Maine is home to only 1.3 million people but offers a number of student loan forgiveness programs for residents. 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.
Maine Dental Education Loan Repayment Program
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 dental facility in an underserved area. You must serve all patients and not partake in any other program funded by the National Health Service Corps.
The dental care facility needs to meet certain requirements, which includes being in an underserved area. Also, it must accept 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.
Maine Bar Foundation Loan Repayment
Forgiveness amount: $5,000
The Maine Bar Foundation offers a loan repayment program that offers lawyers working with legal aid programs in Maine student loan assistance. Attorneys who work at a qualifying organization could be eligible for the program for up to 10 years.
You may be eligible for up to $5,000. The amount you receive will be determined based on a percentage of your outstanding debt and can change each year depending on funding.
Educators for Maine Loan Forgiveness Program
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 be employed 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
- 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
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
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.
Forgiveness amount: Up to $60,000
Maine residents working in a STEM occupation at an eligible Maine-based employer may be eligible 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.
Pending Maine student loan forgiveness programs
Earlier this year, legislation was introduced to forgive student loans for Maine residents who live and work in the state for five years. The bill was created in an effort to draw young workers to the state. So far, it has only been introduced, though, and has not passed.
While it isn’t exactly student loan forgiveness, there’s also the Opportunity Maine Tax Credit, which reimburses student loan payments for borrowers who reside and work in Maine. You must have graduated in 2008 or after to qualify for the credit, with provisions based on the year. How much you qualify for depends on your degree and the year you graduated.
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 in the public sector for 10 years and make 120 payments. You won’t have to pay any taxes on the forgiven amount, either.
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!