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  • Writer's pictureNathan Zarcaro

12 Paths to Student Loan Forgiveness in New York State

Updated: May 4, 2023

The Empire State, home to around 20 million people, is a microcosm of America. There large cities, miles of coastline, farmland, and everything from urban to rural living.

Though New Yorkers are slightly less likely to have student debt than the national average, this diverse state is home to over 2.4 million borrowers. But these borrowers are also more likely to have higher debt levels than the rest of the United States, at an average of nearly $38,000 per borrower.

This article will cover:

New York student loan forgiveness programs

There are about nine different options for student loan forgiveness in New York as of time of writing. They are managed by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation.

In no particular order, some of these programs are:

  1. New York State Licensed Social Worker Loan Forgiveness Program

  2. Child Welfare Worker Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program

  3. Doctors Across New York

  4. Nursing Faculty Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program

  5. New York State Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program

  6. Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program

  7. Albany Law School Loan Repayment Assistance Program

  8. NYS Get On Your Feet

Next, let's tackle these one by one.

1. New York State Licensed Social Worker Loan Forgiveness Program

This program, which provides up to $26,000 in benefits, is intended to make sure that the state of New York has enough social workers to service its' growing population.

Eligibility for this program is reserved for New York State licensed social workers who have/are:

  • Been legal residents of NY for one or more years

  • U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens

  • Completed one year of qualifying service

  • Work in a participating county

  • Maintain compliance with the terms of service imposed by any other awards in New York State

All federal (with the exception of Parent PLUS) and private loans are usually eligible, though private loans are subject to examination by the state government.

Qualifying social workers also cannot be in default on any of their outstanding student loans and have served for at least 35 hours per week in a "critical human service area," as defined by the state. These areas are aging, health, mental health, home care, child welfare, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, and communities with multilingual needs.

Borrowers can participate in the program for four consecutive years and receive aid in the amount of $6,500 for each year of service that they complete.

2. Child Welfare Worker Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program

The NYS Child Welfare Worker Program is specifically for those that provide direct care services at child welfare agencies licensed by New York.

Offering $10,000 in potential annual benefits and participation in the program for up to five years, the program can make a real difference in your student loan repayment.

To take part in the program, you're going to need to:

  • Live and have resided in the state for at least one year before applying

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen

  • Have achieved a college degree from an approved college or university in New York and have outstanding student loans

  • Be less than two years removed from college graduation

  • Agree to provide direct care services at a licensed and not-for-profit child welfare agency in state for a term of five years

Like with all of these programs, you'll also be expected to not have any loans in default and maintain compliance with the terms of any other service conditions from New York awards.

Generally, those with either federal or private loans can participate, with the exception of Parent PLUS loans.

3. Doctors Across New York

Doctors Across New York (DANY), a state-funded program started in 2008, offers student loan assistance up to $120,000 in exchange for serving as a physician for New Yorkers living in underserved communities. To receive the $120,000, you'll need to commit to and serve a 3-year service obligation.

If you are interesting in participating in the program, you'll need to:

  • Be a United States citizen or eligible noncitizen (I-155 and 1-551 cards)

  • Be licensed to practice medicine in New York

  • Not working in or serving an area of New York already designated as underserved

  • Not be simultaneously working towards another state or federal student debt assistance program at the same time

  • Be in good standing with New York's Office of Professional Medical Conduct

Additionally, you'll need to make sure that your service does not occur at a federal facility, or else you'll be unable to take advantage of the DANY program.

4. Nursing Faculty Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program (NFLF)

Many states now offer programs to ensure that there is not a shortage of nursing professors and adjunct clinical faculties at colleges and universities, and New York is no exception to this.

Offering up to $8,000 annually for up to five years (for a total of $40,000 in forgiveness), NY's Nursing Faculty Loan Forgiveness program is available to licensed registered nurses (RN) who hold a graduate degree and teach nursing.

