Many students and recent college graduates are having trouble paying back their student loans. If you are having trouble making even minimum payments, you may want to look into some of the programs out there that help students pay their debt. These are the 2 easiest to received student loan forgiveness programs.
#1 Income Based Repayment Plan
The easiest method is to apply for a federal income-based payment plan. A relatively new program, this will allow you to pay a percentage of your income rather than a fixed price on your federal loans. Balances can be as low as zero dollars and are determined by your income and the poverty line. Fortunately the program does not take into consideration the amount of your debt. As a bonus, the government will pay interest you accrue on your federal loans for up to three years.
Most programs to help you pay back your student loans are based on your profession. They all require agreements that you will stay in your position for a fixed period of time. Unfortunately, as more and more students struggle with their student loans these programs have become increasingly competitive.
For public defenders and state prosecutors there is the John R. Justice Repayment Loan program. By working for a minimum of three years, you can attain $10,000 worth of student debt relief. More than one work agreement can be made, earning up to $60,000 in student debt forgiveness. Nurses working in nursing schools or critical shortage facilities may apply for partial loan forgiveness through the Health Resources and Services Administration.
#2 TEACH Teacher Student Loan Forgiveness
The most accessible program is for teachers working in disadvantaged schools. A five-year work agreement can yield up to $17,750 in federal student debt forgiveness. Certain programs exist at the state-level to fill positions in critical shortage areas that also provide student debt forgiveness.
For a more non-traditional method, look no further than SmarterBank. SmarterBank is an all online bank that works much like traditional banks. You have your free checking account, you get a debit card, etc. However this bank is fully geared towards graduates working off their student loans. Their debit card rewards program builds points that can be used to pay off your student loans faster. Called SmarterBucks, you gain points by making everyday purchases with your SmarterBank debit card. For purchases under $100 you earn 0.5% towards your student loans. If you buy more than $100 worth in a single purchase the earned rate doubles to 1% of the purchase total. Members can also recruit to help pay off their debt. For example, if your aunt got an account then her rewards points could go towards paying of your debt.
Student debt is not an easy thing to contend with, but there are always options at your fingertips. These are just some of the avenues available for students who need assistance paying back their student loans. If none of the programs above work for you, there are also programs that allow forbearance and deferments on certain student loans. A good place to start would be to talk to your loan servicer about what your options are. You never know what might be available to you.