Paying off your student loans can be overwhelming and frustrating and having debt can cause you to delay pursuing other life goals, like starting a business or getting married. But one little-known way to manage your debt is to look for grants. There are many grants for student loans that you can use to repay your balance.
While most grants are for individuals still in school, there are some opportunities for people working in particular fields. These grants can help relieve the burden of student loans. And if you leave school with a large loan balance and high monthly payments, grants can give you the breathing room you need to launch your career.
There are many different sources of grants for student loans. The federal government offers several grant options through various departments, such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
You can also find student loan repayment grants offered by your state. Operated independently from federal programs, states offer grants and incentives to encourage graduates to live and work in fields with shortages, such as in engineering or healthcare.
And some non-profits offer grants to workers in particular fields. Depending on your career choice, you mind find a wide range of options to help you manage your debt.
8 grants to pay off student loans
Below are eight student loan grants that can help you pay off your debt.
1. Contraception and Infertility Research Loan Repayment Program
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers a student loan repayment incentive to encourage people to work in areas of reproductive research. Under the Contraception and Infertility Research Repayment Program, recipients can receive up to $35,000 a year to help with student loan repayment.
Under the terms of the programs, awardees must commit to two years researching contraception and infertility issues. For more information or to apply, visit the grant website.
2. Iraq-Afghanistan Service Grant
If you had a parent who served in the military and died as a result of their service in either Iraq or Afghanistan, you may receive up to $6,095 to use towards your student loans.
To be eligible, you must have been under the age of 24 or enrolled at least part-time in college at the time of your parent’s death.
3. John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program
If you are a state public defender or state prosecutor, you may be eligible for the John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program. Under this initiative, you can receive $10,000 a year for up to six years to help pay off your student loans.
To apply for the grant, you must agree to work as a public defender or state prosecutor for at least three years. For more information, visit your state agency website for our area’s requirements.
4. National Institute of Mental Health Loan Repayment Program
If you are a healthcare professional planning to pursue a career in behavioral, social, or clinical research with a non-profit organization, you can get grants for repaying student loans from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
Valued up to $35,000, you can use the grant to pay off undergraduate, graduate, or medical school debt. To apply, fill out the application online.
5. New York State Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program
In New York, graduates who want to pursue a career in farming can receive up to $10,000 a year for up to five years to pay off their debt. To be eligible, individuals must receive their degree from a New York college or university and agree to operate a farm in New York for at least five years.
To apply, you must submit your application within two years of graduating from school. Both federal and private student loans are eligible.
6. North Dakota Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Student Loan Grant
Cameron Battagler graduated from Valley City State University with $30,000 in student loans. But with the help of student loan repayment grants, he was able to pay off his debt years ahead of schedule.
“I was able to find about $6,000 in grants after I graduated that helped pay off my debt,” says Cameron. “The money is there, and it often goes unused.”
Because he is a computer programmer, Cameron qualified for North Dakota’s STEM Student Loan Grant, receiving $1,500 a year to pay off his loans. That money helped knock off months from his repayment term, and he was able to save thousands in interest.
And the STEM grant is available to anyone working in a STEM-related career in North Dakota.
7. Nurse Corps Repayment Program
If you are a nurse, you can get up to 85% of your outstanding loans paid off through the Nurse Corps Repayment Program offered by the Health Resources and Services Administration.
To be eligible, you must be a licensed registered nurse, a nurse practitioner, or a nursing faculty member with a nursing degree. Applicants should work in either a healthcare facility with a critical shortage or at an accredited school of nursing.
8. Pennsylvania Primary Healthcare Loan Repayment Program
If you’re a physician or dentist willing to work in under-served areas in Pennsylvania, you can get between $30,000 and $100,000 to use towards your student loans.
To receive the grant, you must make a two-year service commitment.
Do you have to pay back grants?
Grants don’t function the same as student loans and you typically don’t have to repay them. There may be some grant programs, however, that have some stipulations for keeping the grant.
If you don’t meet all of the stipulations, it is possible that you would lose the full grant amount or even have to pay back some of the grant money you’ve received.
If you’re not eligible for a student loan repayment grant
Not all people will qualify for grants for student loans. Repayment grants are typically limited to certain fields and only offered in particular areas. But that doesn’t mean you are out of options. If you’re overwhelmed with your student loans, there are still ways to manage your debt.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
If you work for the government or a non-profit but are ineligible for student loan grants, you may qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Under PSLF, after ten years of service and making qualifying payments on your federal student loans, the government forgives the remaining balance.
And unlike other forgiveness options, the discharged balance is not taxable as income, which can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Income-driven repayment plans
If you are struggling to keep up with your payments on your current salary and have federal loans, check out income-driven repayment plans. There are four separate plans:
- Income-Based Repayment
- Income-Contingent Repayment
- Pay As You Earn
- Revised Pay As You Earn
While each plan differs slightly, the basics are the same: the government extends your repayment term and caps your monthly payment at a percentage of your discretionary income. Switching to an income-driven repayment plan can drastically reduce your monthly payment, making managing your loans much easier.
If PSLF or income-driven repayment plans are not an option, another path to consider is refinancing your debt. With refinancing, you take out a new loan for your student loan balance with new terms. You can get a different repayment term, lower interest rate, and a smaller monthly payment.
By refinancing, you can save money over the length of your repayment and have more room in your budget. Use a student loan refinancing calculator to see what kind of savings you can get from refinancing.
Managing your student loans
There are several grants for student loans which can make repaying your debt easier. Check to see if your field or state offers any grants to professionals to help manage your loans.
For information on repaying student loans, check out this article on forgiveness programs.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.30% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
APR stands for “Annual Percentage Rate.” Rates listed include a 0.25% EFT discount, for automatic payments made from a checking or savings account. Interest rates as of 11/8/2018. Rates subject to change.
Variable rate options consist of a range from 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term, 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term, 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term, 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term, or 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rate will change on the first day of every month (“Change Date”) if the Current Index changes. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes. The variable interest rates are calculated by adding a margin ranging from 0.98% to 3.80% for the 5-year term loan, 2.35% to 3.85% for the 7-year term loan, 2.40% to 3.90% for the 10-year term loan, 2.65% to 4.15% for the 15-year term loan, and 2.90% to 4.40% for the 20-year term loan, respectively, to the 1-month LIBOR index published on the 25th day of each month immediately preceding each “Change Date,” as defined above, rounded to two decimal places, with no origination fees. If the 25th day of the month is not a business day or is a US federal holiday, the reference date will be the most recent date preceding the 25th day of the month that is a business day. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term would be from $180.89 to $193.75. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term would be from $139.65 to $146.76. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term would be from $104.56 to $111.98. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term would be from $78.77 to $86.78. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term would be from $67.05 to $75.68.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.
All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.28% effective October 10, 2018.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.47% – 6.30%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.51% – 8.09%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.02% – 6.44%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.69% – 7.21%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.79% – 8.39%6||Undergrad & Graduate|