Generally, applicants must have outstanding balances on student loans used to go to nursing school that were also disbursed on or after January 1, 2001. Beyond this, though, you'll also need to:

  • Be a licensed RN in New York (eligible to practice)

  • Be a legal resident of NYS and have been for at least 12 months before applying for NFLF

  • Be a United States citizen or eligible noncitizen

  • Hold employment as a nursing faculty member (or adjunct clinical faculty) and teach for at least 12 credit hours per fiscal year (July 1 - June 30). This usually equates to four three-credit classes, or three four-credit classes.

Federal and private student debt are both eligible for NFLF, with the exception of Parent PLUS loans and Perkins Loans.

5. NYS Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program

Intended to increase the number of teachers within hard to staff districts across the state, New York's version of the TLF program is a special program for those who teach subjects designated as shortage areas by the state.

Offering up to $20,000 in total assistance, divided into $5,000 per year for up to four years, the program's requirements are more open-ended than many of the programs on the list. Beyond what we have already covered, applicants should also:

  • Be residents of NY for at least one year

  • Be licensed to teach within the state and be employed full-time

  • Not be in default on any student debt

As of the most recently available data, New York had designated the following subjects as shortage areas statewide:

  1. Bilingual education

  2. Special education (bilingual)

  3. Literacy

  4. Career and Technical Education

Certain counties and districts also have additional subjects. You can find that information, plus information about "hard-to-staff" districts here.

6. Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program

For those who commit to operating a farm in New York State for a minimum of five years (full-time), NY has established a program.

Offering up to $50,000 in aid over five years, to participate, you'll need to apply within two years of your college graduation and sign a Service Contract affirming your intention to serve for five years.

Other than that, many of the base requirements are the same (NY resident for at least a year, not in default, etc.)

One interesting aspect of the program is that it does not appear that the state has established what you must farm, how large your plot should be, etc. That does not mean that these guidelines don't exist, but something that you should do some more research on.

7. Albany Law School Loan Repayment Assistance Program

University of Albany Law School graduates may qualify to receive up to $30,000 in loan repayment assistance over a period of three years if they decide to pursue public interest law. The program does come with a whole list of qualifying requirements. Among them are:

  • Must have earned a JD from Albany Law School within previous 36 months prior to application

  • Work at least 35 hours per week in a qualifying public interest law job role, including "legal advocacy positions funded by the Legal Services Corporation as well as advocacy positions with other private not-for-profit organizations that qualify for a tax exemption under IRS Code Sections 501(c)(3), (4), or (5)," according to the program description

  • Must have an adjustable gross income less than $61,000 in first year out of law school, $63,000 in second year, and $65,000 in third year

  • Other financial and loan based requirements

8. NYS Get On Your Feet

Offering various levels of debt assistance, the NY Get on Your Feet program can further aid New Yorkers that are already on federal income-driven repayment plans (more on this in a minute).

To qualify for further aid, you'll need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be a NY resident and have graduated from both a NYS high school and college/university

  • Hold U.S. citizenship or permanent legal status

  • Apply for the program within 2 years after college graduation

  • Earn less than $50,000

Learn more about NYS' Get on Your Feet.

Federal student loan forgiveness for New York residents

Of course, New Yorkers, like residents of every other state across the nation, have access to the various federal programs offered through the United States Department of Education. A few of these programs are listed below:

  1. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

  2. Income-Driven Repayment

  3. Teacher Loan Forgiveness (TLF)

  4. Perkins Loan Cancellation

Consider refinancing if you don't qualify for forgiveness

No matter how many programs a state sponsors, there will be a large portion of borrowers that do not qualify for any of the assistance programs out there. But that does not mean you are without any strategies.

Private refinancing can be a great option, even if you do qualify for one or more forgiveness programs, but many borrowers don't know where to start.

Splash Financial may be the answer for you. As a refinancing marketplace, they can compare interest rates from many different lenders for you. You can get a rate estimate from them right now in less than five minutes, and your credit won't be impacted by the rate checking process!

Student loan forgiveness in nearby states

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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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