Ultimate Guide to Student Loan Repayment and Forgiveness in Ohio

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the financial institution.

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I’ll never forget when I sat down after graduation from college to make a plan to pay off my student loans. I started out with about $40,000 in debt and decided I was going to get a job making $40,000 per year, live with my parents in their apartment in Cincinnati, and pay off my loans in two years.

Of course, my so-called plan had no bearing on reality. How would I get this magical $40,000 per year job right out of college? And who said my parents would let me live with them rent-free, even for just two years?

Ah, youth. As you probably figured out, my plan didn’t come to fruition. It took me quite a while, in fact, to even come close to making that much money — though my parents did allow me to live with them. And now several years (and states) later, I still have student loan debt on my plate.

If you’re a Buckeye, too — or if you’ve moved to Ohio from another state — and you intend to make a real plan to pay off your loans, there are programs out there to help. Here’s your ultimate guide to loan repayment assistance and student loan forgiveness in Ohio.

The state of Ohio student loans

Confession time: Even though I lived in Ohio, I went to college in Kentucky. And that decision cost me nearly double in tuition. But I was young, had my sights set on a particular type of college, and blindly followed the path to student loan debt.

I mean, everyone has student loan debt, right?

That’s what I thought when I was in school — and the stats aren’t too far off now. Recent data on student loan debt by The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS) places Ohio as the eighth-highest state regarding the percentage of people with student loan debt. And it ranks 10th in the average amount of student loan debt per person.

Specifically, 66 percent of Ohioans have student loan debt, with the average amount being $30,239.

More than $30,000 straight out of college is no small chunk of change. That’s why you need to know about how to find loan repayment assistance and student loan forgiveness in Ohio.

Student loan forgiveness and repayment in Ohio

Compared to some other states, there aren’t a lot of programs offering loan repayment assistance or student loan forgiveness in Ohio. But there are a few that can help — particularly if you’re a lawyer, dentist, or physician.

Here’s a look at what people in those fields can do about their Ohio student loans.

1. John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program

Let’s start off with a program for lawyers. Multiple states offer the John. R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program, Ohio included. This program is available to state and federal public defenders or state prosecutors.

But to get it, you must also agree that you’ll remain as such for a minimum of three years. And you must not be in default on your federal student loans.

Below are some specifics on the requirements for this program:

  • Attorneys must be licensed to practice law, without interruption.
  • Prosecutors and public defenders must work for state or local government and on criminal cases or cases involving juvenile delinquency, including for indigent persons if you’re a public defender.
  • Federal defense attorneys can also be eligible if they work on the cases mentioned above, although prosecutors employed by the federal government do not qualify.
  • Private practice attorneys aren’t eligible, even if they’re contracted through the state.
  • Attorneys who are supervising or training prosecutors or public defenders are eligible.

If you receive funds from this program to help pay your Ohio student loans, you can get up to $10,000 per year, but no more than $60,000 in total, according to Equal Justice Works. Unfortunately, if you have private loans or Parent PLUS loans, you’re not eligible.

2. Ohio Dentist Loan Repayment Program

If you’re a dentist or dental hygienist working in an underserved area, the Ohio Dentist Loan Repayment Program (ODLRP) can help you pay off your student loans.

This program is outlined by the Ohio Department of Health and is available to either a general or pediatric dentists and dental hygienists. But there are a few stipulations you must follow:

  • You must practice between 20 and 40 hours a week and provide services at the agreed-upon sites.
  • You must serve Medicaid-eligible patients, whether or not they can pay.
  • If it’s in your contract, you can teach on-site for a limited amount of time.

In exchange for this, participants of ODLRP will receive help with all or some of their federal or private loans taken out for dental school or dental hygiene college. That can include not just tuition, but also other costs, such as room and board, books, and lab expenses. The Ohio director of health determines the amount of the award.

3. Ohio Physician Loan Repayment Program

Dentists aren’t the only health practitioners eligible for Ohio loan repayment assistance. Doctors can get similar help through the Ohio Physician Loan Repayment Program (OPLRP).

Just as the one for dentists, this program is meant to help underserved communities. Any physician who accepts this loan repayment help does so with the promise to work for at least two years in such a community. Similarly, the physician must be willing to see patients whether or not they can pay, and they must also accept Medicare and Medicaid.

Here’s what you can get if you’re approved to be a part of the program:

  • For the first two years, you can receive up to $25,000 to put toward your medical school loans if you work at least 40 hours per week.
  • If you continue on for another year or two, you can get up to $35,000 for your medical school debt.
  • If you’re part-time but work at least 20 hours per week, you’re eligible for half of these amounts.

To qualify, you must offer primary care in family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, adolescent medicine, geriatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, or psychology.

4. Loan repayment assistance from your school

Many schools also offer loan repayment assistance programs (LRAPs) for graduates of specific majors. If none of the aforementioned programs can help you, contact your alma mater (or look on their website) to see if your major might make you eligible for an LRAP.

