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  • Writer's pictureNathan Zarcaro

[2024] 11 Paths to Student Loan Forgiveness in NJ

Updated: Jan 20


New Jersey is a state with so much going for it. Proximity to New York City, sprawling farmland, and a beautiful coastline are only a few of the things that The Garden State has in its favor.


Unfortunately, the state's extremely high cost of living makes affordability a real issue, particularly for student loan borrowers.


Fortunately, New Jersey offers their own state-sponsored student loan forgiveness programs to make things easier for thousands of borrowers across the state.


Here are 9 student loan forgiveness options for borrowers in New Jersey.




New Jersey student loan debt



With about 1.2 million borrowers and $42.5 billion in student loans statewide. Unsurprisingly, these balances tend to be higher in areas with more highly educated workforces, such as Morris, Somerset, and Monmouth Counties.


This debt has a huge drag on New Jersey's state economy, hence why these state-run forgiveness programs are so important!



Student loan forgiveness in New Jersey

New Jersey's student loan programs are geared towards helping those working as doctors, lawyers, or within a STEM related field (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).


As of this time, there are five state-specific loan repayment assistance programs, managed by the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority.  They are:


  1. New Jersey STEM Loan Redemption

  2. National Health Services Corp Loan Repayment

  3. John R. Justice Federal Student Loan Redemption

  4. Loan Redemption Program for Nursing Faculty

  5. Primary Care Practitioner Loan Redemption

  6. NJCLASS Loan Redemption Program


All of these programs are reserved for borrowers with federal student loan debt.



1. New Jersey STEM Loan Redemption Program


The first of the New Jersey forgiveness programs, the STEM Loan Redemption Program is reserved for those working in eligible careers within the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.


To be eligible for the program, you'll need to:


  • Work and be a resident of NJ

  • Have a proper STEM designated college degree from an approved college or university within the state

  • Have already worked four years in an approved STEM role

  • Continue to work in approved STEM roles for another 1 - 4 years after applying for forgiveness

  • Have eligible federal or New Jersey state (NJCLASS) loans


Those that participate for four years are ineligible for award renewal.


You'll also need to have graduated from college on or after 12/14/2018, and your loans cannot be in default. Loans taken out by others to help finance your college education are not eligible.


If you meet these requirements, you'll be eligible for up to $2,000 in loan forgiveness annually for 4 years, a total of $8,000 in forgiveness.



2. New Jersey's National Health Services Corp Loan Repayment Program


The National Health Services Corp Loan Repayment Program is a forgiveness program that carries up to $50,000 in student loan forgiveness in exchange for a two-year service requirement at an approved HPSA site.


These HPSA sites are federally designated health professional shortage areas and typically service underserved populations.


Another cool part of NJ NHSC is that you can also opt to work half-time and receive half of the forgiveness - $25,000 instead of the $50,000.


Though the base program has that two year commitment, there is the potential to go year-to-year in a continuation of your service for additional forgiveness.



3. John R. Justice Federal Student Loan Redemption Program


New Jersey, like many states nationwide, struggles to attract and retain public defenders and prosecutors.


Qualification for New Jersey's John R. Justice program is similar to other states. You'll need to work full-time for the state as either a public defender or prosecutor, but other than that, the eligibility is fairly broad as far as student loan forgiveness goes. You'll just want to make sure that:


  1. Your federal loans are in good standing - your loans cannot be in default

  2. Agree to keep working for the state of New Jersey as a prosecutor or public defender for an additional three years.


So if none of this information is disqualifying for you, you'll want to consider applying.


More information can be found by contacting HESAA directly at 800-792-8670, ext. 5535. You'll just want to verify that the information you are being given is pertinent to New Jersey's John R. Justice program.



4. Nursing Faculty Loan Redemption Program


New Jersey is also not alone in facing a nursing faculty shortage, and the Covid-19 pandemic has only made things worse nationwide.


To help counter these national trends, the state has a nursing faculty program in place that can provide annual forgiveness amounts through the five year program.


After you've completed your qualifying education (a minimum of a graduate degree off a list of approved programs), you'll receive the following forgiveness at the conclusion of each year of service:


End of year 1: $5,000

End of year 2: $7,000

End of year 3: $10,000

End of year 4: $13,000

End of year 5: $15,000


So, if you complete your entire five years of service, you'll receive a total of $50,000 in student loan forgiveness!


