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Monday, February 23, 2009

Student Loan Debt Forgiveness

By Max Bellamy

In principle, student loans cannot be forgiven totally; however there are methods to pay off these loans by providing certain services.

There are several socially benefiting jobs that a student can do in order to pay his debts off. Working as helpers in medical clinics, teaching in understaffed schools, enlisting oneself in the military and social service are a few of them.

Students who learn medicine often incur heavy loans in their studying period. There is an option for such students to provide their medical assistance in economically backward, disaster-affected or even war-affected regions. This is a method by which students can get their loans forgiven. Since no practicing doctor would like to take up a job in such areas, recruiters often lean on such student defaulters to garner medical aid in such regions.

Teaching is another way to get student loans waived. Before July 1, 1987, borrowers had to teach in schools having a low-income clientele. After July 1, 1992, student borrowers can also teach in certain subjects in understaffed schools to get their loans waived. Teaching schools with 'special-case' children is also a method that the government provides students who wish to get their loans forgiven.

Providing service in the military is another alternation for student loan forgiveness. These are peace-time jobs, and often quite menial ones. However, students opt for this for the sense of patriotism it creates and the thrill of working in the military. There are also voluntary social service organizations like the AmeriCorps and PeaceCorps that students can work for in order to get their loans reduced.

None of these above-mentioned modes of providing services can provide 100% loan forgiveness. Generally students find a 15% waiver in the first and second years, 20% in the third and fourth year and 30% in the fifth year. Working for such institutions also helps a student to reduce the term of repayment of the loan.

It is debatable whether a student should work away his loan in this manner. Since none of the occupations are highly fulfilling in the economical sense, a student must go for them only out of an ardent desire for social betterment. Also, considering the amount of time a student has to put in (generally five years), it is not a prudent option for those who want to build their careers. The practical approach of students is to work for other companies which remunerate them better and pay off their loans out of their income.

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