Student Loan Forgiveness in Missouri: How to Get It

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Updated on April 29, 2023

Are you a Missourian grappling with student loan debt and searching for relief?

You’re not alone — millions of Americans face the challenge of repaying their education loans, often feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about their options.

Ahead, we’ll be your compass, guiding you through the latest developments in the legal battle over President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, Missouri state-sponsored programs, and federal loan forgiveness opportunities provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

By the end of this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well-prepared to explore the world of student loan forgiveness and find the relief you’ve been seeking. Let’s dive in!

Related: State Programs for Student Loan Forgiveness

Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

The president’s plan to cancel federal student loan debt for millions of borrowers is in limbo.

This is because the attorney general for Missouri has challenged the plan in court.

Don’t worry, though. We’ll go into more detail about the situation in a bit.

Despite this setback, two federal programs could help you get the relief you need.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

The PSLF program is designed to provide relief to borrowers with Direct Loans who are employed in qualifying public service jobs.

To be eligible, you must make 120 qualifying monthly payments under an approved repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer, such as a government agency, public school, or nonprofit organization.

For those who meet these criteria, the remaining balance on their federal student loans will be forgiven.

Income-Driven Repayment Plan Forgiveness Waiver

Starting in spring 2023, most borrowers who have been paying their federal student loans for 20 years or more will automatically receive relief, allowing the remainder of their debt to be discharged.

This waiver results from a new income-driven repayment account adjustment announced by the Biden administration in April 2022.

The adjustment gives borrowers credit toward IDR forgiveness for time spent in repayment, forbearance, and some periods of deferment.

It’s available to all federal student loan borrowers, but those with FFEL or Perkins Loans may need to consolidate their loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan first.

Missouri State-Sponsored Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

In addition to federal programs, Missouri offers state-sponsored student loan forgiveness and loan repayment options that primarily focus on healthcare professionals, especially those working in underserved areas of the state. Here are those three programs.

Health Professional Nursing Student Loans

Missouri offers Health Professional Nursing Student Loans (NSL) to students who pursue an eligible nursing degree at a Missouri college or university.

Participants who commit to working in a designated Missouri Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) can receive up to $5,000 in annual loan forgiveness.

To be eligible, you must be a Missouri resident for more than a year (excluding time spent attending school), enrolled full-time at a qualifying school, and seeking licensure as a practical or professional nurse.

Program Details: MO Health Professional Nursing Loan Forgiveness

Missouri Health Professional State Loan Repayment Program

The Missouri Health Professional State Loan Repayment Program is a federally-funded initiative administered by state governments, including Missouri.

The program offers up to $50,000 in loan repayment assistance to eligible primary care physicians and dentists with qualifying medical specialties who commit to working for two years in a designated health professional shortage area (HPSA) within Missouri.

To qualify, you must be a Missouri resident, hold a medical license in the state, and agree to a two-year, full-time work commitment.

Program Details: MO Health Professional Student Loan Repayment Program

PRIMO Student Loan Program

The Primary Care Resource Initiative for Missouri (PRIMO) is a state education program designed for Missouri residents pursuing a medical license within the state.

To qualify, applicants must study full-time at an eligible school and pursue a qualifying college degree in dentistry, allopathic medicine, osteopathic medicine, or a degree leading to licensure as a registered dental hygienist.

The PRIMO program requires a service component for financial assistance, with applicants committing to full-time work in a designated underserved area within Missouri.

Loan repayment amounts range from $3,000 to $25,000, depending on factors such as degree, enrollment status, academic years, and number of loans.

The maximum service obligation under PRIMO is five years, and participants must reapply annually for loan repayment assistance.

Program Details: PRIMO Program

President Joe Biden's Broad Debt Cancellation Plan

Now, let’s look at the situation with President Joe Biden’s broad debt cancellation plan.

This plan would have provided up to $20,000 of debt cancellation for Pell Grant recipients who meet certain income criteria and up to $10,000 for others who meet the eligibility requirements.

Unfortunately, this relief application is on hold while the Supreme Court evaluates the plan’s legality. Weeks after being announced, the proposal faced legal obstacles and resistance from Republican lawmakers and attorneys general in states like Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Carolina.

These opponents claim that the student debt relief plan breaches the Constitution and federal law, in part because it bypasses Congress, which they argue holds the authority to enact laws related to student loan forgiveness.

The Biden administration pushed back, saying its authority comes from a 2003 law called the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act, known as the HEROES Act. The law, which is the same one President Trump used to freeze interest rates and pause student loan payments at the start of the pandemic, states that the government can provide relief to recipients of student loans when there is a “national emergency.

Though initially dismissed by a lower court judge in St. Louis, the legal challenge against the White House initiative was successful on appeal, temporarily halting the program. This means the debt cancellation plan is currently paused, pending further action from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Why is Missouri against student loan forgiveness?

Missouri’s opposition to student loan forgiveness primarily stems from concerns over the state’s legal standing and the potential financial impact on the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA).

The state, supported by Republican officials, believes it has the legal standing to challenge President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan because of MOHELA’s role in servicing student loan debt.

They argue that if loans were forgiven, MOHELA could suffer significant financial losses.

Additionally, Missouri’s opposition to the plan may be influenced by political factors, with the state’s Republican officials disagreeing with the Biden administration’s approach to addressing student loan debt.

MOHELA’s Involvement in Missouri’s Legal Argument

The Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA), a student loan servicer in the St Louis area, plays a pivotal role in the ongoing legal dispute surrounding Biden’s debt forgiveness initiative. MOHELA manages financial aid for millions of borrowers.

The state of Missouri asserts its legal standing to contest the Biden plan, citing MOHELA’s involvement in servicing student loan debt and the potential financial losses it could incur if loans were canceled.

Grasping the Significance of Legal Standing

Legal standing is a key element in the U.S. Supreme Court and appeals court decisions regarding Biden’s student loan forgiveness proposal.

If the courts determine that Missouri or any other challengers have standing, the conservative majority will probably deem the program unlawful.

Such a decision would impact millions of Americans, including college students, who stand to gain from student loan relief.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, navigating the world of student loan forgiveness can be challenging, but armed with the knowledge provided above, you’re now better equipped to explore your options and take control of your financial future.

If you found this information helpful and would like to stay updated on the latest news, insights, and opportunities related to student loan forgiveness, don’t hesitate to take the next step: subscribe to our newsletter for regular updates right in your inbox.


Does Missouri tax student loan forgiveness?

Missouri does not tax student loan forgiveness, as the state’s Department of Revenue confirmed.

This decision follows President Joe Biden’s move to forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt for many borrowers.

Since the IRS has announced that loan forgiveness is not taxable at the federal level, Missouri’s adjusted gross income, which is based on the federal adjusted gross income, also remains untaxed.

As a result, forgiven student loan debt does not appear in the adjusted gross income and is not subject to taxation in Missouri.

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