But did you know that some West Virginians will be able to get their loans forgiven? If you are a primary care physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, dentist, or nurse midwife, you could be eligible for loan repayment assistance.
Repayment assistance for healthcare professionals
To qualify for the State Loan Repayment Program, you need to sign a contract that states you will work full-time in a rural, underserved part of West Virginia. The place where you work must be a non-profit organization and located in a Health Professional Shortage Area.
Under the State Loan Repayment Program, you could get up to $40,000 for a two-year service term commitment. If you wish, you can extend your service term for additional repayment assistance. You can add up to two additional years and get $25,000 in assistance a year. If you work a full four years within the program, you could qualify for up to $90,000, which can go a long way in helping you pay off your loans.
For more information or to apply, visit the State Loan Repayment Program's website.
What if I don't qualify for repayment assistance?
The State Loan Repayment Program is only for some healthcare professionals. If you work in another field, you won't qualify for repayment assistance. However, you may be able to get some relief from your student loans in other ways.
See if you qualify for federal programs
Apply for an income-driven repayment plan
If you can't afford your federal loan payments on your current income, consider applying for an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. An IDR plan can help free up more money in your budget each month. Your loan servicer extends your repayment term to 20 to 25 years. And, your payment is capped at a percentage of your discretionary income.
To find out which plan is right for you, check out this guide on Comparing Income-Driven Repayment Plans.
Consider student loan refinancing
If you're not eligible for loan forgiveness or IDR plans, another option is to refinance your student loans. With this approach, you take out a new loan for the amount of your old ones. Your new loan has different repayment terms. You could qualify for a lower interest rate or longer repayment term, reducing your monthly payment.