5 Student Loan Forgiveness Options for Illinois Residents


Jen Williamson Updated: April 30, 2019

If you live in Illinois, you’re in luck. You have access to five student loan forgiveness programs specifically for residents in your state—across a range of professions. They are:

  • The Illinois Teachers Loan Repayment Program
  • The John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program
  • The Nurse Educator Loan Repayment Program
  • The Public Interest Attorney Loan Assistance Program
  • Veterans' Home Medical Providers' Loan Repayment Program

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The Illinois Teachers Loan Repayment Program

This program is designed to encourage talented teachers to work in low-income schools throughout Illinois.

The deal is this. If you’ve already qualified for the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, this program will match up to $5,000 in funds toward your student loan debt.

But to qualify, you need to:

  1. Have already qualified for teacher student loan forgiveness at the federal level
  2. Be a resident of Illinois and a U.S. citizen
  3. Have spent at least five years teaching in a low-income elementary or secondary school in Illinois

You can download the application here

The John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program

This program is for lawyers who agree to live and work in Illinois as public defenders or prosecutors in the state for a minimum of three years.

The amount you can get depends on the program’s funding. It may be up to $4,000 a year, up to as much as $60,000 total, toward your loans. 

To be eligible, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Have an existing FFELP, Direct, Graduate PLUS or Perkins loan
  • Be a licensed attorney working for the state of Illinois or a qualifying nonprofit, as either a prosecutor or defense lawyer
  • Not be in default on any federal loans

You can download and print the application here.

Nurse Educator Loan Repayment Program 

This program is dedicated to encouraging nurse instructors to stay and teach in Illinois. You can earn as much as $5,000 per year toward your loans, up to four years maximum.

To be eligible, you must: 

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, and an Illinois resident
  • Have a qualifying loan, including Stafford loans, Grad PLUS loans, Direct Consolidation loans and other types of loans (for a complete list, go here).
  • Meet the licensing requirements for nurse educators in the state of Illinois
  • Have worked for at least 12 months as a nurse educator in an approved school in Illinois
  • Not be in default on any student loans

To download the application, click here.

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Public Interest Attorney Loan Repayment Assistance Program

This program is designed to encourage recent law school grads to enter into careers working with the state of Illinois. Qualifying professions include:

  • Assistant State’s Attorneys
  • Assistant Public Defenders
  • Civil legal aid attorneys
  • Assistant Attorneys General
  • Assistant public guardians
  • Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission attorneys
  • Legislative attorneys

The idea is to encourage people in the legal field to work for the state of Illinois in protecting the rights of the state’s most vulnerable citizens and promote equal enforcement of the law.

To qualify, you must:

  • Be a licensed member of the Illinois bar
  • Have eligible debt currently in repayment or a grace period
  • Be employed as an attorney with a qualifying Illinois attorney

You could stand to earn as much as $6,000 per year, up to $30,000 total, and you must work for at least one year with a qualifying employer.

For more information or to download an application, click here. 

Veterans’ Home Medical Providers’ Loan Repayment Program

This program will help you repay educational loans as an incentive to attract medical providers to work in veterans’ homes in the state of Illinois. You get up to $5,000 per year for a maximum of four years to repay your student loan debt.

The following professions qualify for this award:

  • Physicians
  • Certified nurse practitioners
  • Registered professional nurses
  • Certified nursing assistants
  • Licensed practical nurses

To qualify, you must:

  • Be a US citizen or eligible non-citizen, and an Illinois resident
  • Have a qualifying loan (click here for the complete list)
  • Be a medical professional who meets Illinois licensing requirements, or a certified nursing assistant, whose employment is in good standing with the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Meet the requirements for employment with an approved State of Illinois veterans’ home

For more information or to download an application, go here

As a resident of the State of Illinois, you also have access to all the student loan forgiveness programs available at the federal level—and we’ve collected all that info for you. Give it a read—hopefully you’ll be able to find a student loan forgiveness program that’s tailor-made for you.

Curious about how much you could save by refinancing? Check out Refi Ready.

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  • APR: 2.49% - 7.50%
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Visit LendKey View Loan Disclosure

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.

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Visit SoFi View Loan Disclosure

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.

SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Review

  • Low interest rates - For well-qualified borrowers, SoFi offers some of the lowest rates we have found.
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Find out what interest rate SoFi can offer you here.

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For every loan they fund, they contribute to the education of a child in need

  • APR: 2.48% - 6.25%
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Visit CommonBond View Loan Disclosure

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.

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  • Unemployment protections - If you lose your job or decide to go back to school, you can delay your payments for up to 24 months.
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  • Qualification - Borrowers must have graduated at least 2 years prior if they want to apply without a co-signer. And borrowers in 6 states – Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, South Dakota, and Vermont – cannot currently refinance through CommonBond.

Get a personalized review of your refinancing options with CommonBond today.

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Earnest empowers people with the financial captial they need to live better lives.

  • APR: 2.49% - 7.89%
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Visit Earnest View Loan Disclosure

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.

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Operates in all 50 states; 2nd largest student loan refinancing lender

  • APR: 2.50% - 7.02%
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • No refinancing amount maximum
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Visit Laurel Road View Loan Disclosure

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.

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Special offers for medical resident and fellow refinance products

  • APR: 3.10% - 7.84%
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Visit Splash View Loan Disclosure

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.

  • Low interest rates – especially for graduate students
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