Student Loan Forgiveness for Professors

Updated on January 4, 2024

At a Glance

  • Faculty Loan Repayment Program (FLRP) by HRSA offers up to $40,000 debt repayment over two years for college professors at health profession schools.
  • Professors can explore Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) for up to 10 years of forgiveness.
  • Requirements for both programs include working at eligible institutions.
  • Alternative options for managing student debt include loan consolidation, income-based repayment plans, and more aggressive repayment strategies.

Having student debt as a professor can be burdensome, and it is natural to want to repay your student loans as soon as possible. If you are a professor with student debt you want to get off your shoulders, student loan forgiveness for college professors might just be what you are looking for. If you want to know a bit more about student loan forgiveness for professors, read on! We’ll guide you through your options below.

Faculty Loan Repayment Program (FLRP)

The FLRP, offered by the HRSA (Health Resources & Service Administration), is a student loan forgiveness program specifically aimed at college professors working at health profession schools or medical schools. This repayment program focuses specifically on professors and is in addition to the normal student PSLF (Public Service Loan Forgiveness) that professors can get for their student loans (see more about this below). The FLRP is a program that helps nurses, physicians, doctors and other health professionals, who have decided to teach in their specified field as professors, to pay off their student loans.

What does the FLRP offer? This repayment program can help with the repayment of up to $40,000 of student loan debt for the maximum of two years of teaching. Additional benefits that FLRP offer include the redemption of the tax liability that results from the forgiven debt.

In addition to applying for the program, there are requirements that you need to meet before you can qualify for the FLRP. These requirements are:

  • You have to show you have an environmental or economical disadvantaged background.
  • You should have a degree in a qualifying health profession.
  • You have to be committed to working for at least two years as a faculty member (professor) at an FLRP-approved institution or college.

If FLRP doesn’t work for you, you can consider Public Service Loan Forgiveness for professors.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

PSLF is another program you can opt for if you are looking for student loan forgiveness for college professors. This program is specifically designed for public employees or non-profit workers. The PSLF gives student loan forgiveness for up to 10 years of repayments.

Does Your College Qualify?

The institution that you are working for as a professor will determine whether you will be able to apply for PSLF. There are a few requirements you will need to meet in order to qualify for PSLF. These requirements include:

  • You need to work for a government organization. If you are a professor working at a public state college or city college, you will meet this requirement and thus be able to qualify for PSLF.
  • If you do not work for a government organization, you will need to work for a 501(c)(3) non-profit institution. These are mostly private, non-profit colleges.

So if you are working for an institution that is a not-for-profit private college or a public college, you will be able to qualify for PSLF.

Does Your Employer Qualify?

You will need to work at least 30 hours on a weekly basis to be considered for PSLF student loan forgiveness for professors.

The student loan repayments you make whilst meeting all of the requirements will contribute to the total 120 payments you need in order to be considered for PSLF.

Do not be alarmed if you are a professor on a limited-term contract. You will still be able to meet the 30-hour requirement if you give a few lectures and also work part-time at another employer that is qualified. The joint number of hours worked will be taken into consideration when determining the totaled 30-hour requirement.

Alternative Debt Management Options for College Professors

There are other alternatives besides student loan forgiveness for professors that you can use to ease the burden of student debt. If student loan forgiveness is not the most beneficial option for you, here are a few other options you can choose from.

Consolidation and Refinancing Loans

Refinancing your student loans as a professor might be a great idea. Consolidating and refinancing enables you to get lower interest rates on your existing debt or to shorten the term of your loan, which will mean that you will be able to pay off your debt quicker. If you shorten your loan term, keep in mind you will need to make larger monthly payments. You can also choose to rather make your repayment terms longer and pay off your debt at a more affordable monthly payment amount.

The number one benefit you will get when you use refinancing will be the potential lower interest rate that you will be paying. This means the cost of your debt is less and you will, in total, pay less. There are many lenders out there who will offer to refinance your student loan.

It is, however, important for you to take note that when you choose to refinance federal loans, you will give up a lot of protections that comes along with having federal loans. These protections include loan forgiveness for professors, income-driven repayment plans and deferment.

If you want more information about refinancing, you can find it here.

Income-Based Repayment Options

Now that you understand loan forgiveness and refinancing, another alternative you can consider is income-based repayment options. IDR (Income-driven repayment) is aimed at lowering your monthly payment to match the income that you make and your living expenses. This means that your repayments will be more personalized and you will always be able to afford the repayments.

There are some IDR plans that offer additional student loan forgiveness for college professors, but only after you have made payments for about 20-25 years. These plans can be very beneficial if you are considering moving into the PSLF program.

More Aggressive Repayment Plan

This means that you start paying more towards your student debt than you are currently. What this will result in is paying off your student debt quicker and paying less in the end (as less interest will accrue over the lifetime of the loan).

