If you enjoy community interest projects and need some help paying your student loans, a loan repayment assistance plan (LRAP) can provide you with work experience while helping pay off your loans. Although each program is different, in general, you agree to serve with an organization in exchange for financial aid.
There are several things you need to consider before signing a contract, such as:
For federal student loans, the two main LRAPs are the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Teachers who teach fulltime for at least five consecutive years at schools that serve low-income families can have all or part of their loans forgiven, up to $17,500. Only Direct Loans and Federal Stafford Loans can be forgiven through this program.
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is offered to public service workers and is only eligible toward Federal Direct Loans. By making 120 full loan payments on time, the remaining amount of your loan might be eligible for forgiveness. If you do not work for a government agency, your organization must serve the public in some capacity and cannot be a labor union or partisan political organization.
Some Federal Perkins Loans might be eligible for forgiveness, but there are no standard programs for this. Talk to your school’s financial aid office about options for discharge.
There are hundreds of LRAPs available. Ask your advisor or financial aid officer about local opportunities, or check out one of these organizations: