The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) aims to help people meet their financial needs through a variety of tools. Whether an individual wants to start a business or expand it, this authority will provide necessary loans, investment tax credits or other financing programs. Though it started functioning in 1983 with the main focus on small and large businesses, the organization has also been funding education and providing counseling services to the young since 1990. Currently, it offers Maine student loan forgiveness, scholarship, and grant opportunities to support people in their goal of pursuing higher education. In this guide, we will present several programs delivered by the Finance Authority of Maine and assist the decision-making process of people in need of financial help.
Maine Dental Education Loan Program
One of the Maine student loan forgiveness programs benefits borrowers of its dental education loans. The Finance Authority of Maine wants to give access to dental services for people who live in underserved areas. Hence, students who wish to pursue a career as a dentist and agree to serve in Maine can be eligible for this loan. When selecting the students for this loan, one of the main criteria is the multitude of financial needs. The ones who need the funds the most get this loan. The loan is worth between $20,000-$80,000 for borrowers before the year-end 2019 and between $25,000-$100,000 for borrowers after that period.
Dental Loan Forgiveness
The best part of this loan program is that it is forgivable. Therefore, students who pay the educational costs with the Maine Dental Education Loan program can get forgiveness to eliminate the loan debt partially. In general, students who continue their professional life in dental care in Maine’s underserved areas can qualify for forgiveness worth up to 25% of the original balance per year. If served less than a year, then a debtor can get forgiveness on a pro-rata basis.
A borrower can qualify for Maine student loan forgiveness only if he/she serves in an eligible facility. Such dental care facilities must serve people regardless of their payment source and should accept loan payments through MaineCare.
Maine Health Professions Loan Program
Another Maine student loan forgiveness program aims to help students in medical, dental, and veterinary fields. Eligible students should be residents of Maine for one year before registering the school. Besides, they should study in one of those programs in an eligible school:
- Allopathic medicine
- Osteopathic medicine
- Veterinary medicine
Students who meet both requirements can be eligible for this loan program. It provides an annually maximum of $25,000 funds which can be up to $100,000 for a four-year education program. If a student also receives the Future Scholarship program, he/she will get only $10,000 per year. The interest rate of the Maine Health Professions Loan program can be as low as 0% depending on the location and practice. Primary healthcare physicians, general dentists, or veterinarians serving in shortage areas for at least 20 hours per week can get a 0% annual interest rate. Borrowers serving in non-shortage areas will pay 3% interest.
As mentioned, the eligibility requirements are not extensive, so this loan is granted to students with the highest financial needs.
Health Professions Loan Forgiveness
If an initial loan is made before 2011, the loan can qualify for a forgiveness program. The forgiven amount can be up to 50% of the original loan amount per year of practice. This rate is for primary healthcare professionals working and residing in underserved areas of Maine and physicians serving in areas determined by Health and Human Services. If a primary healthcare professional does not work in a shortage area, he/she can qualify only 25% or $7,500 per year of practice. The exact amount of Maine student loan forgiveness is the greatest between these two options. Plus, primary healthcare professionals and general dentists only serving in shortage areas can qualify for student loan forgiveness under these conditions.
Maine Veterinary Medicine Loan Program
People who want to pursue a career as a veterinarian can be eligible for the FAME’s Veterinary Medicine Loan program. Again, the qualifying student should be a resident of Maine, study in an accredited school with an entrance date in 2011, and be interested in livestock veterinary. The committee selects students by considering their financial needs and the probability that they will practice in livestock veterinary medicine in shortage areas. The loan amount can be $25,000 per year. The number of students who get the loan and renewal depends on the availability of the funds.
Veterinary Loan Forgiveness
This loan program also provides forgiveness opportunities for borrowers. If a debtor practices veterinary medicine full-time, in shortage areas and deals with livestock at least 20 hours per week, the forgiveness rate will be 25% of the original balance annually. However, if livestock practice is less than 20 hours per week or not full-time, the forgiveness will be reduced to 12.5% of loan balance per year. Others who do not serve in veterinary medicine in Maine will be required to make loan payments for ten years with a 5% interest rate.
Alfond Leaders Program
Alfond leaders is a debt reduction program benefitting borrowers living and working in STEM occupation in Maine. The loan relief amount can be half of the outstanding balance, but it cannot exceed $60,000. Borrowers need to supply documents before the deadline, including an online application, transcripts, resume, and copy of the loan statement.
This Maine student loan forgiveness program is accessible to people working in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) occupations. A list of occupations can be found here. Both undergraduate and graduate education loans can qualify for debt reduction, even if they were refinanced or consolidated before. However, this repayment opportunity does not cover Parent loans.
If a student is selected, he/she will receive the benefit in two instalments. After working with a qualifying employer for three years, the first instalment will be received. The next three years of the work will give access to the second instalment. Both instalments will be directly paid to the loan servicers.
Educators for Maine Loan Program
Different from other programs which considered the financial need as the main factor, Educators for Maine program is a merit-based student loan opportunity. Graduating high-school, undergraduate and graduate students in postsecondary education residing in Maine are eligible for this loan program. However, they should also have a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) minimum of 3.0 out of 4.0. These students should pursue certification as teachers, including speech pathology and child care characteristics.
The loan amount varies between $2,000-$4,000 depending on the level of education. During the selection process, officials consider academic performance, a short essay, subject area, special honours and relevant activities as main factors.
Educators Loan Forgiveness
If a student pursues a career as a teacher, then he/she can eliminate one year of student loan per year or two-year service. Eligibility criteria include proper certification by the Maine Department of Education, qualifying employment, and workplace. Once a borrower receives an eligible position, he/she should submit necessary documents to Fame for loan forgiveness review.
The Finance Authority of Maine provides multiple funding opportunities and counselling services in business and education areas. What makes Maine authority unique is that they care about not only funding but also an effective repayment for the borrowers in the future. People who get educational loans from FAME, usually, face low-interest rates. Besides, there exist many Maine student loan forgiveness programs to help debtors to reduce their obligations in return for a year of service. In this way, Maine authority both solves the staff issue in underserved areas and facilitates their people to get an education without choking on debt.