Student loans can be very expensive and sometimes take years — even decades — to pay off. But getting a job that offers student loan forgiveness could potentially wipe out your total student debt at less cost than full repayment.
Consider Public Service Loan Forgiveness jobs, for example. Certain government and nonprofit positions could qualify you for the PSLF program — a special benefit for federal student loans that allows complete forgiveness after 120 payments.
You might also find that your occupation has specific forgiveness options, such as the Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program or the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program.
Here’s what you should know about public service loan forgiveness jobs and other employment that could lead to freedom from your educational debt:
- 11 jobs that offer student loan forgiveness
- Pros and cons of student loan forgiveness jobs
- How to apply for Public Service Loan Forgiveness
- Alternatives to student loan forgiveness jobs
Many employers offer student loan forgiveness after you’ve worked with them for a specified time. The specific loan forgiveness details will vary based on the type of job, but they can generally help erase most or all of your student loan debt.
The following 11 jobs offer some type of college debt forgiveness if you meet their criteria:
1. Federal agency employee
2. Public service worker
5. Automotive professionals
8. Volunteer (AmeriCorps, Peace Corps and others)
Here’s a little-known fact that applies to federal agencies: If they’re having difficulty finding new employees to fill open slots, they are allowed to offer federal student loan repayment assistance.
To qualify, the new employee must sign a contract to work for the federal agency for a minimum of three years. The agency can pay up to $10,000 per year per employee for federally insured loans, but the total assistance given cannot exceed $60,000 per person.
You may qualify for loan forgiveness if you work in a government agency or certain types of nonprofit organizations.
For instance, full-time public service employees with unconsolidated Perkins loans can receive full cancellation of their loans. Potentially eligible workers include family and child services employees, law enforcement, correctional officers and public defenders.
PSLF is available to any worker in a government organization at any level (federal, state, local or tribal), as well as tax-exempt organizations or for-profit organizations with qualifying service.
PSLF wipes away whatever’s left of your debt after 120 qualifying payments (even if your payment is $0, due to an income-driven repayment program or the student loan forbearance that began in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic).
However, there’s a lot to know about PSLF before you pursue it — see below for more details.
There are many options for doctors in need of student loan repayment help. In fact, the Association of American Medical Colleges maintains a list of state-based loan assistance programs for doctors.
In addition, medical professionals who serve in the military also have access to even more forgiveness programs. For example, the Navy Financial Assistance Program offers medical residents an annual grant of $45,000 to go toward medical school debt.
For more options, check out our full guide to student loan repayment for doctors.
In addition to public service forgiveness options targeted specifically at graduates working in law, there are other sources of loan repayment that can help reduce your graduate school debt.
For instance, the Department of Justice opens up its Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program (ASLRP) every spring to help recruit and retain new talent. To qualify, Justice Department employees must have at least $10,000 in federal student loans.
For those who want to work as public defenders, the John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program provides loan assistance of varying amounts, depending on where you live.
There are even more programs for borrowers with law school debt. Check out our full guide for student loan forgiveness for lawyers, as well as our list of loan repayment assistance programs by school and state.
Any automotive aftermarket industry manufacturer who is an employee of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) can apply for the SEMA Loan Forgiveness Program.
The SEMA program awarded $296,000 in scholarships and loan forgiveness to 119 winners in 2021. Some of the loan forgiveness eligibility requirements include:
- Currently employment at a SEMA member business
- A passion for the automotive field
- Holding a degree or certification from a college, university or tech school in the United States
- At least $2,000 in outstanding student loans
If you’re in the nursing field — whether as a registered nurse, advanced practice registered nurse or nurse practitioner or a facility nurse in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) — you may be eligible for student loan repayment assistance through the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program.
The nurses who receive assistance through the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program will get 60% of their qualifying student loan balance forgiven in exchange for a minimum two-year service commitment. Qualifying participants may receive an additional 25% off their original loan balance if they complete a third year of service.