Of course, you will become ineligible for any further benefits if you become debt-free before the end of the five year service.


New Jersey's HESAA will automatically make the payments directly to your loan servicer each year.



5. Primary Care Practitioner Loan Redemption Program


New Jersey's Primary Care Practitioner Loan Redemption Program provides primary care healthcare providers in the state a unique opportunity to receive up to $120,000 in student loan forgiveness.


Eligible healthcare workers may include:


  • Physicians

  • Dentists

  • Physician assistants

  • Certified nurse practitioners

  • And more!


The service commitment for the program entails a minimum of two years, and can continue to participate for a third and fourth year, if the program remains funded.


Participation must happen a maximum of two years after completing all applicable training and education.


You can find more eligibility information through HESAA.


More: Looking to buy a home soon in NJ? Here's what you can expect to pay in closing costs.



6. NJCLASS Loan Redemption Program


The last state-run option is also the newest. New Jersey teachers who teach in areas with shortages or other needs may be eligible to receive up to $20,000 in loan repayment assistance over a period of 4 years if they are:


  • Residents of the state of NJ

  • Must have NJCLASS loans and not be in default

  • Must be fully certified to work as a teacher in the state

  • Must have been hired on or after January 18, 2022


There are a couple of other program eligibility requirements.


Applying for NJ teacher loan forgiveness is easy to do and only requires a simple two-page form to get started. Once complete, email submissions are accepted to LoanRedemption@hesaa.org. 



Federal forgiveness programs in New Jersey


Residents of The Garden State may also participate in one of a few federal student loan forgiveness programs:


8. Teacher Loan Forgiveness

9. Perkins Loan Cancellation

11. Income-Driven Repayment



7. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)


The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program can forgive 100% of a borrower's Federal Direct or FFEL Program loans if one:


  • Works for an eligible employer (nonprofits or federal/state/local governments)

  • Makes 120 reduced payments on an income-driven repayment plan


Participants should re-certify their employment and income each year in order to ensure they stay on track.



8. Teacher Loan Forgiveness


New Jersey's teachers may participate in the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program and receive at least $5,000 in loan assistance if they teach:


  • At least five complete and consecutive school years

  • At a participating Title I school

  • Have qualifying federal loans disbursed after October 1st, 1998


Math, science, and special education teachers may receive an increased forgiveness amount of $17,500.



9. Perkins Loan Cancellation


New Jerseyans with outstanding Perkins Loans may be able to have 100% of them forgiven over a five-year period if they work for a qualified employer (attorneys, military, educators, healthcare workers.


Loans will be forgiven according to the following schedule:


  • 15% after the first and second years of service

  • 20% after the third and fourth years of service

  • 30% following the fifth year



10. National Health Service Corps


National Health Service Corps offers three distinct forgiveness programs to borrowers in NJ and across the country:


  1. NHSC LRP

  2. NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce LRP

  3. NHSC Rural Community LRP


These programs offer anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 in assistance for full-time, initial 2–3-year terms, though continuation contracts are oftentimes available.


Eligible participants include physicians, dentists, nurses, and other healthcare workers.



11. Income-Driven Repayment


New Jersey borrowers that don't qualify for any of the state or federal programs listed here can always use one of the four income-driven repayment plans:




Other student loan strategies for New Jerseyans


Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try, there is a chance that none of these programs will be right for you. And since many of them are based on career choice and other criteria that are hard to control, that's okay!


You can consider alternate strategies such as consolidation and refinancing.



Student loan refinancing


Refinancing may be a great option for those who don't qualify for any of the state's student loan forgiveness programs. You may be able to lower your monthly payments, get out of debt earlier than anticipated, or maybe both.


If you're unsure whether refinancing may be the right path for you, checking your rates with Splash Financial and LendKey can be a great place to start. The process takes less than three minutes and doesn't impact your credit until you accept a refinancing offer.


Here is a link to our student loan refinancing guide.



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About Nathan Zarcaro

Nathan Zarcaro is the founder of The Student Debt Destroyer and is passionate about personal finance related causes.  A 2018 graduate of Providence College's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Nathan studied Finance, and has worked for industry leaders in both finance and healthcare.  In his free time, Nathan enjoys playing golf and traveling with his wife Brigid.

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