5 Ways You Can Get Student Loan Forgiveness (That Don’t Involve Public Service)


If you’re buried in student loan debt, having some of it forgiven would be a dream come true. But a career in public service — a major requirement for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) federal program — isn’t for everyone.

Not only does PSLF take 10 years to earn forgiveness, but qualifying for it by working in a nonprofit could also limit your earning potential over time.

Luckily, PSLF isn’t the only program that offers student loan assistance. Here are five other ways to get student loan help that don’t require a career in public service.

1. Get Student Loan Repayment Assistance From Your State

Federal forgiveness programs aren’t the only option for student loan borrowers. Several states also offer loan repayment assistance programs to professionals that meet certain criteria. And unlike PSLF, many of these state programs only require one to five years of work, rather than an entire decade.

The Rhode Island Educational Loan Repayment Program for Primary Care Providers, for example, provides up to $80,000 to doctors and $40,000 in loan repayment help for physician assistants and nurse practitioners. Similarly, the Minnesota Rural Veterinarian Loan Forgiveness program provides $15,000 in student loan assistance for up to five years to veterinarians who work in rural areas.

Besides loan forgiveness programs for veterinarians and healthcare professionals, there are similar programs for people who work in these careers:

  • Lawyer
  • Pharmacist
  • Dentist
  • Teacher
  • Engineer

Although most state-based repayment programs are career related, you can find a few with unique requirements. The Kansas Rural Opportunity Zones program, for instance, offers $15,000 simply for taking up residency in one of its 77 designated counties.

Check with your state to find more options for loan forgiveness available to you.

2. Find An Employer With A Student Loan Matching Benefit

As our national student loan debt has risen to $1.48 trillion, more graduates are looking to employers for help paying off their balances.

According to a 2017 study by American Student Assistance, 51% of young workers say a student loan payment match would be the most important benefit to them. Additionally, 86% say they’d commit to an employer for at least five years if it helped workers pay off their student loans.

Some employers are heeding the call, with companies such as Fidelity, Aetna, and Staples offering between $1,200 and $2,000 per year for workers’ student loans.

Although the number of companies offering this benefit remains relatively small — the Society for Human Resource Management estimates only 4% of them offer this perk — it might become more popular in years to come.

If you’re job hunting, consider prioritizing a company that will help you pay off your student loans.

3. Receive Loan Forgiveness After Military Service

If you’ve been involved in the U.S. military, you could be eligible for student loan forgiveness. The Army’s Student Loan Repayment Program, for instance, can contribute up to $65,000 toward loans for active-duty soldiers.

The National Guard, Navy, and Air Force also have loan forgiveness programs for active-duty service members and veterans. Plus, army healthcare professionals can qualify for up to $120,000 in student loan assistance.

Whether you’re a current member of the U.S. military or have a background of service, make sure to take advantage of any student loan benefits available.


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