Receiving a student loan discharge is not the only way to eliminate student loans. There is also a program known as student loan forgiveness, although the requirements a student must meet in order to be eligible for it are just as stringent. As well, the qualifications are very specialized and specific.
A student can receive student loan forgiveness if he or she performs certain kinds of volunteer work. For example, if a student serves in the AmeriCorps for at least one year, he or she can receive money to be used towards their loan payments. Members of the Peace Corps may receive deferments for Perkins Loans, Stafford Loans, and Consolidated loans, and may be relieved of up to seventy percent of the amount of their Perkins Loans. Members of VISTA – Volunteers in Service to America – may receive money to be put towards their loans if they volunteer for at least seventeen hundred hours. Students serving in the military – specifically members of the Army National Guard – may receive up to ten thousand dollars towards their loans, as part of the Army’s Student Loan Repayment Program.
Certain students who go on to become teaches can also qualify for student loan forgiveness. Those who teach full-time in elementary or secondary schools which service low-income areas or a majority of low-income families can qualify to have fifteen percent of their Perkins Loan forgiven during their first two years of teaching. During the third and fourth years, twenty percent of the loan amount can be forgiven, and for the fifth year, thirty percent can be forgiven. Students who work as teachers in Mississippi, have an Alternate Route Teaching License, and teach in a region with a shortage of educators might qualify for the Teacher Loan Repayment Program.
There are a variety of student loan forgiveness programs available to people in the health industries, namely doctors and nurses. This usually applies to doctors and nurses who work in rural areas for a specific amount of time – i.e., areas which do not have adequate medical care or regions which are economically depressed. There are also options for student loan forgiveness for those practicing medical research, as well as options for occupational therapists and physical therapists.
Some colleges offer specific student loan forgiveness options, some states provide potential eligibility to people in law enforcement, and the recipients of certain loans who study a specific field may also qualify. The federal government offers a large variety of student loan forgiveness options, as well. These options pertain to Perkins Loans and Stafford Loans. Those loans can potentially be forgiven, again, for teachers who service an area with a large number of low-income families. As well, it can apply to those teaching children with disabilities or to high-risk children. There are also federal options for student loan forgiveness which apply to many other of the aforementioned services and qualifications.
The idea of student loan forgiveness is as a benefit and reward for those people who offer their services to those less fortunate. Because they are willing to selflessly donate their time, care, energy, and expertise to people or an entire area which is not as blessed, they can be relieved of a large amount of financial debt and obligation. The purpose is to prove that being compassionate and generous, and trying to make a difference in the world will always be rewarded.