Explanation of Findings
The loan repayment programs that I found were mostly for government workers, non-profit organizations, and educators. Although the majority of the programs are workers within these fields (mainly due to the lower salaries paid within these areas), make sure that your current employer doesn't offer education assistance or loan repayment programs. Contact your HR or benefits representative for that information.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
This program is available to anyone who works in a "public service" job. This could be a government agency (including local, state, and federal govt, military, public schools, etc), a 501(c)(3) non profit organization (501(c)(3) identifies tax exempt non-profit org), Peace Corps, and Ameri Corps. You must be employed full-time (average of 30 hours per week), regardless of your position within these organizations.
- Qualifying Loans and Repayment Conditions
There are also two conditions in which the Department of Education will allow you to participate if you do not meet this criteria (I copied this directly from the Department of Education's website):
1) your employer is not "a business organized for profit, a labor union, a partisan political organization, or a non-profit organization engaged in religious instruction, worship services, or any form of proselytizing;"
2) your employer provides any of the following public services: emergency management; military service; public safety; law enforcement; public interest law services; early childhood education; public service for individuals with disabilities and the elderly; public health; public education; public library services; and school library or other school-based services.
- If you qualify for this program and would like to take advantage, but can't afford the monthly payments, consider Income-Based Repayment (IBR). This has been around since 2009, and bases your payments from your monthly income. It can be used with pretty much any type of loan EXCEPT Parent Plus loans. Payments are usually less than 10% of your income.
- Consolidation Consolidation combines several loans that you may have with different services into one payment, but BE CAREFUL!!!! I was looking to consolidate my undergrad and graduate school loans, but learned that my undergrad loans had a lower interest rate, and if I consolidated, it would go up by 4%! I'm in the process of learning how I can keep my low interest rate, not sure if I will be able to, but I will pass along any info that I find.
- Of course this program is for those who would normally have loans that require repayment past 10 years. If your debt is not that much, just work out a plan with your servicer. I have learned that as long as you make some type of repayment attempts, they are more likely to work with you. Imagine the people who have made up their minds that they WILL NOT EVER pay back their loans. lol I'm sure its refreshing to them when people actually make the effort.
- Being debt free is one of my goals in life. If I can rid of them by the time I'm 38, I think that's great! Although, my debt is not as great as a lot of folk's, I still would like to pay them off. By using this information I have provided to you, I took my 50,000 debt and squeezed it into $178 a month.
Hope this information helps! If not.......*insert rude comment*