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Top 6 PA Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in 2023

Updated: Apr 2

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The Keystone State, home to a population of about 13 million people, is a state that can be described as a microcosm of America. From sprawling cities to abundant farmland, the state has it all.

Unfortunately, this means that the state is not spared from the United States student loan crisis.

According to Student Loan Hero, the average Pennsylvanian holds an average balance of $33,426, slightly below the national average, but much higher than a comfortable level of student debt. Luckily for Pennsylvania residents, though, there are a number of state forgiveness programs set up by the state.

Student loan forgiveness in Pennsylvania

The state of Pennsylvania has a couple main programs for those looking to pay less of their student loan balance off by themselves. The main programs offered in Pennsylvania are:

  1. Primary Health Care Loan Repayment Program (LRP)

  2. Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts Loan Repayment Assistance Program

1. Pennsylvania Primary Health Care Loan Repayment Program (LRP)

The Pennsylvania Primary Health Care Loan Repayment Program is designed to keep and attract talented healthcare workers in the state of Pennsylvania.

Like many other states are, Pennsylvania has had trouble maintaining adequate access to healthcare in underserved or rural locations. Recruiting and retaining licensed practitioners is a way to do this.

Who is eligible for the Pennsylvania Primary Health Care Loan Repayment Program?

Generally, the program is available to:

  • Physicians

  • Dentists

  • Physician Assistants

  • Nurse Practitioners/CRNAs

  • Certified Nurse Midwifes

  • Registered Dental Hygienists

  • Psychologists

  • Licensed Clinical Social Workers

  • Licensed Professional Counselors

  • Marriage and Family Therapists

Beyond working in one of these fields, you also need to be fully licensed and certified in the state of Pennsylvania. But this should be considered a given, as it is unlikely you would be able to work anywhere in the state without being licensed anyway.

The other base level requirement is that you must have graduated from an accredited college, university, or other program within the United States. This means that healthcare professionals that completed their education internationally will not qualify.

What are the service requirements?

Of course, the program doesn't come without a service commitment. To qualify, you need to work at an approved primary care site that cares for underserved and/or underrepresented communities.

Generally, approved sites meet at least one of two qualifications:

  • They need to be located in an area of Pennsylvania designated as having a shortage of health professionals

  • A site that provides healthcare services to at least 30% low-income patients

A list of approved sites is available may be made available through the loan repayment program. You can choose to work either full-time or half-time, and you'll be expected to fulfill two years of service.

How much forgiveness can healthcare workers receive?

The amount of forgiveness you receive under this LRP is dependent upon the job you work, as well as the amount of hours that you work.

The maximum amount of forgiveness is reserved for physicians, dentists, and psychologists, who can receive up to $80,000 if they work full-time. Those physicians and dentists working part-time are eligible for half that amount - $40,000.

All other eligible healthcare workers can receive up to $48,000 for full-time work and $24,000 for part-time work.

These amounts are fully dependent on the level of funding granted by the Pennsylvania state government.

Apply through the PA DOH

Applying for the PA Primary Health Care Loan Repayment Program is really easy. To complete your application:

  1. Click this link to be redirected the PA Department of Health website, where you'll need to either create an account or login.

  2. Fill out the "PA Primary Care Loan Repayment Program" web-based application

Pennsylvania DOH student loan forgiveness portal

Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP)

This program, funded by the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, is reserved for those who work as employees of Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts (IOLTA) funded organizations. Of course, there are eligibility rules to meet in order to take advantage of the program.

The intention is to help provide incentives and the potential to keep engaged attorneys in public service careers.

Eligibility for the PA IOLTA Board Loan Repayment Assistance Program

The base requirements for this IOLTA LRAP is as follows:

You need to be licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and permitted to under Bar Admission Rule 31.

Beyond this, you also should meet the following requirements:

  1. Possess an active Pennsylvania Supreme Court identification number

  2. Have a total gross salary below $66,000 unless the annual debt service of your loans is at least 10% of your current annual gross salary. In this situation, your annual gross salary is not capped at $66,000 for program eligibility

  3. The value of your outstanding student loan debt (both federal and private) for both your undergraduate and graduate (law school) education needs to be greater than or equal to the value of the program's value (grant).

