Any college graduate with student debt can tell you that the first years out of school can be the toughest. Trying to cover rent, utilities, transportation and food on an entry-level salary is hard enough, but once you add loan payments to the mix, it can be overwhelming.
To alleviate some of that frustration, New York is offering to cover up to two years of student loan payments for recent college graduates living in the state. Starting Thursday, the state will accept applications for its so-called Get On Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program.
You must earn less than $50,000, have an undergraduate degree from a school located in the state, and be enrolled in the federal Income Based Repayment or Pay as You Earn plans to qualify. There are a few other criteria that you can find at hesc.ny.gov/GetOnYourFeet. Payments will be made directly to your loan servicer, the middlemen that collect and apply payments.
While New York is unique in targeting lower-income graduates from any field, it is not the only state with a student loan forgiveness plan. In fact, 45 states and the District of Columbia have programs that will wipe away some college debt for residents, according to CollegeInvestor.com, a personal finance website for millennials.
Most state programs are geared towards college graduates in public service professions, such as teaching, nursing, social work and law — fields that often come with tens of thousands of dollars of student debt. States typically use these programs to address shortages in certain occupations, dangling the carrot of forgiveness to get professionals to give a few years of their service.
If you live in a state without any forgiveness programs or don’t qualify for the ones that are available, there is always the federal options. Revised Pay as You Earn, or REPAYE, caps borrowers’ monthly bills to 10 percent of their income and forgives the remaining debt after 20 years of payment. People employed at nonprofits or in the public sector can also qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, a federal program that wipes away debt after 10 years of repayment.
Check out the following list for programs available in your state:
Alaska: Health-care professionals and social workers residing in this state may be eligible for debt relief.
Delaware: Health-care providers in this state can qualify for up to $100,000 in student loan forgiveness.
Georgia: Physicians working in rural area can have up to $100,000 of their student loans forgiven by this state.
Hawaii: This state will repay a portion of the student debt acquired by primary health-care providers.
Idaho: Working in health care may qualify you for some loan forgiveness in this state.
Indiana: Legal aid attorneys in this state can qualify for loan forgiveness.
Kentucky: This state will provide up to $17,500 a year for two years to health-care professionals.
Massachusetts: If you work in health care in this state, you can qualify for up to $50,000 in loan forgiveness.
Mississippi: This state provides up to $3,000 a year over four years to help teachers pay back their student loans.
Missouri: Working in the health-care field in this state can make you eligible for some loan forgiveness.
Nebraska: Health-care professionals in this state can qualify for up to $40,000 towards their educational debt.
Nevada: This state will wipe away some of the student debt of health-care workers.
New York: It might be easier to list the occupations in this state that don’t offer student debt forgiveness, but here goes: legal aid attorney, social worker, nurse, farmer, physician, public interest attorney and teacher.
South Carolina: University of South Carolina School of Law graduates going into public interest law can have a few dollars knocked off their student loan balance by this state.
South Dakota: To lure dentists, this state offers up to $100,000 loan repayment assistance.
Texas: Educators with PhDs, speech pathologists, nurses, physicians, public health-care providers, teachers, legal aid attorneys and lawyers working in the attorney general’s office can all get help in this state.
Washington: Doctors, nurses and other health-care workers can get up to $35,000 a year for two years in forgiveness here.
Wisconsin: Health-care workers can qualify for up to $100,000 in loan assistance in this state.