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Explore Your Student Loan Forgiveness Options In California

student loan forgiveness options

California is highly known for its high cost of living. And when you’re saddled with massive student debt, it can be a huge problem. The good news is that there are various student loan forgiveness options in California you can qualify for.

Over 4.2 million student loan borrowers in California, with a total debt of around $130 billion. With such astonishing figures, It’s no wonder many people are looking for ways to come out from under the weight of student loan debt.

But there are numerous student loan forgiveness options you can qualify for. And these forgiveness programs are specific to that state. However, you can also be eligible for several federal student loan forgiveness programs. 

This guide will explore the various student loan forgiveness options available in California. With that said, let’s begin. 

Student Loan Forgiveness Options To Consider In California 

One option is to look into the US Department of Education’s student loan forgiveness programs. People who work in public service, for example, are eligible for federal loan forgiveness programs. 

You may be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness if you graduate and work for a non-profit or the government. You must make ten years of monthly payments and be employed for the same amount of time to be eligible.

In addition, the state of California provides several possibilities. The majority of these California forgiveness programs are targeted at people who work in specified professions and live in specific areas within the state.

We’ll discuss the various student loan forgiveness options in the next section. Then, you can go through them and proceed with the one that works for you. 

Top 10 Student Loan Forgiveness Options Available In California 

California SLRP (State Loan Repayment Program)  

The California SLRP’s purpose is to increase California’s number of healthcare professionals. In addition, the program, which Congress established in 1987, can assist primary healthcare professionals in repaying qualified educational loans. 

The grant amount varies based on whether you work part-time or full-time. However, they start at $50,000 for a two-year initial full-time commitment.

You can qualify if you’re working in one of the below fields: 

  • Physician Assistant (PA) 
  • Dentist 
  • Primary Care Physician 
  • Mental or Behavioral Health Provider 
  • Certified Nurse Midwife 
  • Dental Hygienist

Eligibility Requirements 

You must meet the following requirements to qualify for the California loan forgiveness program:

  • You must commit to four years of half-time service or two years of full-time service. After completing the initial service term, you can extend your service for one more year. 
  • Your workplace should be a non-profit outpatient clinic that offers free services or discounts to those who earn less than 200% of the federal poverty line.
  • You must work in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area at your practice.
  • The SLRP Practice sites list must include the provider practice where you work.
  • You need a valid, unrestricted California license.

How To Apply For The California SLRP

You can apply on OSHPD.ca.gov. Between Aug. 1 and Oct. 1, you can apply, and although all applications must be completed by the deadline, site administrators can submit Practice Site Profiles at any time during the year.

CalHealthCares Loan Repayment Program 

The CalHealthCares LRP can provide up to $300,000 in loan repayment assistance for qualifying dentists and physicians. However, participating healthcare practitioners must promise to give care to Medi-Cal consumers in exchange. And that makes up a third of Californians.

You must consent to a five-year service requirement to get the $300,000 loan repayment under the CalHealthCares program. However, if you owe hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical or dental student loans, it may be well worth it.

Advanced Practice Healthcare LRP (Loan Repayment Program) 

The APHLRP is supported by grants and donations and provides up to $25,000 in loan forgiveness in California. The prize can be received up to three times for $75,000 in student loan forgiveness.

In addition, you must promise to practice direct patient care for an entire year in a qualifying California facility. Furthermore, during this one-year contract, you must work full time. The number of hours should be at least 32 hours per week.

You must be a health practitioner in one of the below fields to be eligible:

  • Speech Therapists 
  • Physical Therapists 
  • Physician Assistants 
  • Occupational Therapists 
  • Dentist 
  • Nurse Practitioners 
  • Certified Nurse Midwives 
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists 

Allied Healthcare Loan Repayment Program 

student loan forgiveness options

This repayment program intends to boost the number of allied healthcare practitioners in medically underserved areas of California. For a 12-month term, you must agree to work full-time in direct patient care at a facility in the state that qualifies. 

You can get up to $16,000 in loan repayments. 

