The state of Maine is home to only 1.3 million people. But this small state offers an impressive number of Maine student loan assistance programs for residents.
The officials at the Finance Authority of Maine believe that offering many student debt relief options to Maine residents will help the state attract talented younger workers. This has resulted in Maine becoming one of the most borrower-friendly states for young people with student loans.
So if you live in Maine and are wondering how to make your student loans more manageable, check out these Maine student loan forgiveness programs.
Note: In addition to the Maine student loan assistance programs listed below, the Educational Opportunity Tax Credit Program (also called the Opportunity Maine Tax Credit) can help student loan borrowers save on state taxes.
Maine Dental Education Loan Repayment Program
Maximum forgiveness amount: Up to $80,000
Are you a dentist working in an underserved area in Maine? You may be eligible for student loan forgiveness through the Maine Dental Education Loan Repayment Program. To qualify, dentists must be licensed in Maine. Additionally, you have to be employed at a qualifying dental facility. You must serve all patients and not partake in any other program funded by the National Health Service Corps.
The primary dental care facility needs to meet certain requirements, which includes being in an underserved area. Also, it must accept student loan payments on a sliding scale as well as through MaineCare.
Undergraduate and graduate loans are both eligible for this program. You must commit to a two-year contract and may receive up to $20,000 each year. The maximum award is $80,000 total.
Educators for Maine Loan Forgiveness Program
Maximum forgiveness amount: One or two years of loans forgiven
Educators may be eligible for teacher loan forgiveness in Maine and get up to one or two years’ worth of loan payments forgiven. To qualify for the Educators for Maine Loan Forgiveness program, you need to be certified by the Maine Department of Education and work at a qualifying school.
You must provide your teaching services in certain fields, including but not limited to the following:
- Elementary or secondary school teacher
- Employee in a specialized subject or at a vocational school
- Industrial arts teacher
- Classroom teacher
- Special education teacher
- Speech pathologist
Jobs for Maine’s Graduates specialists and some child-care providers are also eligible for this program. Whether you get one or two years of loans forgiven will depend on working in an underserved subject area.
Maine Health Professions Loan Forgiveness
Maximum forgiveness amount: Potentially up to a total of $100,000
If you’re a health professional in Maine, you may be eligible for student loan forgiveness through the Maine Health Professions Loan Forgiveness Program. There are two different provisions based on when you took out your loans — either before Jan. 1, 2011 or after. For loans made before Jan. 1, 2011, the amount of student loan forgiveness you qualify for will depend on the type of profession.
For example, physicians practicing in underserved areas may be eligible for 50% of the original loan amount being forgiven during each year of the practice. On the other hand, health professionals working in general primary health care or general dentistry (not in a shortage area) are eligible for either 25% of the original loan amount or $7,500 each year, whichever is greater.
Health professionals who took out a loan after Jan. 1, 2011 may be eligible for $25,000 each year, up to a total of $100,000.
Maine Veterinary Medicine Loan Program
Maximum forgiveness amount: Up to $100,000
If you’re a student who wants to pursue being a veterinarian in Maine, you may be eligible for a forgivable loan through the Maine Veterinary Medicine Loan Program. In order to qualify, you must be a Maine resident for two years prior to matriculation at a veterinary school or currently attending a veterinary school. Additionally, those interested in working with livestock veterinary care may qualify as well. You must have started school after Jan. 1, 2011.
You may qualify for $25,000 each year, up to a maximum of $100,000 over a period of four years. This money is paid directly to your school.
Maximum forgiveness amount: Up to $60,000
Maine residents with STEM majors who choose to work at an eligible employer in Maine may qualify for the Alfond Leaders Maine student loan assistance program. Eligible candidates can get up to half of their loan balance forgiven — up to $60,000. Undergraduate, graduate and refinanced loans are eligible for this program. Parent loans don’t qualify.
University of Maine School of Law Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP)
Maximum forgiveness amount: $3,000
The University of Maine offers a loan repayment programs for its law school graduates. The program is funded by donations to its endowment fund. The LRAP guidelines page says that most awards range from $1,500 to $3,000.
In order to be considered for the program, attorneys and lawyers must be working full-time in a public interest job earning less than $50,000. And program participants can retain their eligibility until their annual income reaches $55,000.
Federal student loan forgiveness programs
What if you live in Maine but don’t qualify for Maine student loan forgiveness programs or Maine student loan assistance? There are two other federal student loan forgiveness programs you might qualify for.
Federal student loan borrowers may be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program if they work for a state or not-for-profit organization for 10 years and make 120 payments. You won’t have to pay any taxes on the forgiven amount, either. Note that FFEL Loans and Perkins Loans aren’t eligible for PSLF but can become eligible if consolidated into a Direct Consolidation Loan.
Another option is student loan forgiveness under an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. Under an IDR plan, you pay 10% to 20% of your discretionary income for 20 to 25 years, based on the plan. If there’s a remaining balance after that, your loans will be forgiven. Unlike PSLF, you’ll be expected to pay taxes on the forgiven amount.
Unfortunately, these programs aren’t available for private student loan borrowers. For private or federal loan borrowers looking to save money, refinancing your student loans is another option. Through refinancing, you can slash your interest rate and save money in the long run by paying down the principal faster. This can be a good option, but if you have federal loans, you’ll give up protections like forgiveness and income-driven repayment.
Need help paying back your loans or figuring out a plan? Get in touch with us!