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Colorado residents don’t just benefit from clean air, exciting winter sports and the beautiful scenery of the Rocky Mountains year-round. They also boast some of the lowest student loan debt averages in the nation. According to a 2019 report from the Institute for College Access and Success, Coloradoans with a bachelor’s degree hold an average student debt load of $24,888 — less than the national average of $29,900.
But even Centennial State graduates may need a hand with their student loans. Colorado student loan forgiveness programs exist for those seeking help, so read on to see some of the student loan repayment assistance programs you might qualify for.
How to get student loan forgiveness in Colorado
As is the case with most U.S. states, student loan forgiveness in Colorado is tied to the kind of work you do. Health practitioners will get the most help, though there are options for other grads as well.
1. Colorado Health Service Corps
2. Rural Essential Access Provider (REAP) Loan Repayment Program
3. State Dental Loan Repayment Program
4. Law school student loan repayment assistance programs
Plus: If all else fails, federal programs can help
First of all, let’s talk about the Colorado Health Service Corps. This generous program is available to a wide variety of health professionals.
Qualified professionals include not only physicians (both allopathic and osteopathic), but also clinical pharmacists, dentists, registered dental hygienists, licensed clinical or counseling psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists, nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, physician assistants, psychiatric nurse specialists and licensed addiction counselors and certified addiction counselors.
If you’re one of the health practitioners listed above, you can qualify if you work for three years in a designated health professional shortage area. Here’s what you’ll get in return:
- Physicians and dentists can receive $90,000 in student loan repayment assistance if they work full-time for the three years, or $45,000 if they work part-time.
- Physician assistants, advanced practice nurses, clinical pharmacists, licensed mental health providers and licensed addiction counselors can get $50,000 if they work full-time, or $25,000 for a part-time commitment.
- Dental hygienists and certified addiction counselors can earn $20,000 if they work full-time work, and $10,000 if they work part-time.
If you meet these criteria, check back on the listing for this program in March to apply.
The qualified list of medical practitioners for the Rural Essential Access Provider (REAP) Loan Repayment Program is the same as the one above, except for dentists and dental hygienists. (If you’re a dentist or hygienist working in a rural area, you can still get help through the next program on the list.)
Here’s what you can get for working for two years at one of these facilities:
- $30,000 for full-time physicians, and $15,000 for part-time physicians.
- $15,000 for full-time physician assistants, advanced practice nurses, clinical pharmacists, and licensed mental health providers, and $7,500 for part-timers.
If you think you qualify, you can apply year-round via this portal.
All right, dentists, here’s some information on student loan forgiveness in Colorado just for you. Whether you’re a general dentist, pediatric dentist or a dental hygienist, you can get help from the State Dental Loan Repayment Program.
You don’t have to have a specific type of practice to qualify. Dentists working in public, nonprofit, or private practices are eligible. You simply must commit to serve uninsured patients or patients with Medicaid or CHP+ and/or uninsured patients each month at the same site for two years. The total amount of student loan repayment assistance you receive depends on how many underserved patients you see per month on average:
- Dentists can get $50,000 in student loan repayment assistance if they see 80 or more underserved patients per month, $37,500 if they see 60 to 79, or $25,000 if they see 20 to 59.
- Dental hygienists can receive $12,000 toward their student loans if they see 80 or more underserved patients per month, $8,000 if they see 60 to 79, or $6,000 if they see 20 to 59.
Applications are accepted from March through September and are available via the same application used for the Colorado Health Service Corps.
Health practitioners aren’t the only ones who can get student loan forgiveness in Colorado. Some public interest lawyers can get help from their alma maters.
Law graduates of the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver are eligible for student loan repayment assistance if they graduated after May 2003, work in public service and earn less than $75,000 per year. Applications have previously opened up in December. and are usually due by late January. Qualified lawyers can earn this award for up to five years. and the website reports that “in recent years, awards have covered between 15%-75% of a recipient’s monthly payments” on Income-Based Repayment (IBR) or PAYE repayment plans.
Graduates of Colorado Law at the University of Colorado Boulder are eligible for student loan repayment assistance if they earn less than $65,000 per year and have public interest employment. They don’t need to have passed the bar if their employer does not require it.
If you qualify, you can get up to $5,500 per year toward your student loans for no more than five years. The application for 2020-2021 has not been posted on the website yet, as the deadline for 2019-2020 has passed, but interested lawyers can check back next year.
