Minnesota Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

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Updated on May 14, 2023

Minnesota’s student loan debt totals $26.5 billion, affecting over 788,600 residents. With an average debt of $33,604 per borrower, many need financial help.

This article explores federal and state-specific loan forgiveness programs in Minnesota.

These aid a range of professionals, including health workers and teachers. While President Biden’s debt cancellation plan is still pending, there are other routes Minnesotans can take to ease their student debt.

Read on to learn about these opportunities and make 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 Minnesotans 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’re working full-time in a public service job (think government agencies, public schools, or nonprofits).

The goal: Make 120 qualifying payments while employed full-time by a qualifying employer, 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 been repaying your federal student loans for 20 years or more, you could see your outstanding balance automatically wiped clean. This relief comes courtesy of an updated Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) account adjustment introduced in April 2022.

Do note, however, if you have FFEL or Perkins Loans, you may need to consolidate into a Direct Consolidation Loan. But don’t worry — you can do this for free on the Federal Student Aid website, StudentAid.gov. Just remember, those who refinanced their federal loans with private lenders won’t be eligible 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 Cancellation 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 Minnesotans.

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 Minnesotans 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 a glimmer of hope for substantial student loan relief for Minnesotans.

Dedicated to Minnesota? Explore State-Specific Loan Forgiveness Programs

In Minnesota, lawmakers have created several state-specific programs to alleviate the burden of educational debt for residents working in various professions or certain geographic regions. These programs are a form of financial aid and represent a real commitment to student debt relief.

Health Professional Education Loan Forgiveness Program

Administered by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), this program supports health professionals such as nurse practitioners, dentists, and mental health professionals serving in areas with a shortage of healthcare providers, including rural areas outside the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Qualified applicants can receive loan repayment assistance, the amount of which varies based on the availability of funds and individual circumstances. The Office of Rural Health and Primary Care (ORHPC) assists in managing this program.

Minnesota State Loan Repayment Program

Another initiative by the MDH and ORHPC, this program assists healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, who agree to serve in designated shortage areas. Specific details about the amount and duration of assistance are determined on a case-by-case basis, with loan servicers coordinating monthly payment adjustments.

Large Animal Veterinarian Loan Forgiveness Program

Managed by the MDH, under an interagency agreement with the Office of Higher Education (OHE), this program provides aid to vets working with large animals in rural areas. Vets must obtain proper licensure and can receive up to $15,000 per year for up to five years.

Teacher Shortage Loan Forgiveness Program

Administered by OHE, this program offers financial assistance to educators teaching in a teacher-shortage area, helping to alleviate their monthly student loan payments. Eligible teachers can receive up to $1,000 per year for a maximum of five years.

Agricultural Education Loan Forgiveness Program

This OHE-administered initiative provides relief to individuals committed to farming in Minnesota for at least five years. Successful applicants can receive up to $5,000 per year for up to five years. It’s part of the state’s efforts to provide student loan payment relief.

Aviation Degree Loan Forgiveness Program

Also run by OHE, this program supports graduates with aviation degrees who commit to work in Minnesota. The amount of assistance varies and is determined on an individual basis. It’s a great option for those looking into refinancing their educational debt.

John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program

Although not state-funded, this federally funded program is administered by OHE. It provides loan repayment assistance for public defenders and prosecutors in Minnesota. The rules, including the amount of assistance, are established in federal law.

In addition to these state-based programs, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program offers repayment assistance for health professionals. This federal program is available to Minnesotans and is governed by the federal Public Health Service Act.

Will Loan Forgiveness Affect Your Minnesota Taxes?

In the context of student loan forgiveness, a pertinent question for Minnesotans is, “Does Minnesota tax student loan forgiveness?” The answer isn’t straightforward and is tied to the specifics of the loan forgiveness program.

Federally Taxable Loans and Minnesota Taxes

If you have education loans discharged that are federally taxable, you can subtract the discharged amount from your income on your Minnesota return. Consequently, you wouldn’t pay Minnesota income tax on the forgiven amount. The types of student loans that may qualify for this subtraction include:

  • Loans discharged through Minnesota’s Teacher Shortage Loan Repayment Program

  • Loans forgiven under income-based repayment plans

  • Loans forgiven under income-contingent repayment plans

  • Loans discharged under the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) or Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) programs

Potential Tax Implications of Biden’s Executive Order

But with the recent executive order by President Biden that could forgive a significant amount in student loan debt, new complexities have emerged.

According to the Minnesota Department of Revenue, Minnesota tax law currently does not align with federal law concerning student debt relief. T

This means any forgiven amount could be considered taxable income by the state.

The Role of the Minnesota Legislature

This discrepancy may be addressed in the future. The Minnesota legislature can rectify this by passing tax conformity legislation.

A bill attempting to bring state and federal tax laws into alignment over student debt relief gained bipartisan support last year but ultimately failed to pass.

Senator Carla Nelson, chair of the Senate Tax Committee, has indicated her intent to advocate for such a bill in the forthcoming legislative session.

Advice for Minnesota Residents

In the interim, Minnesota residents who qualify for student loan forgiveness should be prepared for potential tax implications.

As per accountant Scott Kadrlick’s advice, Minnesotans should wait to file their state tax return until the Minnesota legislature provides clearer guidelines.

In past instances, the state of Minnesota has rectified such discrepancies retroactively, even issuing automatic refunds in cases of tax overpayment.

Bottom Line

Minnesota offers many 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 Minnesota-focused initiatives remain accessible to eligible borrowers.

Staying on top of the latest in debt cancellation in Minnesota and federally is crucial. 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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