Programs Enable Students To Work Off Loan Debt

Career College Central summary:

  • While college tuition can leave many students in debt, government and nonprofit programs offer students around the country loan forgiveness in return for  volunteer work. Arkansas was ranked 35th highest in the U.S. for average graduate student loan debt in 2012, with an average debt of $23,324, according to the Institute for College Access and Success, an independent, nonprofit organization. Arkansas was also ranked 36th highest in the percentage of students graduating with debt, with 55 percent of students in debt after graduation.
  • The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program incentivizes employment in public service and nonprofit jobs by offering loan forgiveness. The PSLF Program employs students with a federal, state or local government agency, entity, organization or not-for-profit organization that has been designated as tax exempt by the Internal Revenue Service, according to the website. It may also cover several other types of nonprofit organizations that are not tax exempt, but still provide public services, such as emergency management, military service, public safety and public education.  
  • “The PSLF Program is intended to encourage individuals to enter and continue to work full time in public service jobs,” according to the U.S. Department of Education’s student aid website. “Under this program, borrowers may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance of their direct loans after they have made 120 qualifying payments on those loans while employed full time by certain public service employers.”
  • Other government programs that offer loan forgiveness are AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps.  AmeriCorps places people in both state and national public service organizations and at the end of a full term, it offers volunteers the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, which can be applied to certain student loans.
  • The Peace Corps places members around the world to promote cultural exchange among countries and to help meet the training needs of interested countries, according to the organization's website. Participants may defer their public student loans and receive partial cancellation of Perkins loans.

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