal veterinarian in the state of Minnesota, you could receive $15,000 for five years of work.
There are also instances where your actual job category may not even matter, as long as you reside in a certain area. For example, simply moving to Niagara Falls, New York could qualify you for $7,000 over two years.
While you may have a large financial burden on your plate in terms of student debt, what you choose to do after college and where you plan to do it could end up saving you a lot of time and money in payments. By finding a job that pays off your student loans faster, you can free up funds that can then be used towards a down payment on a home and for investing for your future.