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What is Stafford Loan Forgiveness?

Amy Hunter
Amy Hunter

There are several situations where it is possible for someone to receive Stafford loan forgiveness. While most federally backed loans are difficult to default on, in many situations, it is possible to receive forgiveness for some or the entire outstanding amount of the loan. Volunteer work, public service work, military service, and working in areas that are under served are all ways to receive forgiveness for a federal Stafford loan.

Americorps pays $4,725 toward federal loans, in addition to the stipend that it pays volunteers, for 12 months of volunteer work. VISTA also pays $4,725, for 1700 hours of volunteer work. Another way to earn Stafford loan forgiveness is to volunteer in a public library, family service agency, or non-profit organization. Talk with the director of the program for additional information about Stafford loan forgiveness.

Man climbing a rope
Man climbing a rope

Military service is another way to earn Stafford loan forgiveness. The Army National Guard pays up to $10,000 toward loan forgiveness. In addition, military and veterans benefits provide additional money for educational reimbursement. It is important to understand potential benefits before signing on with the Army National Guard or another branch of the military.

Another method of attaining Stafford loan forgiveness is to take a job in an under served area. There are different programs available depending on the field of employment. For example, teachers who work in under served areas or have certification as a highly qualified teacher may receive Stafford loan forgiveness.

Many law schools offer loan forgiveness programs on a case-by-case basis for graduates who work in particular fields. Anyone who takes a job that serves the public interest or works for a nonprofit should speak with the law school to see if the position qualifies for loan forgiveness. This form of loan forgiveness is not as well known as some other types, and it may require talking to several people at the law school to receive a definitive answer.

Medical schools have a similar method of loan forgiveness that encompasses the Stafford loan. The forgiveness plan is administered by the National Health Services Corps. It forgives loans for physicians who practice medicine in areas where there is a particular need. The physician must agree to work for a specified number of years in an area that lacks medical care, either due to being located in a remote location, or being in an area that is economically depressed. Physical and occupational therapists can qualify for loan forgiveness by taking jobs at hospitals and private healthcare facilities that are actively recruiting workers.

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