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  • Writer's pictureNathan Zarcaro

5+ Can't Miss Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in Florida [2023]

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

Florida is well known for its beautiful weather, countless attractions, and gorgeous beaches. But its citizens are not immune to the ongoing student loan crisis nationwide.

Floridians have an average outstanding balance of $35,496, according to Student Loan Hero. Combined with the fact that Florida's public university system has over 300,000 students, thousands of Floridians need help to pay back what they owe.

Thankfully, the state of Florida has a couple of state student loan forgiveness programs designed to make this journey a little easier.

Student loan forgiveness programs in Florida

Florida has two main state student loan forgiveness programs especially for its citizens. They are:

  1. Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program (NSLFP)

  2. Florida Loan Repayment Assistance Programs for Lawyers

Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program

Florida's NSLFP program was started in 1989 to help solve for and prevent nurse shortages in parts of the state. The program provides forgiveness in the amount of up to $4,000 per year for up to 4 years.

To be eligible to participate in the Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have student loan debt that were taken to work towards a nursing education

  • Be licensed and work in Florida as an LPN, RN, or ARNP

  • Be employed (full-time) at a site that is designated as eligible under Section 1009.66 of the Florida Statutes.

NSLFP employment sites and jobs

Eligible employment sites for the Florida Nursing Loan Forgiveness Program include the following sites and facilities, according to the Florida Department of Education:

  • State operated healthcare facilities

  • County Department of Health departments

  • Federally funded health centers

  • Nurses employed in Florida public schools

  • Teaching hospitals (including family practice)

  • Public schools

If you have any questions regarding your potential eligibility as it pertains to your employment site, you should reach out to your employer's Human Resources department. The Florida Department of Education also should be able to help point you in the right direction.

For a more complete list of requirements, visit the Florida Senate site for more information on Statute 1009.67.

Once forgiveness is granted under this nurse-focused program, the state will send the money directly to your lender at the conclusion of each service period.

Florida Bar Foundation Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP)

The other state sponsored loan forgiveness program in Florida, this program is designed especially for Florida lawyers employed in legal aid roles. While Florida is not unique in offering loan assistance to lawyers in the state, the FL Bar Foundation LRAP has some unique aspects.

The program offers $5,000 in forgiveness per calendar year, and since inception in 1992, over $11.1 million in forgiveness has been granted under this LRAP.

Eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • You need to be employed by a civil legal aid organization that is in the midst of a grant from the Florida Bar Foundation

  • Work in a full-time or half-time capacity

Applying for the Florida Bar LRAP

To apply for the program, you'll need to understand the cadence of the program's application process. Imagine that you want to pursue the program in 2023.

To do so, you'll need to begin and file the application process in the preceding October - October 2022 in this instance.

Additional application information can be found on the Florida Bar Foundation's website.

Federal student loan forgiveness for Florida residents

Florida is far from the most lucrative state for borrowers looking for capitalize on state programs. Regardless of this fact, however, just because you don't qualify for either of the programs mentioned here does not mean that you need to give up on your pursuit of forgiveness.

All of the federally sponsored programs are still available to you, including:

  1. Public Service Loan Forgiveness

  2. Teacher Loan Forgiveness

  3. Income-Driven Repayment

  4. Perkins Loan Cancellation

  5. NHSC Loan Repayment Program

1. Public Service Loan Forgiveness

The most famous of all student loan programs, PSLF is open to those working for a decade for the government or a qualifying nonprofit.

Basic eligibility PSLF requirements are as follows:

  • Open to borrowers with federal loans within the Direct Loan program

  • Need to be on an income-driven repayment plan as a prerequisite

  • Work a minimum of 30 hours per week or your employer's definition of full-time, whichever is greater

  • Make 120 monthly payments

Now, there is some flexibility out there as of March 2022 in the form of a PSLF limited-time waiver. Basically, it opens up the door to counting payments that wouldn't normally count under the normal parameters of the program.

We've created a PSLF calculator that can predict what your payments may look like.

2. Teacher Loan Forgiveness in Florida

Though Florida does not have any state programs especially for teachers, Teacher Loan Forgiveness is still an option for educators in the state.

The TLFP requires you to teach five complete and consecutive academic school years at a low-income (or educational service agency) in order to gain eligibility for the program. Depending on what subject you teach, you may be eligible for either $5000, or $17,500 in student loan forgiveness.

As a federal Department of Education program, all federal Direct Loans qualify, and the amount of relief you receive is dependent on the subject that you teach. The highest amounts are usually reserved for those teaching math, science, and special education at the secondary level, but other teachers still can qualify for the lesser amount of $5,000.

If you're an eligible teacher, make sure you weigh the costs and benefits of TLFP and PSLF.

3. Income-Driven Repayment

IDR isn't thought about often enough as a program that can bring forgiveness, but it should be. A prerequisite for PSLF, IDR is made up of four different programs that require you to pay between 10-20% of your monthly discretionary income for a period between 20-25 years.

At that point, you'll either have received PSLF after the first 10 years, or made your 20-25 years of payments. Even if you have to make payments for that longer period, your balance will be forgiven at the conclusion.

You'll definitely want to keep in mind that these programs all carry pros and cons.

And you'll want to be careful to try to avoid the IDR tax bomb.

4. Perkins Loan Cancellation

There are likely still thousands of Floridians with outstanding Perkins Loans. This program, available to qualifying Perkins borrowers in certain career fields, may forgive the entirety of your Perkins Loan balance over a five-year period.

5. National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program

Eligible Florida healthcare workers may be able to have some debt forgiven through this NHSC program. Program participants could receive $50,000 or more in loan assistance if they have worked for at least two years at a substance use disorder facility that is recognized by NHSC.

There are actually three different NHSC forgiveness programs for healthcare workers that you should check on.

Save thousands by refinancing

When all else fails, you can always consider refinancing.

Depending on your lender, terms, and new rate, you could potentially save a lot of money by refinancing your existing loans. But first, you'll want to make sure that you either:

  • Don't qualify for or

  • Don't want to use

any of the federal forgiveness options that may be an option for you. Since the process cannot be unwound, if you overlook a cheaper option that may be an option, you'll be out of luck.

Don't let any of this scare you. The truth is that refinancing your student debt can be a great option to help you save money, years of payments, and potentially both. We recommend that those with interest begin by checking their rates with Splash Financial and LendKey, since they are both marketplaces that compare multiple lenders. And checking your rates with either of these companies will not negatively impact your credit score in any way.

Click the button below to receive your interest rate in less than two minutes!

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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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