In part one of this series, Andrew Josuweit, CEO of Student Loan Hero, outlined six student loan forgiveness programs for dentists. In this column, he offers three more ideas you might not have considered.
Though there are many student loan forgiveness programs designed specifically for borrowers in the dental field, plenty more programs are open to most all student loan borrowers.
In addition to the forgiveness programs listed in part one, you might want to check out these nationally available options, too.
1. Income-driven repayment plans
If your first job in dentistry comes with a starter paycheck, you could qualify for an income-driven repayment plan that could reduce your monthly payments. The following programs are currently available:
- Income-based repayment
- Income-contingent repayment
- Pay as you earn
- Revised pay as you earn
While each has its own set of requirements, all of them can cut down your monthly bill to a manageable level (even to $0 per month in some cases). Even better, these programs culminate with complete forgiveness of your loans after 20 to 25 years in the program --assuming you have debt leftover after this period. Note that if you do have loans forgiven under an income-driven plan, you'll have to pay taxes on that amount.
More information about all these options are available on the Student Loan Hero website.
2. Public service loan forgiveness
Dentists willing to work in public service can have their entire loan burden forgiven after 10 years of payments made after October 1, 2007. This is thanks to a program called Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which was created to incentivize work in high-need areas and nonprofits.
To qualify, new dentists must work in a qualified position for 10 years and make 120 consecutive and on-time monthly payments.
3. Student loan refinancing
If some of your student loans are stuck at a high interest rate, you can always consider refinancing to get a better deal. Refinancing lets you combine one or more student loans into a single, new loan with a lower rate -- potentially saving you thousands of dollars in interest.
Whether this situation makes sense for you depends on several factors, including your current rate, repayment time line, credit score, and whether you have federal or private loans.
If you want to see how refinancing could help you save on interest and reduce your monthly payment, a student loan refinancing calculator can help. By entering your current loan details and shopping for a new loan, you can see if refinancing might leave you better off. You should remember, however, that you lose access to certain federal protections such as deferment, forbearance, and income-driven repayment when you refinance a federal loan with a private lender.
The bottom line
Dentists with a ton of debt don't have to struggle. If you're a dentist who is leaving school with a mountain of debt, don't let fear of the unknown stand in the way of getting help. With the right program, you can secure an affordable monthly payment and even have your loans forgiven in their entirety.
Disclaimer: The comments in this article are not meant to be taken as financial advice. DrBicuspid.com recommends that you always consult with your financial planner before making any significant changes in your financial situation.
The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.