States that repay student loans to move there

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Paying off student loans can be a difficult journey, in some cases taking 20 years or more. Although there are federal programs that cancel your student loans after a certain number of payments, it can be difficult to qualify. Also, borrowers with private student loans are not eligible for these programs.

Fortunately, there are other niche ways to get student loan forgiveness, including state-based programs that pay off your loans just to move there.

States that will repay student loans to move there

From attracting a younger demographic to boosting the local economy, states may have a variety of reasons for offering student loan forgiveness to new residents. Before you pack your bags, read the eligibility requirements to see if the program is right for you. In some cases, you could get a significant portion of your debt forgiven.

Kansas

If you move to one of Kansas’ 95 counties designated as a Rural Opportunity Area, you may be eligible for student loan repayment assistance of up to $15,000 over five years. You must have a student loan balance in your name and be a new resident of one of these designated areas to qualify.

Maine

Maine offers student loan payment reimbursement through a program called Opportunity Maine Tax Credit. You must be a full-time resident of Maine to be eligible, and there are other eligibility requirements depending on your year of graduation.

Depending on your degree, your graduation date, and the amount of your monthly student loan payments, you may be eligible to receive more than $4,000 in student loan forgiveness.

Maryland

Maryland’s SmartBuy 3.0 program offers $5,000 down payment assistance and student loan repayment assistance to borrowers looking to buy a home. You must have at least $1,000 in student debt to participate, and the program will repay a student loan amount equal to 15% of the cost of the home, with a maximum repayment amount of $30,000. To qualify for this program, the repayment amount must completely eliminate the homeowner’s student loan balance.

Michigan

If you agree to work as a healthcare provider in a Michigan healthcare professional shortage area, you may be eligible for student loan repayment assistance of up to $200,000 through the Repayment Program loans from the State of Michigan. You must be in the program for at least two years to qualify for the full amount of repayment assistance.

Pay off student loans if you can’t move

If you are unable to relocate and do not live in a location with student loan forgiveness programs for which you qualify, some options are still available.

Federal Student Loan Forgiveness

If you have federal student loans, you may qualify for one of these federal student loan forgiveness programs:

  • Cancellation of civil service loans. This program requires you to hold a job in the public service for 10 years, after which you could have the remaining balance of your student loan forgiven.
  • Teacher Loan Rebate. Teachers who work for five straight years at a low-income school could see up to $5,000 or $17,500 of their student loan forgiven, depending on the subject they teach.
  • Cancellation of the Perkins loan. If you have a Perkins loan, you could have up to 100% of your loans forgiven by working for five years in an eligible position. This program is available for teachers, nurses, firefighters, librarians and more.
  • Income-driven repayment plan. There are several income-based repayment plans for federal loans that base your monthly payment on your income and family size. After 20 or 25 years of payments, your remaining balance will be forgiven.

Employer Reimbursement Assistance

If you have student loans, your employer may provide up to $5,250 in student loan repayment assistance. This amount is tax free for borrowers and employers. Ask your HR department if your company offers this benefit.

Big companies like Google, Aetna, and Fidelity Investments also offer their own student loan repayment assistance. As student debt continues to be a growing problem for young professionals, more companies will likely offer repayment assistance as a benefit.

Occupation-Based Student Loan Forgiveness

Certain professions such as nurses, doctors, lawyers and teachers have access to specific student loan forgiveness programs. For example, lawyers who work for the Department of Justice for three years could be reimbursed up to $6,000 in student loans per year. Nurses who work in underserved communities could also be reimbursed up to 85% of their pay through the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Scheme.

Try searching online for special forgiveness programs for your profession, especially if you are a teacher, nurse, doctor or lawyer.

Repayment of a private student loan

If you don’t qualify for federal rebate programs, there are always ways to make paying off your student loan more manageable.

If you have private student loans, one of the best ways to do this is through refinancing. This gives you a new interest rate, a new repayment term and a new monthly payment. If you qualify for a lower interest rate, you could save a significant amount over the life of your loan.

You might also consider requesting a deferral or forbearance of your student loans, which temporarily suspends payments.

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