You live in the Sunshine State, where it’s always warm and almost always sunny.
But nothing can ruin a bright day like a giant student loan bill. If you’re struggling to make headway on your student debt, you might have wondered if you’re eligible for loan forgiveness.
The answer depends on your career and location. So, without further ado, here’s how to get student loan forgiveness in Florida.
2 student loan forgiveness programs in Florida
The following programs are specific to Florida and specific to your profession.
Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program (NSLFP)
The NSLFP was established in 1989 to encourage nurses to seek employment in underserved areas. And besides the website, which looks like it hasn’t been updated since then, it’s a cool program.
To be eligible, you must be a licensed practical nurse (LPN), registered nurse (RN), or advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP). You also must work at a “designated employment site” in the state of Florida.
According to the website, these sites include state-operated medical and health care facilities, public schools, county health departments, federally sponsored community health centers, and certain teaching and children’s hospitals.
If you qualify, the program will pay up to $4,000 per year toward your loans for a maximum of four years. The payment is based on funds available and will be made directly to your lender at the end of each 12-month enrollment period.
For further information, contact the Florida Department of Education by phone at 1-800-366-3475 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST) or via email.
Florida Bar Foundation Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP)
If you’re a lawyer seeking loan forgiveness, then consider the Florida Bar Foundation, which provides forgivable loans to legal aid attorneys.
If you continue working at the organization for the duration of the year as a staff attorney, the foundation will forgive its loan to you — and give you another one, as long as you remain employed at a partner organization.
In other words, you’ll receive $5,000 toward your loans for each year you work as a staff attorney at one of the foundation’s partner organizations.
For more information, contact Jennifer Wimberly.
4 more ways to get student loan forgiveness in Florida
Although they aren’t specific to the state of Florida, the following programs are available to its residents — and worth exploring.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness
The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is administered by the Department of Education. It requires you to teach full time for five consecutive years at a low-income school or educational service agency.
Eligible teachers must be “highly qualified,” which means having at least a bachelor’s degree and a full state certification.
If you teach secondary math or science or special education, you could receive up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness. Other teachers could receive up to $5,000. Both Direct Loans and Stafford Loans qualify.
To see if your school is eligible, search the Teacher Cancellation Low Income (TCLI) Directory. And for questions about schools in Florida, contact program specialist Amy Brinson.
National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program (NHSC LRP)
The NHSC LRP is a fantastic opportunity for health care workers to get up to $50,000 of their loans forgiven.
You must work as a primary care provider in medicine, dentistry, or mental health for two years at an NHSC-approved site. Most loans obtained during your education are eligible for the program — including private student loans.
Unlike other programs, however, not everyone who is eligible will receive forgiveness. After you apply, you’ll be ranked based on how critical the health care need is at your chosen site as well as whether you come from a “disadvantaged background.”
To be notified when the next application cycle opens, sign up for NHSC’s email list.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
Perhaps the most well-known forgiveness program, PSLF offers loan forgiveness to people who work for government or nonprofit agencies for 10 years.
To be eligible, you must:
- Have Federal Direct Loans (if you have different loans, you might want to consider a Direct Consolidation Loan)
- Be enrolled in an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan
- Work your employer’s definition of “full time” (or at least 30 hours per week) at a qualifying government or nonprofit agency
- Make 120 monthly payments in full within 15 days of the due date
See how much you could save with our Public Service Loan Forgiveness calculator.
Income-driven repayment plans
IDR plans are the broadest loan forgiveness option. They’re available regardless of your chosen career, and most federal loans are eligible.
These plans base your monthly payments on your income. Depending on which IDR plan you choose, your payments will be limited to between 10 and 20 percent of your discretionary income for a period of 20 to 25 years. After that period is over, the remainder of your loans will be forgiven.
To see what your payments might be, give our income-driven repayment calculator a go.
Although they might sound like a no-brainer, there are downsides to income-driven repayment plans. Because they extend your repayment term, they accrue more interest. And when your loans are forgiven, you’ll have to pay income tax on the forgiven amount.
Depending on your career choice, there are other national forgiveness programs you might qualify for. Feel free to type your profession in the search bar above or check out this list of student loan forgiveness programs.
Don’t lose hope when it comes to paying back your student loans. If you make regular payments and enroll in the appropriate repayment program, you’ll pay them off — and perhaps even get some of them forgiven.
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