Please note that the entire loan award amount in this program is taxable. The amount you’ll pay in taxes will be far less than the amount of the loans, but it’s still a consideration to bear in mind.
If you’d like to review the qualifications and fine print of the program, check out the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment program requirements. And for even more options, head to our complete guide to student loan forgiveness for nurses.
If you’re a special education teacher, teach in a low-income school district or work in an underemployed subject area or a teacher shortage area, you may qualify for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program.
If you qualify, you could receive up to $5,000 or $17,500 in loan forgiveness, depending on the subject matter you teach and your years of service. To qualify, you must have direct loans.
If instead you have federal Perkins student loans, you could be eligible for the Perkins Loan Teacher Cancellation program. Through this program, you could potentially have up to 100% of your Perkins loans canceled.
To qualify, you’ll need to teach at a low-income school, teach an underemployed subject area or serve as a full-time elementary or secondary school special education teacher.
The cancellation of your Perkins student loan debt will come in steps. You’d receive a 15% cancellation of your loan for the first and second years of teaching. For the third and fourth years, you’d receive a 20% loan cancellation. For the fifth year of teaching, there’s an additional 30% cancellation.
Notably, each amount canceled annually also includes the cancellation of any interest accrued through the year.
Did you know that many volunteer organizations offer student loan forgiveness opportunities?
Volunteer organizations like the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) are three such groups with student loan awards or repayment options. You can apply for these after you’ve completed your term of service.
The terms and conditions of these programs vary, so visit the organization’s websites to learn more about their student loan programs for volunteers.
Although dentists tend to make a high income — a median of $163,220, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — they also accrue a considerable amount of debt before they start working. The American Dental Education Association found that the average dentist with student loans in the Class of 2020 left school owing a whopping $304,824.
Luckily, there are some loan repayment assistance programs (LRAPs) for dentists, like the Ohio Dentist Loan Repayment Program and Maryland Dent-Care Loan Assistance Repayment Program.
Programs such as these offer significant loan assistance to dentists who work in qualifying areas or workplaces.
Like dentists, pharmacists take on a lot of education debt to earn their degrees. According to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, pharmacists in the Class of 2021 who borrowed student loans took on an average of $173,561 to finance their education.
Here, too, assistance is available: Several national LRAPs provide financial help to health care providers, including pharmacists. Plus, some state programs, including the California State Loan Repayment Program, will pay back a portion of your loans — if not all — if you establish residency and practice in a qualifying area.
Not only could working with animals be a fulfilling career, but it could also help you get forgiveness for your student loans.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers $25,000 per year for three years in student loan repayment assistance to vets who work in underserved areas. There are other, similar opportunities, such as the North Dakota State Veterinarian Loan Repayment Program, that help veterinarians who agree to work in shortage areas.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the average veterinary school graduate in 2021 owed $186,430 in student loans. Any program that offers relief in the form of forgiveness or repayment assistance could be a tremendous help as you work toward financial independence.
Most student loan forgiveness jobs have strict requirements, contracts and a minimum term of employment to qualify for loan cancellation. Plus, you’ll typically have to be current on your student loan payments — that is, your loans can’t be in default.
However, you’ll receive debt repayment, cancellation or forgiveness once you meet the requirements. Giving just two or three years of your professional life to a qualifying job may solve your student loan problems.
Every student loan repayment and forgiveness program has its own set of qualifications and eligibility requirements, so make sure to do your research before pursuing any of these or other loan forgiveness programs.
A good starting point for your search could be our full guide to student loan forgiveness.
Of the programs mentioned above, PSLF might be one of the more popular. But qualifying can be tricky, so it’s worth some extra discussion here.
You can find updated details regarding PSLF eligibility at studentaid.gov. The main requirements to receive forgiveness are having a full-time job (minimum of 30 hours a week) with the U.S. federal, state, military, local or tribal government or a nonprofit organization and having federal direct loans or consolidated loans.
