Career Paths That Provide Student Loan Forgiveness

Student loan forgiveness is possible on federal loans if you elect specific careers. You should be aware there is a long list of qualifications to have the debts excused. However, for those individuals hoping to truly choose public service as a lifelong career and not just a job, the federal government may be willing to excuse most student loans.

How Loan Forgiveness Works

Loan forgiveness is only an option if you have a federal student loan. Private student loan lenders do not offer forgiveness through public service. The eligible federal loans include:

  • Direct Stafford and Ford Loans (subsidized and unsubsidized)
  • Direct PLUS Loans for parents and graduate or professional students
  • Direct Consolidation Loans

Private loans guaranteed by the government are not eligible. Further, if you do have federal student loans, you will need to make those loan payments for years before you are eligible for forgiveness. You will be required to make 120 payments toward the loan. Only once you have repaid this large amount of the loan will you be eligible to enter a forgiveness program.

Service Careers Leading to Loan Forgiveness

There are two primary types of loan forgiveness programs: public service forgiveness and loan forgiveness for teachers. The public service option is meant to cover the cost of student loans to those persons who have elected a low-paying service career. In exchange for their service, the government will forgive the entire loan amount and all interest accrued. Examples of public service jobs include:

  • Armed forces
  • Peace Corps
  • Americorps
  • VISTA programs
  • Teach for America
  • Other public programs

You may also qualify if you work in the social services arena.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program

If you are a teacher, check to see if you qualify for up to $17,500 of student loan forgiveness on your principal loan amount. You must be teaching full time for five consecutive academic years. The forgiveness program only applies to teachers in elementary and secondary schools, not college professors. You may also qualify if you provide teaching services at a public or government educational facility. This program is made to encourage people to enter the teaching profession in the public arena.

Electing Affordable Student Loan Options

There are many professions that do not lead to lucrative salaries that will not qualify you for federal student loan forgiveness. For example, even college professors generally make small salaries compared to the high debt they may have incurred in order to gain their higher degrees.

In this case, you should consider consolidating or refinancing your loans through the federal government. If you have private loan debt currently, moving to a federal or public option will generally greatly reduce your interest rate and provide better options. For example, there are no prepayment fees on any federal student loans. The federal government requires you have a good credit score and history. However, income requirements are very flexible, making this an option for nearly any individual.


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