Donors repaying student loans, freeing you from the grip of Sallie Mae’s death


For many of us, student loan debt can seem like a roller coaster. Yay! Graduation. Ouch! Drowning in student loan debt. Yay! There is growing political support for the cancellation of student loans. Ouch! Not for all borrowers and all amounts. Trying to figure out how to pay off your student loans in this atmosphere can be emotionally draining, no matter how universal the concept of borrowing for education is. A 2021 Federal Reserve report shows 30% of all adults have taken out loans to pay for school.

In the meantime, good news: there are quite a few subsidies and donors who repay student loans, including brands, employers, professional organizations and even local communities. With these options, it may be possible to extend your student loan repayment strategy beyond making more money and budgeting more wisely (although this is also important). Taking advantage of these programs can not only reduce your balance significantly (if not completely), but it can also help reduce the amount of interest you will pay over the life of your loan – and the money you save there can in turn allow you to make additional payments. Plus, they could help you find extra slack in your monthly budget through tax credits and other supports. Here’s where to start looking for donors who are paying off student loans.

1. State sponsored reimbursement programs

Many state governments offer specific student loan repayment programs to encourage people to live and work in the state. Through Illinois SmartBuy Program, for example, eligible student loan borrowers can potentially receive up to $ 40,000 toward their student loan repayment if they purchase a home in the state.

In Kansas, 95 counties are classified as “Rural opportunity zones” where full-time residents receive a state income tax credit and up to $ 15,000 in student loan repayment assistance over five years. Many other states offer variations of this initiative. For example, Maine repays student loan repayments through state income tax credits, with qualifications varying depending on the year of graduation.

However, student loan repayment programs are not only available at the state level. Some counties and cities in the United States offer similar opportunities, such as Hamilton, Ohio Talent Attraction Scholarship. Through this initiative, the Hamilton Community Foundation is providing up to $ 10,000 in student loan repayments to graduates who plan to move to Hamilton and work in a professional capacity.

In 2020, College Finance Company released a state-by-state guide to refund and rebate programs, so it’s worth starting your research there – and if you’re hoping to live in a certain city or state, you can also contact a local elected official or government office to ask what they are. might have to offer. If you are exploring any of these options, be sure to weigh the cost of any potential drop in income that could come from working in a smaller market. Census data shows that household income in rural counties is lower than in predominantly urban counties. If you were to earn a lot more in another location, you could get out of debt faster by taking the highest salary and refinancing your loans, even if you have to forfeit any of these perks.

2. Employers who repay student loans

Fortunately, paying off student loans is becoming an increasingly popular benefit for employees, and depending on your student loan repayment strategy, finding an employer who will help you with your payments can help you reduce your debt fast.

Each company handles this benefit slightly differently. For example, Estée Lauder offers $ 100 per month repayment of student debt, up to a maximum of $ 10,000. Technology company Nvidia enables employees request annual reimbursement of $ 6,000 up to a maximum of $ 30,000, although this benefit is only available to those who have graduated within the last three years.

Ask your HR department about the benefits that could be offered to you. Even if your business doesn’t explicitly offer this option, it may still be possible to negotiate student loan repayment assistance.

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3. Brand initiatives on student debt

Brands and businesses are also getting in the game, through contests and sweepstakes that offer student loan repayment as a prize. For example, in 2020, First Aid Beauty launched FAB AID, a competition initiative that awards up to $ 100,000 per beneficiary to repay student loans. There is also The TruTV Game Show Paid with Michael Torpey, hosted by the Orange is the new black actor, where candidates compete for a chance to be reimbursed for their student loans; as well as the beer maker Natural Light’s the #StoriesNatty program that offers up to $ 1 million in student loan repayment grants each year.

The landscape for these opportunities is constantly changing, but if you search online “student loan competitionYou will probably find many active initiatives. Keep in mind that there are many scam contests that benefit desperate student loan borrowers looking for a way to repay their loans. If you have to pay money to enter the contest, or if the app asks for secure information like your social security number, these are major red flags. Any sweepstakes you participate in must have a complete list of legal information available online, so that you know where your information will be used. You can also check the draws against Consumer fraud reportingcomprehensive list of known scams.

4. Industry-Based Student Loan Repayment Assistance

Depending on your career path, you may be able to land an industry-based student loan repayment grant – essentially, a donor, or a program dedicated to helping people in a specific field of employment. For example, through the government National health service body, primary care clinicians in certain disciplines – such as dentists and nurse practitioners – can receive up to $ 50,000 to repay student loans if they commit to two-year service in areas of the United States where access to health care is limited.

There are also 24 statewide loan repayment assistance programs for lawyers. Although reimbursement amounts vary, they are generally granted to lawyers practicing in the public service, for example in public defender or prosecutor positions.

Many professional organizations also offer student loan repayment assistance. In California, the California Dental Association will pay a maximum of $ 105,000 over three years to eligible dentists working in an underserved area. In Iowa, across the Meeting the need for dentists in Iowa project, dentists can earn up to $ 200,000 in repayment assistance to work in a designated priority or high priority county.

You can find up-to-date listings of employment-based rebate and reimbursement programs via Student loan hero and Nitro College, but if you can’t see your industry, it’s worth doing an online search for your job title or area and “student loan repayment” to see what else may be out there . Since many of these programs require some commitment, be prepared to stay in your job for a while – or be flexible about where you go – if the industry-based reimbursement benefits are an important part of your student debt strategy.

The bottom line

Paying off a student loan can be an overwhelming process, with many ways to approach it depending on your income, profession, and career goals. If you want to find a donor who pays off student loans but aren’t sure where to start, try creating a spreadsheet that outlines various approaches and the associated tradeoffs. If that gets too confusing, you can also consider hiring a financial planner who specializes in student loan repayment strategies, like Student loan planner; or by using the free services of a nonprofit focused on credit, such as the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Whether you want to qualify for repayment assistance based on your job, location, or interests, there are many options available to you.


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