Think it’s impossible to pay off your student loans without using your own money? Think again! Even though you’ve graduated, there are all sorts of grants and scholarships that you can use to start paying off your student loans. Not only does this mean less money out of your pocket, it also means you can pay off your loans even quicker.
Grants are typically awarded on a need-base. If you’re looking to ease the burden of student loans, there are grants to pay off student loans. Here are 3 ways to find grants.
1. Federal Grants
Just as the federal government offers student loans, the government also offers grants to help with loan repayment. There are all sorts of federal loans that are available including:
- Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
You will also find that grants are available through various government departments, most of which are given based on the career that you choose. Before applying, ensure that you meet all of the requirements so that you increase your chances of being approved.
2. State Grants
Throughout the U.S., there are all sorts of state government grants that are available for graduates. For example, if you live in North Dakota and have a career in a STEM field, you can apply for the North Dakota Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Student Loan Grant.
Or, if you live in New York, have a degree from a New York college, and plan to work in the farming or agriculture industry in the state for at least five years, you can apply for the New York State Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program. This grant offers up to $10,000 a year for five years to pay off student loan debt.
These are just a few state grants available to graduates. Be sure to check with your state to determine which grants you may be eligible for.
3. Career-based Grants
The career path you choose may open all sorts of doors for obtaining grants. For example, if you’re interested in working in reproductive research, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers a repayment incentive for up to $35,000 a year through the Contraception and Infertility Research Repayment Program.
Interested in working as a nurse? If so, you can apply for a grant through the Nurse Corps Repayment Program which can repay up to 85% of our outstanding student loans. The grant is available through the Health Resources and Services Administration and to be eligible you must be a nurse practitioner, licensed registered nurse, or a nursing faculty member.
There are career-based grants available for various industries, so be sure to search for one that you’re eligible for.
Grants Not an Option? Other Ways to Pay Off Student Loans
While there are plenty of grants available to use for paying off student loans, not all graduates meet the requirements for these loans. If you’re unable to find a grant that you can use, you’ll be happy to know that there are other options to consider.
Income Based Repayment
If you’re having a hard time making your monthly payments because of low income, consider switching to an income driven repayment plan. These plans will reduce your monthly payment as the amount is based off of your income. With these programs, you can pay your loan for 20 to 25 years and be eligible for complete loan forgiveness.
There are all sorts of income-based repayment programs including:
- Revised Pay as You Earn (REPAYE)
- Pay as You Earn (PAYE)
- Income-Contingent Repayment
- Income-based Repayment
With the right repayment program paying off your student loans will become much less of a financial strain.
Consolidation or Refinancing
Most college graduates have several loans, which means you have to make a payment for each loan each month. If you have many federal loans, you can consolidate them into one big loan, making it much easier to manage. With federal loan consolidation you’re given an interest rate that’s based off of the average of your existing loans. You can also consolidate private loans, but the process is done through a private lender.
Refinancing is another option to make repayment much easier. By refinancing your loans, you can pay off all or some of your existing loans and then pay off the new loan over time. This often means a lower interest rate and monthly payment along with a longer loan term.
Grants are a great way to pay off student loans. But, if you’re ineligible for grants, there are also many other options to consider so that you can start paying down your loans and working towards being free of student loan debt.
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