Did you know that there are strategies out there to get your student loans paid off for you?
I’m talking about after you actually rack them up (because you’re likely past the trying-to-get-scholarships-and-grants phase, and in the oh-crap-look-at-all-these-loans phase).
Qualifying for these programs takes varying amounts of commitments from you, but if you see something that you are interested in, or that describes your current financial state of affairs, then you just might want to apply.Did you know that there are strategies out there to get your student loans paid off for you? Click To Tweet
#1: Get Your Employer to Pay Off Your Federal or Private Student Loans
Some employers offer student loan payback programs. It’s through something called loan repayment assistance programs (LRAPs), which some employers in non-profit, for-profit, and government agencies offer. Rather than pay your loans directly, an LRAP provides money for you to put toward your loan payments.
An example from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for government jobs, “Although the student loan is not forgiven, agencies may make payments to the loan holder of up to a maximum of $10,000 for an employee in a calendar year and a total of not more than $60,000 for any one employee.”
Bonus: This program is particularly useful for someone with private student loans, because some of the other programs don’t offer assistance with those.
Also, beware that this could come in the form of a taxable benefit to you, especially if it’s through a private employer. So be sure to ask if you are offered this benefit!
#2: Get Your Federal Direct Student Loans Forgiven in Exchange for Your Service
Are you into living like a college student − lower income level, high desire for experience, and able/willing to travel − for awhile?
I once daydreamed about putzing around the world as my job (aka, the Peace Corps). While it didn’t pan out for me, that doesn’t mean it’s not a good option for you, particularly if you fit the description above and are in need of student loan forgiveness. And it doesn’t end with the Peace Corps; there’s AmeriCorps, and many other types of positions you could have that fall under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. You need to work for a qualifying employer full-time as well as make on-time payments under a qualifying repayment plan for 120 months in order to have your loans forgiven this way.
#3: Get Random Companies to Pay towards Your Loans
You probably know by now that UPromise allows you to save up for someone’s college education by companies contributing a percentage of your transaction money into an account that you can then roll into a 529(k) for someone (and if you didn’t know that, then you might want to sign up! I’ve got close to $200 saved for my niece this way without spending a dime more than I would have anyway).
But did you also know that you can create a UPromise account and make your Sallie Mae loans the beneficiary to free money earned? It’s through the UPromise Loan Link program. All you have to do is, after creating your UPromise account, link it to your Sallie Mae Loan account. This will help towards those private loans as well!
#4: Get Your Federal Perkins Loans Cancelled in Exchange for Choosing a Particular Job
There are some types of careers where you can get your Federal Perkins Loans cancelled altogether after a certain number of years. Professions include things like firefighter, nurse, medical technician, and lots more very specific niches (such as “Full-time employee of a public or nonprofit child- or family-services agency providing services to high-risk children and their families from low-income communities”).
#5: Get Federal Student Loans Forgiven Due to Low Income
Do you struggle paying your monthly federal student loan payments because you simply don’t earn enough money (not because of an untamed shopping habit)? Then an Income-Based Repayment program with an end date for loan forgiveness might be the ticket. Click here for more information and to apply to any one of these programs: the Pay As You Earn (PAYE), Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE), Income-Based Repayment (IBR), or Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) plans.
Do any of these programs appeal to you? Would they make you change your current career choices in order to pay down a huge load of student loan debt? I’d love to hear more about your situation in the comments below.