So, you want to get rid of your student loan debt. Large monthly payments be stressful and cause anxiety in your daily life. If you live in the state of Ohio where the average student debt is $32,195, you may feel this pressure. However, residents of Ohio have options for student loan forgiveness specific to their state.
Student loan forgiveness in Ohio
Ohio offers state-specific student loan forgiveness and student loan repayment options. However, these are primarily aimed at student loan borrowers who serve the community. This includes Ohio student loan forgiveness programs for doctors, dentists and lawyers.
Here’s a look at the student loan forgiveness and loan repayment programs available, along with eligibility requirements.
1. Ohio State Loan Repayment Program
The Ohio Department of Health State Loan Repayment Program offers loan repayment for primary care, mental health and dental providers. You must work in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or a state-designated Health Resource Shortage Area (HRSA) to be eligible for this program.
There’s a minimum two-year service contract with the option to extend to a third and fourth year if funds are available. You can receive up to $50,000 of student loan repayment for full-time work on a two-year contract. If you opt for part-time work, you can receive up to $25,000 of student loan repayment for a two-year contract.
Years three and four have a maximum award of $35,000 per year.
2. Ohio Physician Student Loan Repayment Program
Everywhere needs primary care physicians. This Ohio student loan repayment program acts as an incentive to get the proper care to underserved populations. The Ohio Physician Loan Repayment Program is available to primary care physicians with any of the following specialties:
- Family Practice
- General Internal Medicine
- Internal Medicine/Pediatrics
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- General Pediatrics
- Adolescent Medicine
- Psychiatry (General, Child and Adolescent, Geriatric)
You’ll commit to a two-year service contract and must work in a designated HPSA or HRSA. In exchange, you can receive up to $25,000 of annual student loan repayment for full-time work.
Those who choose to work part-time can be eligible for $12,500 of annual student loan repayment. Your contract may be extended for a third and fourth year, with the potential to receive $35,000 of student loan repayment for each of those years.
3. National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program in Ohio
Licensed primary care clinicians in eligible disciplines can apply for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program within the state of Ohio. Once again, you must work in a HPSA within Ohio for the required two-year contract period.
You can receive up to $50,000 of student loan repayment for full-time work. However, the award amount isn’t set in stone and depends on the needs of the site. Generally, the more high-need the site is, the more you can receive in student loan repayment.
Part-time work is also an option for this loan forgiveness program. The amount will be determined in the same way but won’t exceed $25,000 for two years. An extension may be offered on a yearly basis after the two-year contract. It’s possible to eliminate all of your student loans with continuation contracts, which are given with discretion.
4. Students to Service Ohio Loan Repayment Program
The NHSC has a second loan repayment option for Ohio residents. The NHSC Students to Service Loan Repayment Program provides loan repayment for students currently pursuing a degree. You must be pursuing a degree in allopathic or osteopathic medicine to be eligible.
This student loan repayment program is generous, with students able to receive up to $120,000. This is given in annual installments during the contract period. You’ll agree to work full-time in a high-need HPSA for four years to receive this funding.
It’s possible to receive complete student loan forgiveness with this program if you sign an extension contract and apply for additional forgiveness. However, there’s no guarantee of this option as decisions are made annually based on current funding.
You’ll apply for the NHSC Students to Service Loan Repayment Program before your final year in medical school. You must be a full-time student when applying.
5. John R. Justice Loan Repayment Program
The John R. Justice (JRJ) Student Loan Repayment Program provides loan repayment assistance for lawyers. You must be a state or federal public defender or prosecutor who is continually licensed in Ohio to practice law. When entering into this program, you agree to remain employed as a public defender and prosecutor for at least three years.
Your federal student loans must be in good standing to receive education loan repayment funds. You can’t use these funds for Parent PLUS Loans or private loans. The amount you can receive is on a case-by-case basis.
Each state receives an award with a certain amount to distribute to participants. You’ll want to contact your Ohio state program manager to get accurate numbers and application details.
Check the Ohio Higher Education website for updates to this loan repayment program.
6. Ohio Dentist Loan Repayment Program
This program aims to place qualified dentists in areas of need within the state of Ohio. Dentists who participate in the Ohio Dentist Loan Repayment Program agree to serve at a designated Dental Health Professional Shortage Area (DHPSA) or Dental Health Resource Shortage Area (DHRSA), as determined by the Ohio Department of Health.
Applicants can be in any of the following stages in their career:
- Dental students in the final year of dental school
- Dental residents in their final year of residency
- Currently practicing general or pediatric dentists
You’ll agree to serve full time for two years at your designated facility. For full-time service, you can get up to $25,000 of student loan repayment annually. If you receive a continuation contract for a third and fourth year, you may be eligible for up to $35,000 of loan repayment for each year.
The amount of loan repayment you can receive will vary with both your qualifications and the funding for the year. Part-time work is also an option. Part-time participants can receive half the amount a full-time participant could.
7. Nurse Education Assistance Loan Program
The Nurse Education Assistance Loan Program (NEALP) benefits Ohio students enrolled at least half time in an approved Ohio nurse education program. Due to the amount of funding, this loan program is only available to future nurse instructors and Registered Nurses (RNs) at this time.
The loan award amount varies based on funding. Loan cancellation after graduation is awarded annually to applicants. To qualify for complete loan cancellation, you must be a full-time RN or licensed practical nurse in the state of Ohio for at least five years after graduation.
You need to reapply every year for NEALP loans. In addition, you must submit a recertification form annually once you enter your five years of service.
8. Ohio scholarships and grants
If you’re currently a student, you have options for avoiding student loans altogether. Ohio has several state-specific scholarships and grants you can apply for. The Ohio Department of Higher Education keeps an updated list of scholarships and grants available for students. Some of the more prominent ones are the:
Along with these funding options, Ohio offers exceptional in-state tuition rates and scholarships for those whose parents have fallen in the line of duty. To get started, check out the Ohio Scholarship search website.
If you’re no longer a student, you’ll want to compare the loan repayment programs with federal student loan forgiveness options before enrolling in a service contract.
Federal student loan forgiveness programs for Ohio residents
There are federal student loan forgiveness options available that may be a better fit for your career and life. The main programs through the U.S. Department of Education that you’ll want to research are:
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF)
- Income-driven repayment
- Teacher Loan Forgiveness
- Perkins Loan cancellation
Each of these programs comes with specific terms and an application process. For example, PSLF requires 120 qualifying payments while working for a public employer or nonprofit organization.
The main difference between federal government programs like these and the ones listed above is the service contract requirement. With federal forgiveness programs, you enter a repayment plan and must recertify annually to stay eligible for the student loan forgiveness program.
That said, federal student loan forgiveness programs span five to 25 years of student loan payments, depending on which one you enter. In this case, the state-specific programs can be worth your time and effort for the years of service.
If you have private student loans, you’ll want to take an entirely different route for this type of loan. These loans aren’t eligible for forgiveness or repayment programs. Instead, look into refinancing your student loans for an affordable payment and better interest rate with a private lender.
Start an Ohio student loan forgiveness program today
All forgiveness and repayment programs take years to complete, whether you move forward with a state-specific program or one with the Department of Education. It’s never too soon to start applying for student loan forgiveness programs. After doing your research, you’ll want to solidify your plan and begin the countdown.
If you want a team of professionals to consult during this process, we can help. Student Loan Planner® works to look at all of your loan repayment and forgiveness options to set you on a path of getting rid of your student loan debt.