Maine Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

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Updated on May 14, 2023

Maine’s student loan debt totals $6.2 billion, burdening over 187,100 residents. With an average debt of $33,137 per borrower, many are searching for financial relief.

This article delves into both federal and Maine-specific loan forgiveness programs. These programs offer substantial aid to diverse professionals, and while national debt cancellation plans are still under discussion, Mainers have several other options to alleviate their student debt.

The programs we’ll discuss are particularly relevant for younger residents, as over 55.5% of Maine’s indebted borrowers are under 35. Of these borrowers, 16.8% owe less than $5,000, and a larger 23.6% owe between $20,000 and $40,000, with an average debt of $28,345.

Continue reading to uncover these opportunities and take your first step toward financial freedom.

Related: State-Based Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

What Federal Relief Exists for Your Student Loan Debt?

There’s good news for Mainers carrying the weight of federal student loans. Several federal programs, brought to you by the U.S. Department of Education, offer relief based on your income or profession.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

First up is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.

You may qualify if you work full-time in a public service job (think government agencies, public schools, or nonprofits).

The goal: Make 120 qualifying student loan payments while employed full-time by the government, not-for-profit organization, or other qualifying employers, and say goodbye to your Direct Loans.

Income-Driven Repayment Plan Forgiveness Waiver

Next, there’s the Income-Driven Repayment Plan Forgiveness Waiver.

Starting in Spring 2023, if you’ve made monthly payments or been in forbearance or deferment for 20 years or more, you could see your remaining loan balance automatically wiped clean. This relief comes courtesy of an updated Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) account adjustment introduced in April 2022.

Note, if you have FFEL or Perkins Loans, you may need to consolidate into a Direct Consolidation Loan to qualify for the IDR Waiver.

But don’t worry — you can do this for free on the Federal Student Aid website, Refinancing federal loans with private lenders eliminates your eligibility for this relief.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program

Are you a teacher? The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program might be for you.

If you’ve worked full-time for five consecutive years in a low-income school or educational service agency, your federal Direct or Stafford Loans could be forgiven.

Forgiveness amounts can reach up to $17,500 for highly qualified math, science, and special education teachers and up to $5,000 for other eligible teachers.

President Joe Biden’s Broad Debt Relief Plan

Lastly, under President Biden’s student loan relief program, a significant reduction in the remaining balance on education loans could be in the cards for many Maine residents.

This program could erase up to $20,000 of debt for Pell Grant recipients who meet certain income criteria and up to $10,000 for other qualifying borrowers with loans held by the federal government.

Bear in mind.  The application process is currently paused due to a Supreme Court challenge.

But rest assured. The Biden administration has extended the pandemic-related payment pause and interest rate freeze on loan payments.

The Department of Education data shows a considerable number of Mainers stand to benefit from these federal student loan forgiveness programs.

The final decision now rests with the Supreme Court. So, while the outcome remains uncertain, these federal programs offer hope for substantial student loan relief for those in Maine.

Dedicated to Maine? Explore State-Specific Loan Forgiveness Programs

The Finance Authority of Maine, also known as FAME, provides several programs to retain recent college graduates and foster economic growth.

Here are the student loan forgiveness programs that Maine offers to draw and keep professionals in high-demand fields:

  • Maine Dental Education Loan Repayment Program: Offers up to $4,000 per year in repayment assistance to dentists practicing in underserved areas. Eligible dentists must have graduated from a certified dental school within the last five years and must practice full-time in a Dental Health Professional Shortage Area or treat at least 50% of Medicaid patients.

  • Educators for Maine Loan Program: Provides loan forgiveness to educators in high-need areas, including teachers, counselors, specialists, and child-care providers. After graduation, eligible educators must commit to working full-time in an eligible position within Maine’s public or private schools.

  • Maine Health Care Professionals Forgiveness Programs: Offers loan repayment assistance to medical professionals committed to serving high-need areas, including physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and mental health providers. The Health Professions Loan Program and the Maine Veterinary Medicine Loan Program are key initiatives under this category.

  • Alfond Leaders Student Debt Reduction Program: Provides financial assistance for student loans to STEM professionals working full-time in eligible STEM careers at an eligible employer in Maine.

  • University of Maine School of Law Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP): Law school graduates from the University of Maine can qualify for this program. Most awards range from $1,500 to $4,000, with a maximum forgiveness amount of $4,000. Eligibility requires working full-time in a public interest job earning less than $55,000, with continued eligibility until annual income reaches $60,000.

  • Student Loan Repayment Tax Credit (SLRTC): Provides Maine residents with deductions on their taxable income to offset student loan repayments. Borrowers can claim up to $377 per month in tax credits, depending on income level and loan repayment amount.

Proposed Legislation

In addition to these existing programs, new legislation is being proposed to expand student loan forgiveness:

  • Proposed Legislation for Indigent Legal Defenders: Senator Matt Pouliot has proposed a bill to offer loan forgiveness to law graduates serving economically disadvantaged populations. The bill proposes up to $6,000 yearly for five years in repayment assistance to public interest lawyers. Lawmakers approved that bill last April.

  • L.D. 632 – Retaining Social Workers in Maine: This proposed legislation aims to attract and retain social workers by offering student loan forgiveness. It proposes a fund for loan repayment assistance for licensed clinical social workers serving underserved areas or high-need populations.

These loan forgiveness programs, both existing and proposed, reflect Maine’s commitment to professional development in high-need areas and support for residents struggling with student loan debt.

Does the State of Maine Pay Off Student Loans?

Yes, Maine offers a program for student loan repayment known as the Opportunity Maine Tax Credit. To be eligible for this program, you must be a full-time resident of Maine.

This program offers up to $2,500 per year, with a lifetime value of $25,000, as a tax credit on your Maine state tax return.

Eligibility requires:

  • Maine residency during the tax year.

  • Having attended college/university as a Maine resident.

  • Employment with a Maine-based employer during the tax year.

  • Having earned a Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree from an accredited Maine school after 2007. Note: All of your graduating credit hours earned after 2007 must have been from Maine schools.

This tax credit can be applied to offset your State of Maine taxes. If the tax credit exceeds your tax liability, the remaining balance can be used over the following ten tax years.

The Opportunity Maine program began in 2008 as part of the Job Creation through Educational Opportunity program. It offers an income tax credit to Maine resident taxpayers repaying eligible education loans as part of their financial aid package. This covers loans for associate, bachelor’s, or graduate degrees earned from any accredited community college, college, or university after 2007.

To participate, complete the Educational Opportunity Tax Credit Worksheet during your Maine income tax return filing. More information is available at

Bottom Line

Maine offers several state-specific student loan forgiveness programs, providing significant aid to professionals dedicated to their communities. Despite uncertainties around Biden’s federal debt forgiveness plan, these state-focused initiatives remain accessible to eligible borrowers.

Staying on top of the latest in debt cancellation in Maine and federally is key. For the most current insights and opportunities, consider subscribing to our newsletter and make your journey to financial freedom informed and achievable.

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