7 Great Jobs that Offer College Loan Forgiveness

By Linsey Knerl on 4 March 2008 (Updated 7 September 2010) 16 comments

Paying for a college education can last up to 20 years post-graduation. While the cost is usually justified through higher earnings, it can still be burdensome. These seven careers are not only growing in opportunity, but they can sometimes offer partial to complete loan forgiveness!

Teaching

There are many arguments as to whether teachers get paid enough these days. If you could add in up to $17,500 in student loan forgiveness, however, it can make this high-demand career more appealing. Teachers that work in designated “low income” school districts for a minimum of five years can see some of that college debt wiped away. More debt forgiveness is offered to those teachers with an emphasis in math, science, and special education. (Full details found on the student aid government website.)

Social Work

Social workers who dedicate their time to agencies servicing families in low income or high-risk geographical areas may see total forgiveness of their Perkins Loan. An increasing amount of debt will be forgiven for each of 5 years served in these areas. Licensed clinical social workers will see the most money forgiven through government programs. (Visit Socialworkers.org for more information.)

Volunteering

Popular programs such as the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA — which is now part of AmeriCorps) all offer deferment or partial payment towards loan debt. Each program differs in its formula for awarding payments. Participants may see up to 70% of select government loans forgiven. (While not technically considered a paying "job," a stipend is usually offered in the compensation package for these programs.)

Military

The Montgomery GI Bill, offered through the U.S. Armed Forces Recruiting program, may pay up to 60% of college tuition costs. Those active in the Army National Guard may be eligible for a payment of up to $10,000 towards loan debt. Additionally, many veterans and private military associations offer funding through scholarships and grants.

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Child Care

Many child care providers are eligible for up to 100% of outstanding loan debt. To qualify, they must have received an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. Their services must be used by a community of low-income families for two consecutive years. The program is open to new borrowers of federal education funds. (Note: This program has recently stopped taking applications to new participants. If you have received benefits in the past, however, you may still be eligible. See the program details on this page — scroll to the bottom.)

Medical Professionals

Doctors, nurses, and physical therapists can take advantage of several programs offering loan forgiveness in select geographic areas. By providing services to depressed regions, up to 100% of their loans may be deferred. Additional areas of need include clinical research and dental care. (A great list of resources can be found here and here .)

Law

Law students and newly graduated lawyers who offer their services at free and reduced cost can take advantage of partial loan forgiveness. By working for agencies that provide public-interest or non-profit services, graduates can make a difference in the lives of those who can’t afford legal representation. Equal Justice Works has more information on these programs.

As the need grows for more professionals to serve our communities, there will be an increasing reward for those who answer the call. Loan forgiveness can be a big motivator towards commitment in these fields. Participation in forgiveness programs can add value to your degree and will make college affordable for thousands more each year.

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Myscha Theriault's picture

We are definitely benefitting from that one at our house.

And we are also considering the Peace Corps later when we are a bit more settled and after the dogs are no longer with us. One is super old and one is getting there, even though she's still 90 percent puppy in behavior . . .

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Laura G

Ok, I know this isn't technically relevant to the post (which, by the way, I think is a great resource, and which I will be showing my law-student fiance tonight), but I just wanted to say thanks for the great Saint Joe's picture. It's always great to see!

Linsey Knerl's picture

You can thank Eamonn for doing such a great job of taking it.  I thought it was breathtaking when I first saw it!

Thanks for the comments! 

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Ken

Actually, a few of us were successful in getting a new program passed last Fall (Section 401 PL110-84) that now offers 1) complete loan forgiveness for people who work in a huge range of public service jobs for ten years, and 2) a program under which a person's monthly repayment under that program will be capped at just 15% of their take home pay. The first half of this was effective October 1, 2007. The latter half kicks in July of next year, but there is already a program under which a person can do the same but at 20% of take home pay.

So now, if people are smart about which loans they assume, they will be able to afford to go to most any school in the country to get most any kind of degree, provided they're willing to put in 10 years after.

Groundbreaking stuff.

Linsey Knerl's picture

I will be checking out that program right away... Thanks!

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Andrea

Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) is part of AmeriCorps now, and the actual website is the same as the AmeriCorps site. I'm not sure what that link you've got with VISTA in this post is, but it's NOT the Volunteer in Service to America program's site.

Linsey Knerl's picture

Thanks for catching that!  That link wasn't the one I had originally had in my first draft, so I'm not sure what happened there.  It has been fixed...

Linsey Knerl

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Chidi

I served a not for profit organization that serviced the deaf and hard of hearing for 5 years. now I have picked up appointment with the federal government. Presently I have kids that are in school. what I presently make will not be enough to take care of the kids left alone pay my student loan. what options are out there for loan forgiveness for me?

Linsey Knerl's picture

I'm afraid I would have to know what kind of sector you worked in specifically, and even then, the offerings change all the time.  Do you have a department within your office that offers tuition assistance?  They usually have details on other private programs that would give you access to funding as well.

I wish I could help you more.  Best of luck!

Linsey Knerl

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pookie62

That is just what we need, some more lawyers. How about forgiving engineers student debt?

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mba

Nice post.I’m really impressed with your article, such great information you mentioned here..

Guest's picture

Whats up are using Wordpress for your blog platform?
I'm new to the blog world but I'm trying to
get started and set up my own. Do you require any html coding knowledge to make your own blog?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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Thanks for this 7 Great Jobs that Offer College Loan Forgiveness!! thumbs up!!

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Great Jobs that Offer College Loan Forgiveness! it really help!

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Jennifer

How do I get into Americorps? Have applied within two divisions and received rejection letters from the division I live in Dallas/ FT Worth. People say "it's easy to find work and pay your student loans off!!!! " NO IT IS NOT!!!! Unemployed since 2008 and STILL Looking for something to get me into this year Not receiving paychecks is hard and then on top of it. No one can tell me how to network or give me any push or pull. Guess I'm not a male or 20 something enough for any work. disturbing and then can't even find work under the degree I received. Tired of calling State Senator offices and also no platform for anyone in my position to get back to work. God Willing I do. Can someone please let me know of a relief support group in hiring women / single/ above 40 and needing help with Student loan interest? Should I keep trying with Americorps to receive education allowance to stop these interest loans from shooting up? PLEASE SOMEONE GIVE ME REASON!