In 2020 the student debt loan crisis reached a new high, at $1.6 trillion, coming from 45 million borrowers. The only consumer debt category higher in the U.S. is that of mortgages, making the student loan debt larger than credit cards and auto loans. As the government continues to move at a snail’s pace when it comes to alleviating the student debt crisis for millions of struggling Americans, the private sector is getting more involved and offering student loan forgiveness as a very desirable benefit right alongside paid vacation and healthcare.
Here are some of those jobs offering student loan forgiveness.
The same government that is a major cause of the student loan crisis is also using said crisis to attract new employees. Some government careers, like the military or a humanitarian aid, have offered loan forgiveness for many decades, but other federal agencies are currently using forgiveness as a bargaining chip. Similar to the military, to qualify for loan forgiveness as an agency employee, one has to sign a three-year contract and fulfil that contract in order to receive their loan forgiveness payments. Most offer around $10,000 per year, with limitations on how many years an employee can seek the forgiveness money.
Although doctors and physicians often see the most debt rack up during their education, it is also a field where loan forgiveness is a common selling point for employers. With a median medical school debt of nearly $200,000 at graduation, help with chipping away at that number is very appealing. Even if a given hospital does not directly offer loan forgiveness, many private organizations offer loan assistance for current doctors, and keeping in tune with the first bullet, the military offers large loan forgiveness incentives for physicians who choose a military path after school
Becoming a teacher or professor can provide a lot of benefits to the community and paying of student loans in the long term. Teacher loan forgiveness is another area that both private and government assistance is pretty abundant when it comes to loan forgiveness. The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is a government program that takes into account a number of factors (e.g., special education, low-income school districts, teacher shortage areas) to determine how much loan forgiveness a given teacher is eligible for. For some teachers who used government loans, up to $20,000 may be repaid. For teachers who used the Perkins loan, a potential for 100% loan cancellation is possible with the right qualifications, although it does take some time.
Similar to the military, many volunteer organizations like AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps offer loan forgiveness following a given term of service to the organization. Each organization is a bit different, but almost all major charitable entities offer some form of loan forgiveness for folks who give their time and energy to the cause.
As if a job working with animals all day wasn’t reason enough to pursue a career in veterinary services, it’s also a leading industry for loan forgiveness programs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture incentivizes new vets to work in underserved areas by offering loan repayment programs of up to $75,000 (over 3 years) to veterinarians who work in underserved communities and difficult-to-access areas.
As not all degrees will lead to one of the options above, it’s important to look into other, ambiguous loan forgiveness programs, as the crisis is a key factor in the under-35 generations not being able to afford homes. Many states have loan forgiveness programs in place, so be sure to start your search there (and some are even being used to incentivize people to move there), but also private entities across a very wide array of careers also help with reducing debts.
Federal options are also aplenty, and as many as 30 student loan forgiveness programs were active as of 2017. Refinancing student loans and income-driven repayment plans are options for people, regardless of their occupation or the field of study that led to their debts.
Another reason to remain optimistic is that more and more politicians are working to increase options for student loan forgiveness, and the crisis should, at least, level off sooner than later.