The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

These states might forgive some of your student debt

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said the state will start accepting applications for its latest student loan forgiveness program. New York is one of 48 states that offer such programs to residents.  (Andrew Kelly/ Reuters)
Placeholder while article actions load

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 Payments will be made directly to your loan servicer, the middlemen that collect and apply payments.

[What you need to know about Obama’s latest student loan plan before enrolling]

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, 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.

[Maryland county wants to ease the burden of student debt for its residents]

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.

Arizona: This state has programs for physicians willing to work in rural areas, legal aid attorneys as well as math and science teachers.

Arkansas: This state offers a helping hand to teachers and veterinarians.

California: Physiciansdentists and other health-care professionals in this state are eligible for some debt forgiveness.

Colorado: If you work in health care or as a legal aid attorney, this state might forgive some of you student loans.

Delaware: Health-care providers in this state can qualify for up to $100,000 in student loan forgiveness.

District of Columbia: The nation’s capital has loan repayment programs for health-care professionals and public-interest attorneys.

Florida: Nurses and legal aid attorneys in this state can qualify for some debt 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.

Illinois: If you are a teacher, public interest lawyer, nursing instructor or a nurse working in the state’s veterans homes, you can receive help with your student loan payments.

Indiana: Legal aid attorneys in this state can qualify for loan forgiveness.

Iowa: This state will lend a helping hand to teachers, nurses and physicians in rural areas.

Kansas: Graduates residing in rural areas and doctors serving those communities can receive well over $10,000 in debt forgiveness from this state.

Kentucky: This state will provide up to $17,500 a year for two years to health-care professionals.

Louisiana: Primary health-care professionals and public interest lawyers can receive student loan relief in this state.

Maine: Educators, health professionals, veterinarians, dentists and public interest lawyers can qualify for loan assistance in this state.

Maryland: This state offers help to teachers and dentists, as well as nonprofit and local government employees who work with undeserved communities.

Massachusetts: If you work in health care in this state, you can qualify for up to $50,000 in loan forgiveness.

Michigan: A wide range of healt-care professionals as well as public-interest lawyers can receive loan forgiveness in this state.

Minnesota: There are debt forgiveness programs for rural doctors, inner-city physicians, midwives, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and public-interest lawyers in this state.

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.

Montana: If you are a teacher, nurse or physician, you can receive some assistance with your student loan debt in this state.

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 Hampshire: Health-care professionals and legal aid attorneys can qualify for loan forgiveness in this state.

New Jersey: This state will help nurse, doctors, dentists and public defenders get rid of some of their student debt.

New Mexico: Health-care workers, public interest lawyers and attorneys in the public defender’s office can get help in this state.

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.

North Carolina: If you teach, work in mental health or public interest law, you could qualify for loan forgiveness programs in this state.

North Dakota: Teachers, dentists and people working in science, technology, engineering or math-related field can receive thousands of dollars in debt forgiveness here.

Ohio: This state offers loan repayment programs to public defenders and dentists.

Oklahoma: Dentists, primary care physicians and doctors willing to work in rural areas can all get help with their student debt in this state.

Oregon: This state offers forgiveness programs for primary care professionals, therapists and public-service lawyers.

Pennsylvania: Doctors and legal aid lawyers can apply for loan repayment programs in this state.

Rhode Island: There are separate programs for physicians, nurses and other health-care workers in this state.

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, teacherslegal aid attorneys and lawyers working in the attorney general’s office can all get help in this state.

Vermont: Primary care physicians, nurses, dentists, health-care instructors and lawyers serving low-income families can all get some of their debt forgiven in this state.

Virginia: This state offers help to public sector attorneys, legal aid lawyers and health care professionals willing to work in undeserved communities.

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.

Wyoming: This state will forgive up to $30,000 a year over three years for health-care professionals and veterinarians.