Massachusetts Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

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Updated on June 1, 2023

In a time when college costs are going through the roof, the promise of student loan forgiveness has given millions of Americans hope but also a lot of worry because it’s unclear what will happen. Still, it’s a subject that has sparked heated discussion nationwide.

In Massachusetts, the story is different.

Recent data from the Education Department reveals a promising uptick in loan forgiveness. The temporary changes introduced by the Biden-Harris Administration have eased the path for borrowers, resulting in a surge of approvals for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

In fact, since October 2021, more than 13,200 borrowers in Massachusetts have seen nearly $859 million in loan forgiveness, an average of over $64,000 per borrower.

Also, one in nine people in Massachusetts could get help with their student loan debt under President Biden’s plan, which is on hold while the Supreme Court decides if it is legal.

Despite this optimism at the federal level, Massachusetts only offers a single loan forgiveness program of its own, the Massachusetts Loan Repayment Program for Health Professionals.

Related: State-Based Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

Massachusetts Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

The Bay State offers only one student loan forgiveness program: The Massachusetts Loan Repayment Program for Health Professionals.

This unique program seeks to address the demonstrable need for qualified health professionals in certain communities. These areas often include rural regions or communities that are socioeconomically challenged.

The program offers loan repayment assistance to attract primary care physicians to these areas. Physicians who meet certain criteria, such as holding a current, unrestricted license to provide care in Massachusetts and demonstrating a financial need for loan assistance, can qualify for this program.

Despite its existence, it’s worth noting that this program serves a specific demographic: health professionals. Many Massachusetts students and graduates outside of this field may find their student loan forgiveness options limited at the state level.

Though the Massachusetts Loan Repayment Program for Health Professionals is a significant tool in attracting and retaining essential healthcare providers in underserved areas for a broader cross-section of borrowers, the gaze will inevitably shift towards federal programs for student loan relief.

What Federal Relief Exists for Your Student Loan Debt?

There’s good news for Mass residents 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.

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

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.

Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan

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

This program could wipe out up to $20,000 of debt for Pell Grant winners who meet certain income requirements and up to $10,000 of debt for other eligible borrowers with federally held loans.

Don’t forget.

Due to a case in the Supreme Court, the filing process is on hold right now.

But don’t worry.

The Biden government has put a hold on loan payments and frozen interest rates because of the pandemic.

The statistics from the Department of Education show that a large number of people in Massachusetts could benefit from these federal programs that forgive student loans.

The Supreme Court will now make the final choice. So, the outcome is still uncertain, but these government programs give people in Massachusetts hope for big help with their student loans.

Bottom Line

It may seem like there aren’t many options for getting student loans forgiven in Massachusetts since the state only has one program for health workers. But the wave of government loan forgiveness through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program has greatly helped many borrowers in the state.

It’s critical to stay abreast of all developments at both state and federal levels. Regulations can change, funding may be released, and new programs could emerge. To ensure you don’t miss out on potential student loan forgiveness opportunities, consider subscribing to our newsletter.

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