Financial Aid

Programs and Scholarships to Pay Off Student Loans

Elizabeth Hoyt

December 16, 2019

Programs and Scholarships to Pay Off Student Loans
Looking for a bailout? Good news! The only catch is you'll have to do some good...
If you’re like the millions of students looking for a way out of your student loans; I've got good news for you. There are alternatives but, as with most things in life, there’s a tiny catch. What's the catch? If you’re willing to do some good for the world (gasp!) and volunteer, there are plenty of programs that will be willing to help pay off your student loans in exchange for service work. So, if these options sound like they may options you'd be interested in pursuing, read on to learn more about the programs willing to help bail you out of student loan debt:


What is AmeriCorps?

When you become an AmeriCorps member and give your time through national service work, you’re able to gain real life educational and work experiences at the same time. What do you do with AmeriCorps?
You’ll work within an intensive service position suited to your skills, interests or location preference, working to help move communities forward across the country. How long will I volunteer for? • Anywhere from 10 months to one year
• There are some part-time opportunities available, but most are full-time What types of student debt relief will I qualify for?
• Most AmeriCorps members will qualify for postponement or forbearance of the repayment of your loans during your service
• When you’re finished with your service, you will receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award to help pay for college, graduate school, or vocational training or to repay student loans.
• The dollar amount of a full-time award is tied to the the maximum amount of the U.S. Department of Education's Pell Grant, thus it can vary from year to year. Learn more about the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. Will I get paid?
• As a member, you will receive a modest living allowance. (Note: Although you may not make much money, as in, to open a savings account, you should have enough to live on to cover your daily needs.)
• Depending on the program, you may receive housing
• Depending on the program, you may receive health insurance Find additional Americorps program details.

Peace Corps

What is Peace Corps? “As the preeminent international service organization of the United States, the Peace Corps sends Americans abroad to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Peace Corps Volunteers work at the grassroots level toward sustainable change that lives on long after their service—at the same time becoming global citizens and serving their country. When they return home, Volunteers bring their knowledge and experiences—and a global outlook—that enriches the lives of those around them.” –Peace Corps Mission Statement What do you do with Peace Corps? • Volunteers travel to a foreign country and focus on one specific volunteer area, determined by the needs of the host country and by the qualifying skills of the volunteer.
• The areas generally fall under one of several general categories: Education; Youth in Development; Health; Community Economic Development; Agriculture; Environment; HIV/AIDS; Food Security; Earth Day; Stomp Out Malaria. How long will I volunteer for? • Generally, starting out for 2 years What types of student debt relief will I qualify for? • If you volunteer with the Peace Corps, you can qualify for student debt relief from federally administered or guaranteed student loan programs during the time of your Peace Corps service. According to the Peace Corps web site: • Public student loans may be eligible for deferment
• Perkins loan may be eligible for partial cancellation – for example, 4 years of service may be eligible for up to 70% of loan forgiveness. (Note: Even more may be forgiven for additional years of service. )
• A “readjustment” allowance of $7,425 (pre-tax) upon completion of service
The rules and regulations allowing relief for each specific type of loan and the interest rates that accompany it, however, are extremely complicated. If you’re considering this route, it’s best to consult with you financial aid advisor on the guidelines for the loans you’ve taken out. Additionally, Seed Global Health partners with the Peace Corps to help encourage Americans to volunteer in service work, lifting any financial constraints of an individual accepted into the program. Seed Global Health is able to provide loan repayment to eligible volunteers through private philanthropists, which includes educational debt in the amount of up to $30,000 to qualifying individuals. Will I get paid? As a Peace Corps volunteer, you will receive: • A monthly living and housing allowance
• All travel expenses paid (to and from country of service)
• 48 paid vacation days
• Full medical and dental coverage Learn more about the additional tangible benefits for volunteers. Plus, Career Connections: • Unique graduate school opportunities
• Transition and job support, including social networking after service
• Advantages in federal employment Learn more about volunteer opportunities with the Peace Corps and debt repayment through Seed Global Health.

Career-Specific Loan Forgiveness Programs

If you’re entering a specific field, you may qualify to enter a career-specific loan forgiveness program. These programs do differ by state, so check your state's requirements for specifics. Most of these programs allow teachers, doctors and other recent college graduates in specific professional fields to have the option to work in exchange for student loan forgiveness, similar to those listed below:
Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program
What’s agreed to: You’ll work as a registered nurse for a minimum of 32 hours weekly for 2 years at a non-profit in need of nursing services
What you’ll get in return: Up to 60% of student loans paid off
Added value: If the nurse agrees to work 3 years or more, you’ll be eligible to get 25% more off loans
• Applications for the program are accepted once annually Learn more about eligibility and applications for the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program.
National Health Service Corps. Program (for those within the medical field)
What’s agreed to: You agree to work as a medical professional for two years within a community in need of medical services
What you’ll get in return: You can receive up to $25,000 paid off of your student loans
Added value: If you work longer, there’s potential for even larger payoffs of your student loans
Loan Forgiveness Program for Teachers
This is for those who have taken out Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans. • What’s agreed to: You agree to work for 5 years as a teacher within a school in need – usually within a lower income community
What you’ll get in return: You’ll be eligible for anywhere from $5,000-$17,500 in forgiveness of your student loans Learn more about the Loan Forgiveness Program for Teachers.
Teacher Cancellation
This is for those who have taken out Federal Perkins Loans. • What’s agreed to: You must teach full-time for a full academic year or its equivalent as a teacher in one of the following scenarios: in a school serving students from low-income families; as a special education teacher, including teachers of infants, toddlers, children, or youth with disabilities; teacher in the fields of mathematics, science, foreign languages, or bilingual education, or in any other field of expertise determined by a state education agency to have a shortage of qualified teachers in that state. • What you’ll get in return: If eligible, up to 100 percent of the loan may be cancelled in exchange for teaching service. It will, however, be cancelled incrementally, though it does include interest that was accrued throughout the year.
-15% cancelled per year for the 1st and 2nd years of service
-20% cancelled per year for the 3rd and 4th years of service
-30% cancelled for the 5th year
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
This is available for Direct Loans only. • What’s agreed to: You must make a required 120 qualifying payments on your Direct Loans on time, monthly payment made under one of the Direct Loan Program repayment plans, while employed full-time by a public service organization. Jobs include public health and safety, social work, library and varied law professions.
What you’ll get in return: After you make your 120th qualifying payment, you will need to submit the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) application to receive loan forgiveness. The application is under development and will be available prior to the date when the first borrowers will be eligible for PSLF Program forgiveness, in October 2017.
Added value: The program is most beneficial for those who have excessive student loan debt who would not be able to pay back loans within 10 years. Learn more about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF).

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