- Dentist (DMD/DDS)
- Medicine (MD/DO)
- Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (NP)
- Primary Care Physician Assistant (PA)
- Family Medicine
- General Internal Medicine
- General Psychiatrics
California has several state-specific loan forgiveness programs that can help eliminate your student loans. Most of these programs are geared toward medical and healthcare professionals. However, federal student loan forgiveness may be available for California residents who work in other fields.
All currently available loan forgiveness programs are for medical or healthcare professionals. While there used to be a program for teachers, it has been unfunded since the 2011-12 academic year.
If you're an allopathic or osteopathic physician or surgeon practicing in California, this program is for you. One of the qualifications, according to California's Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), is that applicants must work in a "shortage area" for three years.
You can receive this award, worth $105,000 in student loan forgiveness, up to two times.
How to apply: Check the OSHPD website for details and application deadlines.
Offering up to $50,000 in student loan forgiveness, this program is aimed at primary health professionals in the state in exchange for practicing in medically underserved communities as defined by the state. There is a two-year service obligation for those accepted under this program.
Eligible positions for this program include:
How to apply: You can check your eligibility and apply on the OSHPD website.
This award is for professionals working in the mental health field. According to the OSHPD, awardees receive up to $10,000 for student loan repayment in exchange for a one-year commitment in a hard-to-fill position, or a one-year commitment to retain their current position, within the County PMHS.
Eligible positions for this program include:
How to apply: This program is not currently accepting applications, but check the website for upcoming application dates.
Recent dental school graduates can receive up to $35,000 in forgiveness benefits per year (with a cap at $150,000 over three years) with this program. Applicants must have graduated from an American Dental Association accredited school within three years or expect to graduate within three months of applying.
You must commit to practicing in a medically undeserved area to be eligible.
How to apply: Visit the CDA Foundation website for application details.
This program offers up to $16,000 in loan forgiveness aims to increase the number of healthcare professionals in medically underserved areas in the state.
To be eligible you are required to commit to practicing direct patient care at a state facility for one year.
Eligible allied healthcare professions include:
How to apply: Learn more and apply here.
Offered through the Health Professions Education Foundation, this program awards up to $10,000 for student loan repayment. You may receive this award up to three times.
This award is specifically for those who are currently licensed as a Registered Nurse in California and have a BSN degree.
To be eligible, you must be willing to practice direct patient care for two years at a qualified facility in the state, such as a designated medically underserved area, shortage area, state prison or veteran's facility.
How to apply: The application is available on the OSHPD website.
This program is for qualifying primary healthcare providers, including those working in family medicine, general internal medicine, general psychiatrists, and OBGYN, at certain sites in 35 designated counties.
The eligible disciplines and approved primary care specialties are:
How to apply: Submit your application online. Application cycles usually start at the beginning of the year.
Interested in other student loan forgiveness options? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Grants to Pay Off Student Loans.
Works with 275+ not-for-profit community lenders for higher approval chances
LendKey operates student loan programs for over 275 not-for-profit and community lenders across the country. By partnering with these lenders, LendKey is able to give consumers direct access to the best rates available from the most borrower friendly institutions. As the servicer of all loans obtained through its platform, you can rest easy knowing your personal information will be safe and that the best customer service team will be ready to answer your questions from application until your final payment.
Offers unemployment protection and career/coaching/networking
SoFi, which stands for “Social Finance,” was created by a group of Stanford business students who found themselves with a mountain of debt after graduation. They set out to change the student loan industry and help borrowers like themselves to get lower interest rates. SoFi has some of the lowest interest rates and, unlike the other lenders we reviewed, it has no maximum amount you can finance. However, Nevada residents can’t currently refinance with SoFi. Minimum loan balances are higher in Arizona, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania due to state laws. Additional state restrictions may apply.
For every loan they fund, they contribute to the education of a child in need
CommonBond was founded in 2011 by three MBA graduates from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School who wanted to help their peers escape from high-interest student loan debt. Its original focus was on grad students, but it has since expanded to cover undergrads as well.
Of all the companies we reviewed, CommonBond has some of the best customer service. The company prides itself on being easy to reach by email, phone, or live chat. It offers networking events, expert panels, insider newsletters, and even has a program help borrowers who lose their jobs to find new ones. CommonBond also makes you feel good about choosing to refinance with them by donating money to an education nonprofit for each loan they write.
Get a personalized review of your refinancing options with CommonBond today.
Earnest empowers people with the financial captial they need to live better lives.
Using technology, data, and design to build affordable products, Earnest's lending products are built for a new generation seeking to reach life's milestones. The company understands every applicant's unique financial story to offer the lowest possible rates and radically flexible loan options for living life.
Click here to apply with Earnest and to see how much you can save.
Operates in all 50 states; 2nd largest student loan refinancing lender
Laurel Road is a national online lender with customers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Many of our non-bank competitors are not able to lend in all 50 states.Laurel Road has grown to be the second largest player in the student loan refinancing space in large part because of our reputation as the go-to low rate provider.
Special offers for medical resident and fellow refinance products
Splash Financial is a leader in student loan refinancing with new rates as low as 3.25% fixed APR which can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loans. No application or origination fees and no prepayment penalties. Splash Financial is in all 50 states and is intensely focused on customer service. Splash Financial is also one of the few companies that offers a great medical resident and fellow refinance product. You can check your rate with Splash in just minutes.
Click here to see more of Splash's offerings and to see how you can save money.