This might seem impossible at first, but here are some strategies you can follow to enable you to pay more each month:

  • Educate yourself about your personal finance. There are great personal finance books and blogs out there to help you better manage your day-to-day finances and your debt
  • Consider doing extra work on the side in order to raise your monthly income
  • Lower your cost of living by doing proper budgeting
  • Limit the amount of money you spend on things that aren’t necessities
  • Pay more on your higher interest student loans first

There are a lot of things you can do to manage your student debt better. Below are five things you should avoid with student loans.

5 Mistakes College Professors Need to Avoid with Student Loans

1. Don’t Choose the Wrong Repayment Plan

Choosing the correct repayment plan is essential to the successful repayment of your student loans as a professor. Choosing a repayment plan with the lowest monthly payment may be a good choice for you if your cash flow is tight. This will, however, mean you end up paying off your debt longer, which means you pay more interest in the long run. When deciding on a repayment plan, don’t be blind to the other factors and terms and conditions that come with the plans. Always take all the plan’s terms into consideration.

2. Don’t Refinance if It’s Not the Best Option

Refinancing might not always be your best option. Refinancing your student loan might be advantageous to some and disadvantageous to others. You’ll have to decide if you really need refinancing based on your financial situation or your current needs.

Sometimes professors jump to refinancing as soon as they get a stable income from a permanent position at work. It is better to first consider loan forgiveness because, as we explained above, federal student loans will not be able to qualify for PSLF if they are refinanced.

3. Don’t Forget to Claim Your Student Loan Interest Deduction

You can make a deduction of up to $2,500 of interest on your federal and private student loans from your annual tax return. This is a great yearly cost saving bonus. The student loan providers will be able to inform you of the amount of interest you paid that you can deduct.

4. Don’t Forget to Set Up Auto-Pay

There are several lenders who will reward you for setting up auto-payments. This reward can mean a decrease in your interest rate of up to 0.5%.

So what is auto-pay? In a nutshell, auto-pay is when you give your loan provider permission to deduct your monthly payment directly from your bank account on a monthly basis. Your bank account will, therefore, be linked to your loan. A decrease of up to 0.5% might not seem like a lot at first, but all of these small amounts add up to make great cost savings. You can ask your loan provider about what they offer in terms of auto-pay.

5. Certify for and Take Advantage of PSLF

If you decide you will be making use of student loan forgiveness for professors, you will have to remember to send the certification every year. You will need to fill out a portion of your form and your employer will also be obliged to fill in a part. Your qualifying payments will be updated yearly as you certify. It is a good idea to keep a copy of these on record as soon as you receive it and to keep it safe – just in case you need it in the future.

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Final Thoughts

Now that you have an idea of your options, you will be able to make an informed decision about what your next step should be to pay off your student debt sooner. Student loan forgiveness for professors is a great way of making your debt payments easier and more bearable. This is doubly true if your a professor with a disability. Always remember the number one rule, no matter the option you choose, make your repayments on time!

If you need more ideas, check out our guide to grants that can be used for paying off student debt! And if you’d like to learn more about the the tax implications of student loan forgiveness, check out our guide.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is There Student Loan Forgiveness Specifically for Professors?

Yes, professors may qualify for student loan forgiveness programs, such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and Teacher Loan Forgiveness, depending on their employment and loan types.

What is Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)?

Public Service Loan Forgiveness is a program that forgives the remaining balance of your Direct Loans after you’ve made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer, such as a public or non-profit educational institution.

How Do Professors Qualify for PSLF?

Professors qualify for PSLF by working full-time at a public or non-profit educational institution and making 120 qualifying payments under an eligible repayment plan on their Direct Loans.

What is Teacher Loan Forgiveness?

Teacher Loan Forgiveness is a program specifically designed for teachers who work for five consecutive years in a low-income school or educational service agency, offering forgiveness up to a certain amount on their Direct Loans or FFEL Program loans.

Can Professors at Private Universities Qualify for Loan Forgiveness?

Professors at private universities can qualify for loan forgiveness if the university is a non-profit institution and meets other program-specific requirements.

What Loans are Eligible for Forgiveness Programs?

Loans eligible for forgiveness programs usually include federal student loans, such as Direct Loans. Private student loans are typically not eligible.

How Much Loan Forgiveness Can Professors Receive?

The amount of loan forgiveness professors can receive varies by program. PSLF offers forgiveness of the remaining balance after 120 payments, while Teacher Loan Forgiveness has a cap of up to $17,500, depending on the subject area and level taught.

Are There Other Forgiveness Programs Available for Professors?

Apart from PSLF and Teacher Loan Forgiveness, some states or institutions may offer their own forgiveness programs for educators, including professors.

What Steps Should Professors Take to Apply for Loan Forgiveness?

To apply for loan forgiveness, professors should verify their eligibility, ensure they have the right type of loans, work in qualifying employment, and make the necessary number of payments. Application processes vary by program.

Can Professors Get Both PSLF and Teacher Loan Forgiveness?

Professors generally cannot receive both PSLF and Teacher Loan Forgiveness for the same period of service. However, they may qualify for one after completing the requirements for the other.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.