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If you would be willing to teach for five years you could get some good help with your student loans. And you’d get even more help if you can teach science, math or special education.
If you teach science or math for five years in a low-income school you could see as much as $17,500 of your federal Stafford loan forgiven. If you can’t teach science or math or special education you could still earn as much as $5,000 off your federal Stafford loan by teaching for those five years in a low-income elementary or high school.
Be a nurse
There is also a loan forgiveness program called the Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program. It repays up to 60% of your student loans if you’re a registered nurse and work full time (32 hours or more each week) for two years. This must be in a non-profit facility that needs nurses. If you work a third year you could have an additional 25% of your loans repaid.
Join the National Health Service Corps
Finally, if you are a doctor, a nurse practioner, a physician’s assistant, a dentist, a dental hygienist or a mental health professional, you could see a big part of your student loans wiped out by working for two years in an under-served community. If you work full time you could see up to $25,000 of your loans forgiven each year of service. If you serve beyond those two years, each one-year amendment could earn you up to $35,000 in loan repayments.
Whether loan forgiveness of any type would make sense for you will depend on how much you owe in student loans, what you would be willing to do to earn forgiveness and your career goals. For example, if your goal is to be a teacher then teaching for five years in a low-income school could be a very good option. This would not only help pay off your student loans but would give you five years of experience that you could then leverage into a much better paying job. If you've gone to school to become a nurse because that's what you want in life then the Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program could be a good choice. So would public service loan forgiveness if your goal is to work in emergency management, public health, and safety, law enforcement, social work or one of the other jobs included in this program.
The important thing is not just how much you owe in student loans but also how you want to spend the next two, three or five years of your life. If you can make the math work and if you're interested in one of these careers anyway then some form of loan forgiveness could be a great option. Of course, you do have the option to refinance your loan so you can take advantage of better rates. Consider your different options so you can make a smart decision about it.