With Americans now owing over $1.5 billion in student loans, some states have stepped up to help their residents pay back those loans a bit more quickly — especially if they can do so while providing much-needed skills to other state residents.
To incentivize health professionals to work in areas of high need, Massachusetts offers loan repayment assistance to borrowers in the medical field.
The Massachusetts Loan Repayment Program is administered by The Massachusetts Health Care Workforce Center. Through the program, eligible health care professionals in a variety of disciplines can receive up to $50,000 toward their student loans.
The purpose of the Massachusetts Loan Repayment Program is to encourage health care professionals — working in dental, medical, and mental health — to practice in areas that have been identified as having a shortage of health care providers and barriers to access.
To qualify for the loan repayment program, you must:
Participants may earn up to $25,000 in their first year of service and an additional $25,000 in their second year of service, for a total of $50,000. The exact amount of the assistance depends on your profession.
Both private student loans and the following federal student loans are eligible for the Massachusetts Loan Repayment Program:
To apply, you'll need to gather information about your current loans and then visit the website for the Massachusetts Health Care Workforce Center to learn more and fill out an online application. The State removes detailed information about the program when the application period is closed, so you may need to check back frequently to find out when you can apply.
While borrowers in the medical field have some of the highest student debt loads, plenty of borrowers in other careers are struggling to manage their student loans. If you don't qualify for the Massachusetts Loan Repayment Program, you're not alone.
And, more importantly, there are other ways to get some debt relief.
States aren't the only ones taking notice of the student debt crisis. The Federal Government provides a variety of programs and grants available that could discharge some or all of your current student loans. One of the most well-known federal programs is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which discharges student loans after 10 years for borrowers working for eligible non-profit organizations or government agencies.
There are also many grant programs that cater to particular careers. Check out our ultimate list of grants to pay off your student loans to find a program that could benefit you.
If you have federal loans, you are eligible for an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. Under an IDR plan, your payments are capped at a percentage — between 10% and 20% — of your discretionary income. You also have the option to extend your repayment term. Some borrowers in an IDR plan pay $0 a month, but signing up for an IDR plan doesn't automatically mean your payments will be lower.
Depending on your discretionary income and repayment terms, they could actually be higher. So make sure you research IDR plans fully and use a calculator to determine what your payments will be.
If you want to have lower monthly payments and pay less over the life of your loans, consider refinancing your student loans with a private lender. When you refinance, you choose a new lender, along with new repayment terms and — this is the really good part — a new, lower interest rate.
That new interest rate can save you thousands of dollars. In fact, the average borrower who refinances saves more than $16,000 over the life of their loan.
Find out how much you could save by refinancing your 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.