Pennsylvania Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

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Updated on May 6, 2023

Are you among the 1.822 million Pennsylvanians grappling with student loan debt? Don’t worry – help is available. Despite the state’s staggering $64.5 billion in student loan debts, various federal and state forgiveness programs offer relief to borrowers seeking a way out.

With an average debt per borrower of $35,385, Pennsylvania ranks 24th in the nation for the largest average student debt per borrower. Over 58% of these borrowers are under age 35, and 14.06% of the state’s population holds student debt.

While President Biden’s debt cancellation plan remains on hold due to legal challenges and awaits a Supreme Court decision, you can still take advantage of other federal forgiveness programs and state-based initiatives to alleviate your debt burden.

Ahead we’ll explore federal programs and state-specific student loan forgiveness opportunities tailored to Pennsylvania residents, helping you work towards financial freedom.

Related: State-Based Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Programs for Pennsylvania Residents

Before exploring Pennsylvania state-specific programs, let’s discuss the federal student loan forgiveness programs offered by the U.S. Department of Education to all Americans. These programs provide relief for federal loans based on factors such as your profession or income.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

The PSLF Program is designed for individuals with Direct Loans working in qualifying public service jobs. To be eligible, borrowers must make 120 qualifying payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer, such as a government agency, public school, or nonprofit organization.

Income-Driven Repayment Plan Forgiveness Waiver

Beginning in Spring 2023, a substantial portion of borrowers with federal student loans that have been in repayment for 20 years or longer will automatically obtain relief, allowing the outstanding balance of their debt to be discharged.

This notable change results from an updated Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) account adjustment introduced by the Department of Education in April 2022.

The update awards borrowers credit towards income-based repayment forgiveness by factoring in time spent in repayment, forbearance, and select deferment periods, making the total number of monthly payments made no longer relevant.

While the adjustment is available to all federal student loan borrowers, those holding FFEL or Perkins Loans may be required to consolidate their loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan. To facilitate this process, borrowers can effortlessly consolidate their loans free of charge on the Federal Student Aid website,

Those who refinanced their federal loans with private lenders aren’t eligible for relief. Sadly, private student loan forgiveness options are limited.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program

Eligibility criteria include working full-time for five consecutive years in a low-income school or educational service agency and taking out federal Direct or Stafford Loans after October 1, 1998. Forgiveness amounts vary, with 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

The Biden administration’s student loan relief program aims to significantly reduce the remaining balance on education loans for millions of borrowers. This plan proposes eliminating up to $20,000 of debt for Pell Grant recipients who meet income criteria and up to $10,000 for other qualifying borrowers with loans held by the federal government.

New data from the Department of Education reveals that nearly 1.2 million Pennsylvania residents applied or were automatically eligible for federal student loan relief under this initiative, which targets borrowers earning less than $125,000 annually.

The application process is currently on hold as the Supreme Court assesses the program’s legality following a challenge by six Republican attorney generals. In the meantime, the Biden administration has extended the pandemic-related payment pause and interest rate freeze on loan payments.

Key findings from the data, covering applications between Oct. 14 and Nov. 11, include:

  • An estimated 1.79 million Pennsylvanians were eligible for relief, with 1.15 million applying or automatically qualifying.

  • 742,300 Pennsylvania residents received full approval for student loan repayment relief.

  • Pennsylvania’s District 3 (Philadelphia) had the highest number of applicants (96,800), while District 15 had the lowest (52,000).

  • In districts with more registered Democrats than Republicans, 65% of eligible borrowers applied, compared to 63% in Republican-majority districts.

  • Lower-income districts saw higher approval rates for applicants than wealthier areas.

  • Nonwhite majority congressional districts in Pennsylvania had more forgiveness applications per capita than majority-white districts.

The outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision remains uncertain, but these statistics underscore the potential impact of the student loan relief plan on Pennsylvania’s borrowers.

Unlock Financial Relief with Pennsylvania Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

Pennsylvania offers various student loan forgiveness programs designed to support professionals in healthcare, education, legal services, and other sectors. By participating in these programs, you can give back to your community while receiving financial assistance to pay off your student loans. Let’s explore some of the programs available to Pennsylvania residents.

Healthcare Professionals: Strengthening Underserved Communities

The Pennsylvania Primary Care Loan Repayment Program (PCLRP) is a state-funded initiative that supports healthcare workers in rural and underserved areas throughout Pennsylvania. Eligible professionals can apply for loan forgiveness to help alleviate their student loan burdens.

Here are the loan forgiveness opportunities available for different healthcare roles:

  1. Physicians and Dentists: Licensed physicians and dentists practicing full-time in designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) can receive up to $100,000 in loan forgiveness for a two-year service commitment.

  2. Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners (CRNP) and Physician Assistants (PA): Full-time CRNPs and PAs practicing in designated HPSAs are eligible for up to $60,000 in loan forgiveness for a two-year service commitment.

  3. Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM): Full-time CNMs working in designated HPSAs can receive up to $40,000 in loan forgiveness for a two-year service commitment.

  4. Registered Dental Hygienists (RDH): Licensed RDHs practicing full-time in designated HPSAs can obtain up to $40,000 in loan forgiveness for a two-year service commitment.

Related: PA Nurse Student Loan Forgiveness

Education Professionals: Empowering Pennsylvania’s Future

The Pennsylvania Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program (PTLFP) aims to attract and retain highly qualified teachers in low-income schools and subject areas with critical shortages. Eligible teachers can receive up to $3,500 in loan forgiveness per year, with a maximum of $14,000 over four years.

Legal Professionals: Advocating for Justice

The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation – PA IOLTA Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) offers financial assistance to public interest attorneys who work for qualifying Pennsylvania civil legal aid organizations.

Eligible attorneys can receive up to $3,500 in loan forgiveness per year, with a maximum of $14,000 over four years.

Bottom Line

Many state-specific student loan forgiveness programs are available to taxpayers and professionals in Pennslyvania. These programs offer crucial financial relief and support to those who qualify and are dedicated to serving their communities.

While the outcome of Biden’s debt forgiveness plan for millions of borrowers with federal student loan debt is still unclear, it’s important to remember that these state-specific programs remain accessible to eligible borrowers in Pennsylvania.

Stay up-to-date with the latest developments in debt cancellation, both in Pennsylvania and at the federal level, and seize the opportunities available. Enhance your understanding of these programs and make informed decisions by subscribing to our newsletter today.

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