Best Grants to Pay Off Student Loans

Student Loan Debt Crisis Breakdown
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If you’re like 70% of college graduates, you probably have student loan debt. In fact, 44 million Americans have student loan debt totaling nearly $1.5 trillion.

But, having student loan debt – and those pesky large monthly payments – can impact your ability to meet your other long-term financial goals, like buying a home, building an investment portfolio, or even taking the trip of a lifetime.

Learn about these grants that can help you pay off your student loan debt more quickly, then get to work on your other post-graduation financial goals. Another plus? You usually don’t have to repay grants as long as you fulfill your contractual requirements. Talk about a win-win.

Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program

Calling all nurses. The Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program pays up to 85% of your nursing-related education debt.

To be eligible, you must be a licensed registered nurse, an advanced practice registered nurse (like a nurse practitioner), or a nurse faculty member who received nursing education from an accredited school of nursing in the U.S. Other requirements are that you work in a critical shortage area, and clock at least 32 hours/week.

National Institute of Mental Health Loan Repayment Program

The National Institute of Mental Health Loan Repayment Program is aimed at health professionals who want to pursue research-based careers. Think biomedical, behavioral, social, and clinical research projects.

This program will repay up to $35,000 of your student loan debt per year, in exchange for two years of qualified research funded by a U.S.-based nonprofit organization. Another bonus? These loan benefits are on top of the salary you’d receive for your research.

Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness

Perhaps one of the most well-known student loan forgiveness programs, the Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness program offers loan forgiveness on your Direct Loans (a federal student loan under the U.S. Department of Education) after you’ve made 120 qualifying monthly payments.

But this program isn’t for everyone; it’s meant for those who work full-time for a government agency or nonprofit organization. You’ll also have to be on an income-driven repayment plan. There are also some guidelines on what constitutes a qualifying monthly payment.

Contraception and Infertility Research Loan Repayment Program

Another great option for those who work in the medical field is the Contraception and Infertility Research Loan Repayment Program, which allots up to $35,000 a year per grantee to pay off student loans.

Recipients must be a qualified, licensed, or certified to work in a laboratory or within the field of clinical research and be pursuing a master's, doctoral, research fellow, nursing or clinical degree. You also must commit to 2 years of contraception or infertility research.

John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program

Receive up to $10,000 per year to put toward your student loan debt (not to exceed $60,000) with this grant for state prosecutors or state public defenders.

The John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program requires a 3-year commitment to work as a state prosecutor or state public defender in order to receive the funds.

Army Loan Repayment (LRP) Program

The Army Loan Repayment (LRP) Program is a great option to those in the military to pay off a chunk of their student loans.

To qualify, you’ll need to enlist for at least 3 years (and have the Army Loan Repayment Program mentioned specifically in your contract), have a high school diploma, score a 50 or higher on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test, and decline another education repayment bill, the Montgomery GI Bill.

This program pays recipients 33 ⅓ % of their outstanding balance, with a minimum of $1,500 and a maximum paid of $65,000.

The Veterinarian Medical Loan Repayment

Animal lovers, this grant’s for you. The Veterinarian Medical Loan Repayment Program pays grantees up to $25,000 a year toward their qualified student loans, given that they serve in a veterinarian shortage area for three years. Keep in mind that the shortage area must be officially designated by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Final Thoughts

So whether you’re in the medical field, served in the armed forces, or are a newly-minted veterinarian, there are likely grant options for you to help you pay off your student loans. And given the state of student loan debt in the U.S., taking advantage of all payoff options will only pay off in the long run – literally.