Paying off student loans can be overwhelming and frustrating. Additionally, being in debt can delay the achievement of other life goals, such as starting a business or getting married.
But a lesser-known way to manage debt is to seek help in the form of gifts. There are many student loan aids you can use to pay down your balance.
Assistance in obtaining a diploma in your field of activity
While most scholarships are for people still in school, there are a few opportunities for people working in particular fields. These scholarships can help ease the burden of student loans.
Also, if you leave school with a large loan balance and high monthly payments, scholarships can give you the breathing room to launch your career.
Where to find scholarships
There are many sources of scholarships to repay student loans. The federal government offers several scholarship opportunities through different departments, such as the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
You may also find scholarships for student loan repayment offered by your state. Independent of federal programs, states offer scholarships and incentives to encourage graduates to live and work in areas where there are labor shortages, such as engineering or health care.
Some non-profit organizations also offer scholarships for workers in particular fields. Depending on your career choice, you might find a wide range of options to help you manage your debt.
Grants don’t work the same way as student loans, and you don’t usually have to pay them back.
However, some scholarship programs may provide conditions for maintaining the scholarship. If you do not meet all the conditions, you may lose the full amount of the scholarship or even have to reimburse part of the scholarship you have already received.
Alternatives to Student Loan Repayment Grants
Not everyone will be eligible for grants to repay student loans. Reimbursement scholarships are generally restricted to certain fields and are only offered in particular fields.
But that doesn’t mean you’re out of options. If you’re overwhelmed with your student loans, there are always ways to manage your debt.
Public service loan forgiveness
If you work for the government or a non-profit organization but are not eligible for grants to repay your student loans, you may be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Under this program, after ten years of service and after making eligible payments on your federal student loans, the government returns the remaining balance to you.
And unlike other rebate options, the released balance is not taxable as income, which can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. That said, there are downsides to the PSLF that you need to consider before going down this route.
Income-Based Scholarship Repayment Plans
If you’re struggling to keep up with payments on your current salary and have federal loans, check out income-contingent repayment (IDR) plans. There are four distinct regimes:
Refinancing saves you money over the term of your repayment and gives you more wiggle room in your budget. Use a student loan refinance calculator to see what kind of savings you can achieve from refinancing, and make sure you’re aware of the downsides of refinancing as well.
Managing your student loans
There are many different scholarships available to pay off student loans, which can ease your debt load. Check to see if your area or state offers scholarships to professionals who repay their loans.
For additional sources of help, see our list of 120 Loan Repayment Assistance Programs.