The following are some of the repayment program’s requirements for borrowers:

  • The government or a commercial lender might be the source of outstanding debt.
  • Applicants must have a clean record with their license or certification body.
  • For at least 32 hours each week, the applicant should be delivering direct patient care.
  • You must be licensed and work in an Allied Healthcare profession to be eligible. For example, dental hygienist, occupational therapy assistant, anesthesia technician, etc.

How To Apply For The Allied Healthcare Loan Repayment Program 

You can apply on the official CalReach site. The application period runs from Aug. 1 to Oct. 9. In addition, you can check if their workplace qualifies as a shortage location by checking the website.

Bachelor of Science Nursing Loan Repayment Program 

The Health Professions Education Foundation in California offers this loan forgiveness program. Up to $10,000 is available through the Bachelor of Science Nursing Loan Repayment Program. If this grant is given, you must agree to practice direct patient care at a certified California facility for a year. It’s possible to receive the honor up to three times.

Eligibility Requirements 

You must meet the following requirements to qualify for this forgiveness program:

  • In California, you must be licensed as a Registered Nurse and have a BSN degree. 
  • As an RN, you will provide direct patient care.
  • You shouldn’t have any further obligations in terms of service.
  • Be willing to volunteer for a year in a medically underserved area.
  • Working in a healthcare shortage area, a medically underserved area, a state jail, a county, or a Veteran’s facility.

How To Apply 

You’ll find the application on the OSHPD Funding Portal site. The application period runs from Aug. 1 through Oct. 9, and you can find out if you work in a suitable location by visiting the OSHPD website. 

The incentive is $50,000 for a two-year full-time commitment of 40 hours per week. The half-time grant is worth up to $25,000 and requires 20 hours per week for a two-year obligation.

APLE Grant (Assumption Program of Loans for Education) 

The APLE grant is a loan forgiveness program for California teachers. Teachers may be eligible for student loan forgiveness of up to $19,000. You must teach for four years in a qualifying, low-performing California school while keeping your credentials. 

Also, any teaching experience gained before the application will be disregarded. 

Those who have outstanding debt might choose from the choices listed above. California also provides numerous grants to students attending local universities. 

To be eligible, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and have a minimum GPA. 

County Medical Services Program LRP

This repayment program is a student loan forgiveness option that assists primary healthcare providers in repaying their college loans. They must provide healthcare services at specific locations in 35 CMSP counties.

Eligibility Requirements 

The following criteria must be met to be considered for this forgiveness:

  • To practice in California, you must have an unrestricted and current license.
  • All child support payments should be current.
  • You must work at a qualified site in one of the CMSP’s 35 counties.
  • You can’t fulfill any additional service commitments or obligations.
  • By Mar. 16, 2019, all participating practice sites must have a fully executed contract with the County Medical Services Program Governing Board.
  • Medicine, dentistry, primary care physician assistant, and primary care nurse practitioner are all eligible.
  • General internal medicine, family medicine, general psychiatrists, etc., are among the approved primary care specializations.

How To Apply 

You can apply by going to the official CalReach site and filling out all required annual information. The application period varies from year to year, but it often begins at the beginning of the year.

County Medical Services Program LRP

As one of the top student loan forgiveness options, this program is available to primary care health practitioners working in California’s designated counties. Primary Care Physician Assistants, General/Family Medicine, General Dentists, and Primary Care Nurse Practitioners are all eligible.

For a two-year commitment, you can get up to $50,000. During this time, you must work a minimum of 40 hours each week at an approved location. There are 35 counties identified as CMSP LRP suitable locations. You can also apply for a $25,000 debt repayment award if you work half-time.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness 

Some states provide teacher loan forgiveness programs to assist teachers with school debt. California did as well at one point. The APLE was established; it was designed to encourage teachers to work in specific areas around California. That, however, is no longer funded.

However, there are federal teacher loan forgiveness programs. 

This federal loan forgiveness program assists teachers in repaying their student debt. You must work for a minimum of five years in a recognized school. Go to the Teacher Cancellation Low Income Directory to see if your school qualifies.