To see if your current job counts for the program, you can use the Department of Education’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness Help Tool to check for PSLF qualifying employers.
Once you’ve determined your eligibility, you can start the process by filling out the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Employment Certification form. After completing 120 qualifying monthly payments, your remaining student loan balance is forgiven, tax-free.
Recent changes to PSLF
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program began in 2007. However, between November 2020 and January 2022, only 2.16% of applicants were accepted.
In October 2021, the Department of Education rolled out changes to the PSLF program to try and raise the acceptance rate. Included in the plan’s overhaul was the creation of a limited PSLF waiver, which temporarily allowed previous student loan payments to count retroactively toward your PSLF eligibility, so long as they were applied before Oct. 31, 2022.
If you can’t find an employer who offers student loan forgiveness or qualifies you for PSLF, here are a few other options to consider as you manage your overall student loan debt:
- Income-driven repayment plans: An income-driven repayment plan can offer financial relief by giving you a range of flexible payment terms.
- Refinancing: Refinancing your student loans might help unlock more affordable rates and terms. That said, it’s usually best not to refinance federal student loans, since you’ll lose access to certain repayment plans and other benefits.
- Grants: Many grants to pay off student loans are available, including research, state-based or career-specific grants.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 9 lenders of 2022!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|2.49% – 11.72%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.30%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|4.13% – 7.39%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.99%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.99%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.24% – 8.24%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.48% – 7.98%||Undergrad |
|1.74% – 7.99%7||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.69% – 9.92%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 September 6, 2022.
2 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 $9 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.
3 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 09/09/2022 student loan refinancing rates range from 4.13% APR – 7.39% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.99% APR – 9.93% Fixed APR with AutoPay.
4 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.
You can choose between fixed and variable rates. Fixed interest rates are 3.99% – 8.74% APR (3.74% – 8.49% APR with Auto Pay discount). Starting variable interest rates are 2.74% APR to 8.24% APR (2.49% – 7.99% APR with Auto Pay discount). Variable rates are based on an index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) plus a margin. Variable rates are reset monthly based on the fluctuation of the index. We do not currently offer variable rate loans in AK, CO, CT, HI, IL, KY, MA, MN, MS, NH, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, and VA.
5 Important Disclosures for Navient.
6 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
Fixed rates range from 3.99% APR to 8.24% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates from 3.24% APR to 8.24% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law, Variable Interest rates on 5-, 7-, and 10-year terms are capped at 8.95% APR; 15- and 20-year terms are capped at 9.95% APR. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, presence of a co-signer and a variety of other factors. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR 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. This benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit lowers your interest rate but does not change the amount of your monthly payment. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.
7 Important Disclosures for Purefy.
Purefy Student Loan Refinancing Rate and Terms Disclosure: Annual Percentage Rates (APR) ranges and examples are based on information provided to Purefy by lenders participating in Purefy’s rate comparison platform. For student loan refinancing, the participating lenders offer fixed rates ranging from 2.73% – 7.99% APR, and variable rates ranging from 1.74% – 7.99% APR. The maximum variable rate is 25.00%. Your interest rate will be based on the lender’s requirements. In most cases, lenders determine the interest rates based on your credit score, degree type and other credit and financial criteria. Only borrowers with excellent credit and meeting other lender criteria will qualify for the lowest rate available. Rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice. Terms and conditions apply.
8 Important Disclosures for Citizens.
Education Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69%-9.92% (3.69%-9.92% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49%-10.11% (4.49%-10.11% APR).
Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 6.39%- 9.60% (6.39% – 9.60% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 6.58% – 9.79% (6.58% – 9.79% APR).
Graduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69% – 9.16% (3.69% – 9.16% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 9.35% (4.49% – 9.35% APR).
Education Refinance Loan for Parents Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69%- 9.09% (3.69%- 9.09% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 9.28% (4.49% – 9.28% APR).
Medical Residency Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69% – 9.16% (3.69% – 9.16% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 9.35% (4.49% – 9.35% APR).