Student loan forgiveness programs in Texas

How this state can help health professionals, teachers and more save on student debt.

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Texas residents pursuing education or healthcare as a career might want to look into the state’s student loan forgiveness programs. In another profession? Refinancing or federal forgiveness might make more sense.

Physician Education Loan Repayment Program

Physicians working in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), correctional facility or with low-income patients can apply for this forgiveness program. You don’t have to reapply each year, but you’ll have to commit to four years of service to qualify.

Amounts

You can get up to $160,000 forgiven through this four-year program. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • First year: $25,000 or 16% of your debt load — whichever is less
  • Second year: $35,000 or 22% of your debt load — whichever is less
  • Third year: $45,000 or 28% of your debt load — whichever is less
  • Fourth year: $55,000 or 34% of your debt load — whichever is less

Qualifying loans

Any loan issued while in school that was used to pay for the cost of an undergraduate, graduate or medical degree — residency relocation loans aren’t eligible.

Eligibility requirements

To qualify for the Physician Education Loan Repayment Program, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Primary care specialist in an approved field
  • Work in an HPSA, correctional facility, Healthy Texas Women Program or Texas Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) over the past year serving a minimum number of individuals on Medicaid
  • Full physician license from the Texas Medical Board with no restrictions
  • Eligible for a board exam during the first, second or third year of the program if you haven’t already taken it
  • Texas resident
  • US citizen or legal resident
  • Not in default on your current loans

Teach for Texas Loan Repayment Assistance Program

  • Amount: Up to $2,500
  • Qualifying loans: All student loans used to cover undergraduate or graduate education costs.

This repayment assistance program is meant to provide an incentive for teachers to work in short-handed communities or subjects. Applications are currently restricted to teachers who have previously received repayment assistance through the program. However, it might open up to new teachers in the future.

Eligibility requirements

To qualify for this program, you need be a certified teacher in one of the following:

  • Teaching shortage field
  • Teaching shortage community

You also need to have worked in the qualifying field or community for at least a year at a public preschool, elementary, middle or high school in Texas.


Math and Science Scholars Loan Repayment Program

  • Amount: Up to $5,000
  • Qualifying loans: All student loans used to pay for an undergraduate or graduate degree

This program is meant to provide an incentive for teachers with a background in math or science to teach in those fields. You must commit to eight years of teaching in the subject to qualify — and if you leave, you might have to pay back part of the funds.

Eligibility requirements

To qualify for this program, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Certified to teach mathematics or science in a Texas public school
  • Signed a contract to teach math or science at a Title I school
  • Undergraduate or graduate degree in math or science
  • 3.5+ GPA while studying math or science
  • Not on any other federal or state repayment assistance programs
  • US citizen

Loan Repayment Program for Mental Health Professionals

Mental health professionals who work in a Mental Health Professional Shortage Area (MHPSA) or the state prison system can apply for this program. You’re required to pledge to work with patients who receive state medical assistance for five years if you’re accepted.

Amount

The total amount of forgiveness you can qualify for depends on your field:

  • Psychiatrists: $160,000
  • Psychologists and licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, and licensed marriage and family therapists who hold doctoral degrees: $80,000
  • Advanced practice nurses: $60,000
  • Licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, and licensed marriage and family therapists who don’t hold doctoral degrees: $40,000
  • Licensed chemical dependency counselors who hold associates degrees: $10,000

How much you get forgiven also increases each year you enroll in the program:

  • First year: 10% of original loan balance
  • Second year: 15% of original loan balance
  • Third year: 20% of original loan balance
  • Fourth year: 25% of original loan balance
  • Fifth year: 30% of original loan balance

Qualifying loans

Any student loan used to pay for an undergraduate, graduate or professional educational degree. Loans taken out after graduation aren’t eligible — such as residency relocation loans.

Eligibility requirements

To qualify for this program, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Mental health specialist in an approved field
  • Agree to work in either a MHPSA or state prison for the next five years
  • Work with Medicaid or the Texas Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollees
  • Not currently working as a mental health specialist for a student loan, scholarship or repayment assistance program
  • Texas resident
  • US citizen or legal resident
  • Not in default on your current loans

If you’re a psychiatrist, you also need to be eligible for the board certification exam during the first, second or third year of the program if you haven’t already taken it.


Nursing Faculty Loan Repayment Assistance Program

  • Amount: Up to $7,000 over five years
  • Qualifying loans: All student loans

This program is meant to encourage practicing nurses to go into teaching — at least for up to five years. You need to have a graduate-level nursing degree, experience working as a professional nurse and already be working as a nursing professor to apply.

Eligibility requirements

To qualify for this forgiveness program, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Master’s or doctoral degree in nursing
  • Licensed to practice in Texas
  • Worked as a nurse for at least one year
  • Currently working as a full-time faculty member of a nursing program

Rural Communities Health Care Investment Program (RCHIP)

  • Amount: Up to $4,800 per year
  • Qualifying loans: All student loans

The SLRAP is meant to make it affordable for lawyers with large student debt loads to take low-paying jobs at legal aid organizations. There’s no longer a cap on how much you earn, and you can reapply for more forgiveness each year you’re eligible.

Eligibility requirements

To qualify, you must work full time at one of the following:

  • Legal aid program that receives Texas Access to Justice Foundation (TAJF) or Legal Services Corporation funds
  • Nonprofit that provides half of its services to low-income Texans for free.

What if I don’t qualify for any of Texas’s forgiveness programs?

There are several other options that can help you reduce your student debt load, including:

I defaulted on my student loans. What’s the statute of limitations on debt in Texas?

The statute of limitation on debt in Texas is four years. This means your lender or servicer can’t sue you for delinquent student loans after that period is up. However, this only applies to private student loans — federal and state-issued loans are exempt.

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Bottom line

Texas teachers and healthcare professionals might want to look closely at their state student loan forgiveness options. Otherwise, you might not be able to qualify.

Want to learn more about how it all works? Check out our guide to student loans.

Compare student loan forgiveness programs in other states

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