Are you drowning in student loan debt and wondering if there’s a way out? If you’re a Florida resident, you’re in luck!
Imagine finally breaking free from the shackles of student loan debt and moving towards a brighter, more secure financial future. With several student loan forgiveness programs available to Floridians, this dream can become a reality — if you meet the eligibility requirements.
Ahead, you’ll discover an array of loan forgiveness options, including Florida’s state-specific initiatives like the Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) for lawyers and the Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program (NSLFP) for nurses.
We’ll also explore programs available to eligible Americans nationwide, including the latest debt relief and forgiveness plans introduced by the Biden administration during the pandemic.
Student loan forgiveness refers to the cancellation or discharge of a borrower’s student loan, either partially or entirely.
Offered through designated programs with specific conditions, forgiveness aims to help graduates and parents who’ve taken loans for higher education. These programs alleviate student loan debt burdens and encourage borrowers to work in particular fields or industries, often in underserved areas.
For example, a teacher may receive loan forgiveness for working in a low-income school district, helping to reduce their debt while also providing essential educational services to the community. Alternatively, a borrower enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan could qualify for forgiveness after making payments for 20 or more years, offering long-term financial relief.
Various student loan forgiveness programs are available, depending on the loan type and specific conditions borrowers need to meet.
The two main categories of loans eligible for forgiveness include:
Federal student loans, which the U.S. Department of Education offers, typically have lower interest rates and more flexible repayment options compared to private loans.
Florida borrowers, like those in other states, can qualify for programs such as Teacher Loan Forgiveness, Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Plans, and Military Service Loan Forgiveness Programs.
Each program has distinct eligibility criteria and forgiveness terms.
Florida Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP). Eligible lawyers in Florida can receive up to $5,000 each year as a forgivable loan through the Florida LRAP. To qualify, applicants must be employed full-time or half-time at an eligible civil aid organization that receives a grant from the Florida Bar Foundation. Borrowers must be in good standing with the bar and meet all other requirements.
For more information and application details, visit The Florida Bar Foundation.
Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program (NSLFP). The Florida NSLFP, which started in 1989, offers up to $4,000 in student loan forgiveness for up to four years to qualified nurses working in shortage areas. Eligible applicants include licensed practical nurses (LPN), registered nurses (RN), and advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNP). Loans must be for nursing education, and applicants must work full-time at a qualified site.
Qualified employing institutions include:
The Department of Health
State of Florida medical and healthcare facilities
Federally-sponsored community health centers
Family practice teaching hospitals
Specialty hospitals for children
Other designated facilities
Loan forgiveness payments under the NSLFP will be made directly to your lender at the end of each 12-month service period.
To learn more about the NSLFP, visit the program’s official website or contact the Florida Department of Health for more information.
Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Programs for Florida Residents
1. President Joe Biden’s Nationwide Forgiveness Program
Income limits: Individuals with an annual income during the pandemic under $125,000 or married couples/heads of households with an income under $250,000 may be eligible for (1) Up to $20,000 in federal student loan cancellation for Pell Grant recipients; or (2) Up to $10,000 in federal student loan cancellation if they did not receive a Pell Grant.
Qualifying time period: Forgiveness applies only to loans taken before July 2022.
Loan types: Only federally held student loans are eligible. This excludes some Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) and most Perkins loans.
Forgiveness amounts and application process:
If Biden’s plan survives legal challenges, eligible borrowers can submit an application via the Federal Student Aid website.
Forgiveness is automatic for many borrowers, requiring only basic personal information.
Borrowers can request a refund for any payments made on federally held student loans during the payment pause (starting March 13, 2020), ensuring they receive the full $10,000 or $20,000 refund without penalty.
2. Income-Driven Repayment Account Adjustment
Starting in spring 2023, borrowers who have been paying their federal student loans for 20 years or longer will see their remaining debt discharged under the IDR Waiver.
Millions more will move significantly closer to forgiveness when their accounts are updated in 2024.
Forgiveness amounts and duration:
The IDR account adjustment allows every month spent in student loan repayment or on pause — regardless of whether any student loan payments were made — since leaving school to count toward forgiveness, applied one time only.
About 40,000 borrowers with older loans will see their balances wiped clean starting in spring 2023, and over 3.6 million borrowers are expected to receive at least three years of more credit toward IDR forgiveness.
3. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program
Work full-time for a qualifying public service organization, such as the federal government, a non-profit organization, or a state university like the University of Florida.
Make 120 qualifying payments under a qualifying repayment plan. Payments do not have to be consecutive but must be made on time.
Forgiveness amounts and duration:
After making 120 qualifying monthly payments, borrowers can apply for PSLF to have the remaining balance of their Direct Loans, including Parent PLUS Loans, forgiven.
The forgiven amount is not considered taxable income.
4. Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
Teachers must work full-time for five consecutive academic years in a low-income school or educational service agency.
Must have taken out their federal Direct or Stafford Loans after October 1, 1998.
Forgiveness amounts and duration:
Highly qualified math and science teachers in secondary schools and special education teachers can receive up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness.
Other eligible teachers may receive up to $5,000.
Forgiveness is granted after completing the required five consecutive years of teaching service.
5. Military Service Loan Forgiveness Programs
Various programs are available for eligible military service members, including the Army Loan Repayment Program (ALRP), the Navy Loan Repayment Program (NLRP), and the National Guard Loan Repayment Program (NGLRP).