Student loans have been a fixture of the educational system for quite some time now, but recent years have seen their impact balloon to unfairly burdensome proportions. Today’s college graduates often find themselves looking down from a mountain of debt all while trying to grow up and secure a job in what remains a bleak economic climate.
Some good news, however, is that financial assistance to pay off student loan debt is fast becoming a popular employee benefit among companies who wish to retain their young Millennial recruits. If you’re looking for a job that will help you keep your head above water when it comes to your student loans, read on for a few tips to help narrow your search.
Companies That Pay Your Loans
Now that the Millennial generation is entering the workforce in droves, more grads are choosing to explore career possibilities that promise to take the sting out of the hefty liabilities that they’ve collected in school. Reflecting this trend, certain companies are beginning to offer loan repayment as a job perk. Among the firms that are willing to spend a certain sum per month per employee for student loans are accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers and computer hardware developer Nvidia.
These deals may not be as good for you as they sound because these payments count as taxable income. But under proposed congressional legislation introduced by Democrat Sen. Mark Warner, enterprises would be able to pay up to $5,000 per year pretax toward their employees’ student debts. If the bill passes, it would make this perk, currently offered by only a handful of employers, more commonplace.
There are programs available within certain careers that forgive or pay off student loans. If you become a full-time teacher in a qualifying, low-income school, you may be eligible to receive between $5,000 and $17,5000 of loan forgiveness as long as you work at the job for five straight years. Health care workers, like doctors, dentists and nurses, can often get large portions of their debt paid off when they commit to serving specific communities for a certain length of time.
The public sector is another avenue for reducing the impact that educational loans can have on your finances. Employees of governmental bodies, whether at the federal, state or local level, will have their remaining federal student loan commitments waived after they make 120 monthly payments. This means your entire debt will vanish after 10 years of responsibly paying down what you owe while on the payroll of the government.
Many who have just earned their diplomas opt to take a year or two away from the grind before delving into the arduous process of searching for employment. The Peace Corps and AmeriCorps are great options for traveling and performing socially useful work. These volunteer positions don’t pay much beyond a basic living stipend, but they do offer the chance for forgiveness of up to 70 percent of your Federal Perkins loans. Working for a nonprofit may unlock similar benefits for you, but the organization can’t be a political advocacy group or a labor union, and it must be designated as tax-exempt by the IRS.
Other opportunities exist in certain areas of the country, such as a special program for dentists with outstanding student loans in Kansas and an initiative by Niagara Falls, New York, to attract young people by paying off up to $7,000 of their college debts if they move to the city and remain for two years. Relocating to another place can therefore be a sensible step to take to lower your remaining student loan debts.
Overly high loan obligations can have a negative impact on your credit score, which will make it harder to get a mortgage or car financing. It’s therefore prudent for you to investigate all prospects for reducing or eliminating this constraint on your economic well-being.
There are countless ways of making student loan requirements easier to manage from financial belt-tightening to obtaining a well-compensated position. By seeking out a career that includes loan forgiveness or repayment provisions, you can make the transition to gainful employment while, at the same time, breaking free of irksome indebtedness. This strategy, in combination with the other appropriate tactics and actions, is a powerful means of achieving financial independence for yourself and your family.