You read that right, you can pay off your student loans without paying! There are various options out there for recent grads to help you pay off your student loans. This post will highlight 5 such ways. Not all will apply for everyone, but hopefully there is something in this list that will help you to pay off student loans without using your own money.
The first option is to simply volunteer for AmeriCorps or The Peace Corps. The amount of assistance they provide varies but it is usually in the range of $5,000 – $10,000. My sister-in-law took this route after Hurricane Katrina. She when to New Orleans for one year of service and received student loan assistance of close to $7,000. Be sure to look into the amounts of assistance that is typical and whether the assistance is still provided as government programs change all of the time.
If you decide to teach in a low income area, you can receive student loan forgiveness. In this case, every year you work in the low income school district, a portion of your student loan debt will be forgiven, or paid off by the government.
As of this writing, the maximum lifetime forgiveness amount is $17,500. There are two programs that you can qualify for as a low income school teacher, so be sure to understand both programs before accepting a position so you know which program, if either, you qualify for.
Work For The Government
There are many jobs within the federal government that provide for tuition repayment assistance. In 2012, the average assistance paid by the government was just over $6,000. Employees can qualify for a maximum repayment of $10,000 per year and a lifetime repayment of $60,000.
Government jobs can be attained through a number of different degrees. For example, earning a Master of Social Work degree allows you to become licensed in the field and gives you the opportunity to work in public health. With mental health and substance abuse treatment becoming increasingly important, the social work industry is expected to see significant growth in the coming years. Federal, state, and local governments will be looking for social workers and with this need comes a higher probability of these agencies paying for part of your student loans just to get you under contract.
Get A Job
When you are out looking for a job, and are told the benefits, you might inquire as to whether the firm will help you repay some of your student loans. More and more private sector employers are now offering this as a benefit to attract new talent. While the amount they offer you probably won’t pay off your loans in full, any amount they do offer will help.
If the firm you are looking into doesn’t offer this benefit, you might want to try to negotiate for it. The worst that can happen is that they say no.
As crazy as it sounds, some states are now willing to pay off your student loans for you. There are 50 counties in Kansas that are offering new residents either five years of waiving state income tax or paying up to $15,000 worth of student loan debt. In some cases, they will offer you both. It has been such a success that other states are now looking into creating a similar program of their own.
By going one of these routes, you could potentially have up to $60,000 of your student loans paid off for you. You just have to decide if you want to do any of these options. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of more student loan forgiveness and repayment opportunities in the near future with the talk of how much student loan debt our country is in and how it is hurting the younger generation. Be sure to keep up with the news so that you know of any new programs or initiatives that are announced.
Readers, have you used any of the above to help pay off your student loans?