The amount of loan forgiveness varies depending on the subject you teach. The majority of elementary school teachers earn up to $5,000. Secondary school teachers who teach science, math, or special education may qualify for up to $17,500 of loan forgiveness.

Eligibility Requirements 

If you have the required financing, you must also meet the following requirements:

  • You must work for a qualifying organization as a teacher. These include low-income areas’ primary and secondary schools and educational service agencies.
  • You must be a highly qualified teacher. That means you must have a state certification or teaching license.
  • Your debts must not be in arrears.
  • You must work as a full-time teacher for five years in a row.
  • You’re not permitted to have loans that originated before Oct. 1, 1998.

Loans That Qualify For Teacher Loan Forgiveness 

Teacher Loan Forgiveness is only available for a few types of debts, including:

  • Federal Stafford loans, both subsidized and unsubsidized
  • Direct loans, both subsidized and unsubsidized

This student loan forgiveness option is not available if you have PLUS loans.

How To Apply 

After five years of teaching, you can apply for this forgiveness program by filling out the Teacher Loan Forgiveness application. You should return your application to your loan servicer.

Dental Student Loan Forgiveness Program 

Students who have earned a degree in a specialty dental discipline or general dentistry may be eligible for student loan debt relief. The California Dental Association (CDA) Foundation, in particular, offers a loan payback incentive valued at up to approximately $35,000 each year. 

It can also be renewed for a maximum of $105,000 for 36 months. 

Eligibility Requirements 

To earn student loan forgiveness, you must meet the below criteria:

  • Must be a dental school graduate accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA).
  • You must be a legal citizen or resident of the US, and you must be able to prove it.
  • To practice dentistry in California, you must be eligible and have the relevant licenses. If not, you have to obtain them.
  • Student debt from a dental education is a must.
  • If you are not a recent graduate, you must plan to graduate within 90 days after submitting your application.
  • You must have obtained or worked at a suitable location and work in an economically poor or dental-care-deficient area.
  • Student loans must be in good status, with no defaults.
  • Must sign a contract committing to work for at least three years in the shortage area.

How To Apply 

Those who are eligible can apply on the CDA’s website. Between May 1 and Jul. 31, applications are accepted. The Webb Family Grant, available to grant runners-up, provides up to $5,000 for educational expenditures.

Student Loan Forgiveness Options: Choosing The Right One 

student loan forgiveness options

If you have federal student loans, you can always consider federal student loan forgiveness options regardless of where you live.

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is the most generous. Borrowers who qualify may achieve total forgiveness on their remaining balance in as little as ten years (120 qualifying payments).

However, to be eligible for PSLF, you must have federal Direct Loans. Borrowers of Federal Perkins Loans and FFEL are unfortunately ineligible. And, of course, you must be employed by a qualified employer (government or not-for-profit organizations).

The other student loan forgiveness options include income-driven repayment plans and teacher loan forgiveness programs. 

Consider Refinancing Your Student Loans 

If you have private student loans, refinancing them to see if you can get a better interest rate and payment may be a better option. Refinancing allows you to change your monthly payments and set new repayment terms, typically between five and twenty years.

You may be eligible for a lower interest rate than you currently have, allowing you to save money on your student loans. In addition, if you refinance several loans, you can consolidate them into a single loan to make repayment easier.

Before you start looking into refinancing possibilities for student loans, keep in mind that refinancing federal loans makes them private. As a result, you’ll lose access to federal forgiveness and payback programs, which were notably helpful during the COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021, when the economy was strained. 

Consider refinancing as a strategy to reorganize your debt and save money on interest if you’re willing to make this sacrifice. 

Final Thoughts 

Depending on where you live and work, you may be eligible for partial or whole forgiveness of your student debts. If you aren’t eligible, look into other ways to pay off your student loans and look for new programs or initiatives.

You don’t have to keep to a given plan indefinitely, even if you started with it. Instead, feel free to tweak your strategy as your situations and objectives change regarding the student loan forgiveness options. If you don’t know where to begin, get in touch with a student loan expert. They can help you make an informed decision.