  4. Your student loans must be in repayment status.

What are the service requirements?

Beyond working at a qualifying IOLTA-funded organization, you make 12-month (1 year commitments at a time).

The state has also released a list of PA IOLTA-funded organizations for your reference.

As long as the program is funded, you can do this for up to 10 years if you'd like.

Keep in mind that there is no guarantee of this continuing into the future.

How much forgiveness can PA IOLTA provide?

Each time you sign a 12-month (1 year) contract, you'll receive some loan forgiveness upfront. It will be issued to you in the form of a loan, until you've fulfilled the obligations of your contract. At that point, the loan you granted will be forgiven.

It's also an unusual program in that the amount of money you'll receive isn't fixed.

Outside of funding challenges, the other main factor in determining how much financial help you'll receive is the amount of other program applicants in the forgiveness period. Once you receive confirmation that you qualify for the program, you'll receive quarterly distributions to use towards your outstanding student loans.

Keep in mind that any funds you receive must be used towards your outstanding undergraduate and law school loans. You can also use the program money for expenses related to studying/preparing for the bar exam.

How to apply

Applying for the PA IOLTA Loan Repayment Assistance Program is also really easy to do.

Start by visiting the PA Bar Foundation's website at

The web application for The PA IOLTA Loan Repayment Assistance Program

From there, you'll be able to browse the quarterly disbursement dates, the application, and other frequently asked questions.

Federal student loan forgiveness programs for Pennsylvanians

As Americans, residents of PA are also eligible to take advantage of the federal student loan forgiveness programs offered by the Department of Education. These programs, in no particular order, are:

  1. Income-Driven Repayment

  2. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

  3. Teacher Loan Forgiveness (TLF)

  4. Perkins Loan Cancellation

Get our PA student loan calculator

We've worked with borrowers across The Keystone State before, and we understand the complexities of their forgiveness landscape. Generally, we tell our clients that, unless you are a lawyer or work in healthcare, you'll generally need to turn to a federal forgiveness program or alternate repayment strategy.

Luckily for you, we built a student loan calculator that can help you decide among all of these strategies. Our free tool can project your monthly payments, outstanding balances, and forgiveness balances (if applicable) under the following strategies:

  1. Income-Based Repayment

  2. Pay as You Earn

  3. Revised Pay as You Earn

  4. Federal Consolidation

  5. Private Refinancing

  6. PSLF

  7. And More!

Picking a different strategy may save you thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars off your repayment, or could find you student debt free years earlier than you would have been.

Related: Learn about the PA Forward Student Loan Program

Pennsylvania student loan calculator

Pennsylvania college grants

The easiest way to avoid becoming overwhelmed with student loan debt is to avoid taking debt on to begin with.

To help make paying for college more affordable, Pennsylvania also sponsors a handful of state grant programs for residents. Sponsored by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) are the following programs:

  1. Pennsylvania State Grant

  2. Blind or Deaf Higher Education Beneficiary Grant

  3. Chafee Education and Training Grant

  4. Fostering Independence Tuition Waiver Program

  5. Partnerships for Access to Higher Education Grant (PATH)

and more!

Consider refinancing if you don't qualify for forgiveness

Unfortunately, no matter how detailed these programs are, not every Pennsylvanian will qualify for student loan forgiveness. But that doesn't mean that there are not plenty of other student loan strategies available to you.

Considering refinancing should be near the top of your list, even if you do qualify for one or more of the forgiveness programs we already mentioned.

Private refinancing is a process that may lead you to a lower interest rate, lower monthly payments, and a shorter (or longer) loan term. Many Americans are unsure how or where to start the refinancing process. We normally recommend starting with Splash Financial, since they are a marketplace that can check your rates across multiple different lenders for you.

Checking your rate with Splash takes less than five minutes and doesn't impact your credit score either.


Looking to buy a home in Pennsylvania now or in the future? Check out our article on closing costs in PA.

Student loan forgiveness in nearby states

Student loan forgiveness in New York

Student loan forgiveness in New Jersey

Student loan forgiveness in Ohio

Student loan forgiveness in Maryland

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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 worked for one of the world's largest asset management firms before starting his own consulting practice.  In his free time, Nathan enjoys playing golf and traveling with his wife Brigid.

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