Student loan forgiveness programs
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North Carolina doesn’t have as many forgiveness programs as other states. But if you work in health care, there are several options to choose from — the state has a health professional shortage. There’s also a state repayment assistance program for lawyers and teachers.
The North Carolina Office of Rural Health (ORH) offers this program to bring healthcare providers to rural areas across the state. You must make at least a four-year commitment to work in an eligible facility to qualify for this tax-free forgiveness program.
How much you qualify for depends on the type of provider you are. Physicians and dentists can qualify for up to $100,000 in forgiveness. Nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, physician assistants, psychiatric nurse practitioners and dental hygienists can get up to $60,000.
To qualify for this program, you need to meet the following criteria:
|Eligible healthcare provider|
Types of providers include:
You must reach out to the ORH to express interest in the program within six months of getting hired. This includes those who are also applying for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program.
You must meet the following additional criteria to qualify for this program:
The North Carolina SLRP is designed to bring mental health professionals to underserved and rural areas of the state. It involves a two-year service commitment to work in a qualified primary care site in these areas. Unlike other forgiveness programs, you won’t have to pay any taxes on the funds you receive.
To qualify for this program, you must meet the following criteria:
You need to be a qualified mental health care provider. This includes:
|Qualified primary care sites|
You need to work or plan to work at a qualifying primary care site. This includes:
|Qualified areas or counties||You need to Work in a federally-designated health professional shortage area (HPSA). North Carolina considers 84 counties to be a mental health HPSA as of March 2018. Check to make sure your area is an eligible health professional shortage area before you apply by visiting the North Carolina Health and Human Services website.|
The North Carolina LEAF program is designed to help lawyers afford to work in public service by reducing their student debt load. However, it’s meant as a last resort — it recommends you apply for other repayment assistance programs through your law school or employer first.
It’s one of the few programs that allows you to include bar exam loans, as most will only consider debt from while you were in school.
To qualify for this program, you need to meet the following criteria:
Teachers with loans through the NCSEAA can qualify for either loan forgiveness or cash if they take on a qualified job. Borrowers can get one loan forgiven for one year of full-time work or two years of part-time work. Do your research first — you won’t be eligible for this program if you’re applying for other employment-based forgiveness programs.
To qualify for FELS, you must meet the following criteria:
North Carolina’s forgiveness programs aren’t for everyone. If you can’t qualify, you might want to consider the following options:
The statute of limitations on promissory debt in North Carolina — which includes student loans — is five years. Once the statute of limitations is up, your lender won’t be able to sue you for repayments in the state of North Carolina. However, this only applies to private student loans — federal loans aren’t subject to the same rules.
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North Carolina state student loan forgiveness programs are limited by profession. Healthcare providers have the most options, though lawyers and teachers might also qualify.
On another career path? Check out your other options with our guide to student loan forgiveness programs.
Select a state from the list and explore other loan forgiveness programs across the country.
Will receiving forgiveness affect my income taxes?
It depends on the program. The IRS typically considers any type of debt forgiveness taxable income. However, North Carolina offers several tax-free forgiveness programs, meaning that it won’t affect your taxes. If you’re unsure, reach out to a tax specialist.
Are North Carolina student loans forgiven after 10 years?
Not necessarily. However, you might be eligible for several North Carolina and federal programs after working at an eligible job for 10 years or less.
What happens if I switch jobs before my service requirement is up?
It depends on the forgiveness program. In some cases, you might be required to return part of the funds you received. In others, you’re required to pay off your loans in full as if you had never entered the forgiveness program.
Most North Carolina programs require you to sign an agreement pledging to work at an eligible job for a specific amount of time — avoid enrolling if you aren’t sure you can keep this commitment.
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