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Are you loving life in the Hoosier state, with its sugar cream pie and epic IU-Purdue rivalry, but all the while being dragged down by your student loans? There could be help available to you.
The Institute for College Access and Success reported that 57% of Indiana students in the Class of 2018 graduated with student loan debt. And the average debt load was more than $29,000 — in line with the national average.
Luckily, its residents working at least in the field of law could see a reprieve, while there are also possibilities for those in other occupations. Here’s how to get student loan forgiveness in Indiana.
Getting student loan forgiveness in Indiana
It’s true that not all Indiana residents will be eligible for student loan forgiveness from the state, although if your line of work isn’t represented on this list, you might be able to turn to other student loan forgiveness programs for help.
With that said, here’s what’s available from the state.
The Richard M. Givan LRAP
Lawyers living anywhere in the U.S. might hesitate to take work in legal aid offices, since the salary might not cover their living expenses and student loan payments. But Indiana lawyers facing this situation can get help.
The Richard M. Givan LRAP offers student loan forgiveness to lawyers working in nonprofit legal aid organizations. This program exists to help those who wouldn’t be able to afford to take on the work otherwise, since student loan repayment takes up a large chunk of their income.
Legal aid lawyers can be eligible as long as their income doesn’t exceed $70,000. They must also be licensed to practice in Indiana and actively participate as a member of the Indiana Bar Association.
The maximum annual award is $5,000, though you can apply every year as long as you have student debt remaining. Funding for the program is based on the performance of the Indiana Bar Foundation’s endowment.
Lawyers can find out here if their employer qualifies them for the program.
Law school-sponsored student loan assistance
The Richard M. Givan LRAP isn’t the only way lawyers can receive student loan repayment assistance. You can also turn to your alma mater’s alumni relations or financial aid office to see if there are programs to help.
Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law, for example, administers a loan reduction assistance program. Graduates could receive up to $4,000 in grant aid to cover the cost of preparing and sitting for bar exams. The awards are meant for Hoosiers pursuing a career in public interest law.
While not student loan repayment assistance, per se, this LRAP helps aspiring lawyers avoid bar study loans lent by banks, credit unions and online companies. Federal loans can’t be used for this type of study.
Don’t forget about federal programs
All hope is not lost if your professional field doesn’t qualify you for student loan forgiveness in Indiana. The next step is to look for federal student loan forgiveness.
Teachers can qualify for forgiveness of their student debt through Teacher Loan Forgiveness. This program offers up to $17,500 for teachers who’ve taught full-time for five years in a row at eligible schools.
And professionals of all kinds can earn student loan forgiveness through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. This program wipes away the entire balance of eligible recipients’ student loan debt after 120 monthly payments. Qualifying employers include 501(c)(3) registered nonprofits (as well as some other nonprofits) and federal, state, local, and tribal government organizations.
Statute of limitations on debt in Indiana
Besides student loan forgiveness, is there ever a time when Indiana residents can be released from their student loan debt? Discharging student loans in bankruptcy is difficult, though not impossible.
But there’s also the statute of limitations on debt to consider. (For private student loans, that is — federal student loans are exempt from the statute of limitations on debt.)
Collections on private student loans in Indiana become unenforceable once the loans have been in default for a specified number of years: Loans taken out before September 1, 1982, are time-barred after they’ve gone unpaid for 10 years, while loans taken out anytime after that are time-barred after six years.
Get that student loan forgiveness, Indiana residents
Student loan debt can be challenging for many of those who borrow. But there are ways to get help, thanks to student loan forgiveness programs. And if you’re not happy with the offerings you see, you can exercise your voice with your local lawmakers.
You might also encourage your elected officials to replenish funding for an existing repayment assistance program. For example, the state’s The Family and Social Services Administration previously offered an LRAP for mental health and addiction professionals that has lacked funding in recent years.
Meanwhile, you can look into some of the above student loan forgiveness options, while also using other strategies to take control of your student loan debt and pay it off once and for all.
Andrew Pentis contributed to this report.
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