Veterinary school graduates who work with large animals could qualify for state and federal loan repayment assistance.

Get Rid of Student Loan Debt Without Paying for It

Loan forgiveness programs can help ease borrowers’ college debt burden, if they work in certain areas.

Veterinary school graduates who work with large animals could qualify for state and federal loan repayment assistance.
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In addition to state-based programs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program will pay qualified vets up to $25,000 per year. Graduates must work for at least three years in a designated vet shortage area, such as northeastern Montana, Sioux County in Nebraska or Steuben County in New York.

Seventy-five veterinarians, with an average debt load of nearly $110,000, received funding through this program for fiscal year 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The program awarded $7.25 million in loan repayment assistance during that time frame.

More interested in politics than poultry? Not a problem.

Maryland residents can also get help through the Janet L. Hoffman Loan Assistance Program if they work for the state government, a local municipality or a nonprofit agency in the state. To be eligible, applicants must work with low-income and underserved residents. The program also has an income restriction.

Borrowers in any state who took out a Perkins loan can have some or all of the debt canceled if they work in a qualified area for up to five years. Firefighters, speech pathologists, librarians and special education teachers are just a few of the professions eligible for the Perkins program, which typically designates graduates work in low-income or underserved areas to qualify.

Loan forgiveness is never a guarantee, so students shouldn't rack up debt in the hopes the slate will eventually be wiped clean, advise the authors of the American Student Assistance e-book. "Always borrow the bare minimum you need, and think of any potential forgiveness benefits as a (very) happy bonus."

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