5. Grants and scholarships for Ohio students

Besides the above options for Ohio student loan forgiveness, there are a variety of grants and scholarships to discuss for incoming students. They won’t help you if you’ve already graduated, but if you’re an incoming student, take a look.

The Department of Education’s website, OhioHigherEd, lists the current grants and scholarships as follows:

  • Choose Ohio First (for STEMM students)
  • Opportunities for Veterans (for active service members and veterans, and sometimes family members)
  • Ohio College Opportunity Grant (for those with a great deal of financial need)
  • Nurse Education Assistance Program (for students in approved Ohio nursing programs)
  • Ohio War Orphans Scholarship (for children of deceased or severely disabled Ohio veterans who served in combat)
  • Ohio Safety Officers College Memorial Fund (for Ohio children and spouses of safety officers who lost their lives in the U.S. in the line of duty, as well as those of service members who died during specific operations)
  • Forever Buckeyes (in-state tuition for Ohio high school graduates who go out of state but transfer back to an Ohio school and establish residency in the state)
  • Geological Survey Grant Program (for students doing geological research in Ohio)

And finally, they feature a specific scholarship search tool for Ohio.

Statute of limitations on Ohio student loans

So what happens if you’re already in default on your Ohio student loans and have little ability to rehabilitate them? Depending on when you made your last payment, the statute of limitations might be on your side.

When debt surpasses the statute of limitations, it becomes what’s called “time-barred” debt. Although you technically still owe that money, repayment of it is no longer enforceable by law.

In other words, a debt collector can sue you for it, but if you show up to court and prove your debt is time-barred, they won’t win the case. But they can continue to try to collect.

The statute of limitations varies by state and is broken down by different types of debt. Student loan debt would fall into the “written contracts” category, which becomes time-barred in Ohio after eight years, according to the Ohio Revised Code § 2306.06.

Here’s the bad news: Federal loans are exempt from this law. Therefore, only private student loans can become time-barred.

And one more thing: Anytime you make a payment on your debt, the statute of limitations starts over. That means even if you just had one month to go, one payment would completely restart the clock.

Make the most of Ohio student loan forgiveness

Whether you’re a born and raised Ohioan like me or recently moved there for work, see if you can get help with loan repayment assistance and student loan forgiveness in Ohio. And if you don’t see anything you’re eligible for, take it to your representatives.

Use GovTrack to find and reach out to your Ohio senators and Ohio representatives. Coming from or living in a proudly political state, you’d be remiss not to if you’re feeling left in the dust concerning Ohio student loan forgiveness.

Either way, you can make sure your debt doesn’t take over your life by taking control of it now. If you need more help, check out our complete guide to student loan forgiveness programs and our guide to paying off student loans faster.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

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 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% 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 hello@earnest.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

  1. VARIABLE APR – APR is subject to increase after consummation. 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.

3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 3.899% APR to 8.179% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.570% APR to 6.980% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. SoFi rate ranges are current as of September 14, 2018 and are subject to change without notice. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.570% APR assumes the current index rate derived from the 1-month LIBOR of 2.08% plus 0.740% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score.
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

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.

CommonBond Disclosures

  1. Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). The following table displays the estimated monthly payment, total interest, and Annual Percentage Rates (APR) for a $10,000 loan. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) shown for each in-school loan product reflects the accruing interest, the effect of one-time capitalization of interest at the end of a deferment period, a 2% origination fee, and the applicable Repayment Plan. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment, which is reflected in the interest rates and APRs displayed. Variable rates may increase after consummation. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.08% effective July 25, 2018.

6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Education Refinance Loan Rate DisclosureVariable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.07%. Variable interest rates range from 2.57%-8.17% (2.57%-8.17% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 3.75%-8.69% (3.75%-8.69% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown require application with a cosigner, are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.
  2. Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at http://www.citizensbank.com/EdRefinance, including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
  3. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Eligibility: Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled, must be in repayment of their existing student loan(s) and must make the minimum number of payments after leaving school. Primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The co-signer (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer will be required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Education Refinance Loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned.
  4. Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  5. Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
  6. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply.
  7. Estimated average savings amount is based on 14,659 Education Refinance Loan customers who saved on loans between August 1, 2017 and July 31, 2018. The calculation is derived by averaging monthly savings across Education Refinance Loan customers whose payment amounts decreased after refinancing, calculated by taking the monthly payment prior to refinancing minus the monthly payment after refinancing. We excluded monthly savings from customers that exceeded $4,375 and were lower than $20 to minimize risk of data error skewing the savings amounts. Savings will vary based on interest rates, balances and remaining repayment term of loans to be refinanced. Borrower’s overall repayment amount may be higher than the loans they are refinancing even if monthly payments are lower.

2.57% – 6.98%3Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit SoFi
2.47% – 5.87%1Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Earnest
2.47% – 8.03%4Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Lendkey
2.80% – 6.22%2Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Laurel Road
2.48% – 6.25%5Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit CommonBond
2.57% – 8.17%6Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Citizens
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.