Student loan debts total $1,000,000,000,000. Most people find it hard to even imagine that amount of money. For many college graduates the transition from studying to entering the world of employment is a difficult one, and it is made even more worrisome by the huge amounts of student debt they have accumulated during the course of their studies. The burden is hindering their career options and in many case even defines their future overall.
Alternative Ways to Pay off Student Debt
Starting life with a huge amount of student depth is certainly not the case in many other countries. For example, in the European countries of Norway, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Austria, Greece among others, education if free and it is considered a right, not a privilege.
But enough with the countries that have it better than us, let’s concentrate on ingenious ways to reduce, or get rid of that troublesome student debt.
Income-based Repayment Plans
Much like in the UK, the U.S. Department of Education decided to introduce a payment plan option for graduates and dropouts, which would enable them to pay off their student loan debt, without the payments having a significant impact on their personal finance.
Monthly payments can be as low as $5 and they depend on the amount one earns. Individuals who earn less than $20,000 do not have to pay anything back and their debt is frozen, however, as soon as their income reaches the $20,000 mark they start repaying the debt. The amount one pays does not only depend on the amount one earns, but also on the number of people who live in any given household. For instance, if an individual earns $30,000 and has a family of five, then they would be repaying $0 per month, if they had a family of four, the repayments would start at $18 per month.
About 40% of individuals with a considerable amount of student debt fail to repay their loans and find themselves in significant financial danger. This program aims to reduce the impact repayments can have on everyday responsibilities and expenses, and enable individuals to wipe of their debt. Again, the more they earn, the higher the monthly payment, and the sooner they will be debt free.
Individuals need to submit their annual income figure every year in order for the correct repayment amount to be calculated.
National Health Service Repayment Program
It does not come as a surprise that those who enter the health professions, as medical, mental health or dental clinicians, also have one of the highest amounts of accumulated student debt.
This is why the National Health Service Corps is giving such professionals the opportunity to receive up to $50,000 towards their student loan repayments, in exchange for a two-year commitment to work for the NHSC, specifically in underprivileged communities across the U.S.
Although not all clinicians will enjoy moving, or remaining, in more underprivileged parts of the country, it is almost certain that the amount of experience they will gain, will more than make-up for the commitment they need to show in order for their student debt to be wiped.
Perkins Loan Cancellation Program
Some students in considerable financial hardship are eligible for low interest federal loans, portion of which (sometimes the whole amount) can be cancelled if the recipients are employed in any of the following professions after graduation:
- Law Enforcement
- Social Work
- Peace Corps etc.,
The aforementioned list is not exhaustive, as many different professions qualify under the Perkins Loan Cancellation Program. Students are encouraged to contact their educational establishment’s financial aid office to discuss the many options available to them.
The Federal Perkins Loan Program was scheduled to end in September 2017, however, there is talk about its extension to late 2019. Desperation is not in order yet however, as there are a few alternatives to the Perkins Loan program.
Health Professions Faculty Program
The Department of Health and Human Services also has its own student loan repayment aid. Faculty at colleges or universities, employed as health professionals, can receive up to $40,000 they can use to repay their student debt with, if they come from underprivileged backgrounds. The only catch, so to speak, is that they will need to remain in post for at least two years in order to qualify under the scheme.
Some of the other eligibility criteria are as follows:
- U.S. citizenship
- In possession of a graduate degree, or currently in training in a graduate program related to health professions.
U.S. Office of Personal Management Program
There are many perks and benefits of being a government employee. One of these benefits relates to available aid for student debt repayments. The U.S. Office of Personal Management ensures that every eligible employee can receive up to $10,000 in order to pay off their student debt in any given calendar year, totalling a maximum payment of $60,000.
In other words, if your student debt is more that $60,000, you will have to pay the rest. Nevertheless, for most graduates, $60,000 off their student debt is a dream come true.
Unconventional Ways to Pay Off Student Debt
Move to Niagara Falls
We could not believe it either! Niagara Falls appears to be in desperate need of a population boost. This is why Niagara Falls will pay $7,000 off your student debt, provided that you will remain a resident up to two years. Whether one decides to stay there after the qualifying period has passed is irrelevant, as your debt will still be $7,000 down.
Things are not as rosy as they seem however, as there are very few places for eligible participants, and previous participants have struggled to gain and maintain employment in Niagara Falls. Regardless, it is an ingenious scheme, which might actually help boost the dwindling population of certain American towns.
Take Part in a Gameshow!
Yes, you read correctly. A gameshow. A brand new gameshow came to our screens on July 10th 2018, and it is already branded as dystopian by many skeptics. The aim of the gameshow is to answer questions correctly, participate in several tasks and ensure you are the winner. Reminiscent of the Hunger Games story, in principle, but thankfully not in actuality, the gameshow will pay off your student debt if you are are the winner.
However entertaining, Paid Off simply should not exist. The youth of America should not have to resort to extreme lengths in order to start a debt free life as a graduate. After all, education is a right, not a privilege in many other countries, why not the U.S.?
TruTV has recognized this desperation to start life on an even keel, and they have created a game show around the fact. Their motto is “The More you Know, the Less you Owe”. Isn’t it a pity that the youth of America cannot say the same?