From teaching in a public school to working for a non-profit, you can find jobs that offer full or partial loan forgiveness.
A cloud hangs over my financial future: my student debt. In 2005, graduating college seniors owed an average of $20,000. Today, that number has increased to $35,000–a 75% leap!1 According to a recent survey by the Pew Charitable trust, more than half of Black and Latino Generation Xers and Millennials regret owing so much. And I am one of them.
If you are floundering under the weight of student loans, consider these career choices. A portion (or even all!) of your college debt could disappear.
1. Move to a new state
Some cities and states will also help you tame the student debt monster if you agree to move there to work. Seventy-seven counties in Kansas, known as Rural Opportunities Zones, offer programs that pay up to $15,000 of your student debt and exempt you for state income tax for five years. Many states offer their own loan forgiveness programs. Do your research here. For example, you can earn nearly $7,000 in student debt forgiveness over two years just by opting to live full-time as a new homeowner or a renter in specially designated areas of Niagara Falls, NY. Check out #LIVENF program.
2. Become a licensed nurse
If you are a licensed nurse and willing to work in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) for two years, the federal government could pay up to 60% of your student loans. If you work for three years, you may be eligible to have 85% of your student loans forgiven. To be eligible for the HPSA program, you must be a U.S. Citizen and willing to work full-time (at least 32 hours/week). Visit the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program to learn more.
3. Inspire young minds
Did you know being a teacher could help pay off your student debt? According to the US Department of Education, math and science teachers who work for five consecutive years in a low-income or “Title 1” secondary school could see as much as $17,500 of their student loans forgiven. The same applies to special education teachers who work for five consecutive years in a low-income elementary or secondary school.
Fluent in English and Español? Become a bilingual education teacher at a low-income school for five consecutive years and have all of your federal Perkins loans cleared. ALL! That is sweeter than a mound of Milky Way bars on Teacher Appreciation Day.
Teachers in other disciplines at low-income schools may also qualify for partial or complete debt payment. Learn more about the programs here.
4. Join the federal government
Add loan forgiveness to the other perks of becoming a civil servant, including decent hours, good pay, and excellent job security. Under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program, federal, state, or local government agency workers can qualify for student loans forgiveness after 10 years of working. And you don’t have to be a program director to be eligible. Everyone from staff assistants to policy analysts may apply.
5. Volunteer at home or abroad
Want to give back but don’t want to do it from a desk in Washington? If planting trees in rural Nepal is more your style, you may still qualify for loan forgiveness under the PSLF Program, including full-time volunteers with Americorps or Peace Corps. Hooray. Financial freedom—while doing good!
6. Work for a non-profit
As long as your employer is tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and it is not a labor union or partisan organization, you could qualify for a write off of some of your student debt.
Don’t let student loan burden overwhelm you. Think about making a career move today that will keep your future sunny and bright.
7. Serve your country and community
You may not know it, but the US Department of Defense is the world’s biggest employer, and all branches of the military help pay college debt. Some even cover the entire cost of your degree. As a firefighter, law enforcement or corrections officer, public defender, social worker, , or emergency medical technician, you may also be eligible to see your Perkins Loans forgiven completely. Say adiós to that mountain of debt!
Don’t see anything that interests you? Here are 60 Ways to Get Rid of Student Loans Without Paying Them.