So what happens if you aren’t a lawyer or health practitioner and aren’t in default, but you still need student loan forgiveness in Colorado? You might be able to use federal student loan repayment programs to help, such as with income-driven repayment plans that cap your monthly payments at a manageable level.
You can also lobby your local senators and representatives to create student loan repayment programs for your income or line of work. Although that might not change your situation today, it’s your chance to exercise your rights as a voter and help student loan borrowers like you to have a voice.
Even with help on student loan repayment, paying off these loans can be a long game. Keep an eye out for programs like these that can help and maintain a student loan payoff plan you can follow. Believe it or not, there can be a day when these loans are nothing but a memory.
Maya Dollarhide contributed to this report.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 9 lenders of 2021!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.88% – 6.15%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.88% – 5.64%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.85%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 5.90%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 6.59%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.88% – 5.64%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.90% – 5.25%7||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.39% – 6.01%||Undergrad |
|2.13% – 5.25%8||Undergrad & Graduate|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount
The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.
To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of June 1, 2021.
2 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.
Interest Rate Disclosure
Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 2.48% APR to 5.79% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 1.88% APR to 5.64% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 36% (the maximum allowable for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance 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 2.04% and 5.8% to the one month LIBOR. Earnest rate ranges are current as of 6/8/2021, and are subject to change based on market conditions.
Auto Pay Discount Disclosure
You can take advantage of the Auto Pay interest rate reduction by setting up and maintaining active and automatic ACH withdrawal of your loan payment. The interest rate reduction for Auto Pay will be available only while your loan is enrolled in Auto Pay. Interest rate incentives for utilizing Auto Pay may not be combined with certain private student loan repayment programs that also offer an interest rate reduction. For multi-party loans, only one party may enroll in Auto Pay.
Student Loan Refinancing Loan Cost Examples
These examples provide estimates based on payments beginning immediately upon loan disbursement. Variable APR: A $10,000 loan with a 20-year term (240 monthly payments of $72) and a 5.89% APR would result in a total estimated payment amount of $17,042.39. For a variable loan, after your starting rate is set, your rate will then vary with the market. Fixed APR: A $10,000 loan with a 20-year term (240 monthly payments of $72) and a 6.04% APR would result in a total estimated payment amount of $17,249.77. Your actual repayment terms may vary.Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest. com/terms-of-service, e-mail us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
Earnest Loans are made by Earnest Operations LLC or One American Bank, Member FDIC. Earnest Operations LLC, NMLS #1204917. 535 Mission St., Suite 1663, San Francisco, CA 94105. California Financing Law License 6054788. Visit earnest.com/licenses for a full list of licensed states. For California residents (Student Loan Refinance Only): Loans will be arranged or made pursuant to a California Financing Law License.
One American Bank, 515 S. Minnesota Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57104. Earnest loans are serviced by Earnest Operations LLC with support from Navient Solutions LLC (NMLS #212430). One American Bank and Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
© 2021 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved.
3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. 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 0.15% effective Jan 1, 2021 and may increase after consummation.
4 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.
Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.
Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.
Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.
Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of April 29, 2021. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
Fixed rates from 2.49% APR to 6.94% APR (with autopay). Variable rates from 1.99% APR to 6.59% APR (with autopay). All variable rates are based on the 1-month LIBOR and may increase after consummation if LIBOR increases; see more at SoFi.com/legal/#1. If approved for a loan your rate will depend on a variety of factors such as your credit profile, your application and your selected loan terms. Your rate will be within the ranges of rates listed above. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers, or may become available, such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license #6054612; NMLS #1121636 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org). Additional terms and conditions apply; see SoFi.com/eligibility for details. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
6 Important Disclosures for Navient.
7 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.
Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of 5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.
As of 04/07/2021 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.90% APR – 5.25% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.49% APR – 7.75% Fixed APR with AutoPay.
8 Important Disclosures for PenFed.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Fixed Rates range from 2.89%-4.78% APR and Variable Rates range from 2.13%-5.25% APR. Both Fixed and Variable Rates will vary based on application terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. For Variable Rate student loans, the rate will never exceed 9.00% for 5 year and 8 year loans and 10.00% for 12 and 15 years loans (the maximum allowable for this loan). Minimum variable rate will be 2.00%. These rates are 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.