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  • Writer's pictureNathan Zarcaro

Student Loan Forgiveness in Kansas: 7 Can't Miss Strategies and Programs


As 2023 comes to a close, the average Kansas student loan borrower owes $32,578 in outstanding debt. And while this is far below the District of Columbia's average of $54,945, it is still a meaningful amount of money.


Kansas borrowers, like those nationwide, have a number of student loan forgiveness options, and other solutions, to consider, both on a federal and a state level.


Here are 7 student loan forgiveness programs for Kansans to consider.



Kansas student loan forgiveness programs


Kansas offers 3 distinct student loan forgiveness programs for borrowers to take advantage of:


  1. Rural Opportunity Zones Student Loan Repayment Program

  2. Kansas State Loan Repayment Program

  3. Kansas Bridging Plan



1. Rural Opportunity Zones SLRP


Borrowers in one of 77 participating Kansas counties may be eligible for repayment assistance up to $15,000 over a five-year period. To be eligible for the Rural Opportunity Zones program, you'll need to have:


  • Established residency in a participating county after July 1, 2011 and after the date that your county opted in to the program

  • An associate's, bachelor's, or graduate degree

  • Have outstanding and qualifying student loan debt


Participants will be asked to provide college transcripts for degree verification and student loan statements.



2. Kansas State Loan Repayment Program


Like many states across the country, Kansas also offers a state-sponsored forgiveness program for health care providers practicing in designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) across the state. Managed by Kansas' Office of Primary Care, the program is funded by the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), so potential participants will want to check out those programs as well.


The KS SLRP offers up to $25,000 per year in forgiveness if you:


  • Are a United States citizen

  • Have student loan debt not in default

  • Are free from any federal liens


You'll also have to be free of any felony convictions and never have been disciplined by any state's Licensing Board for any medical malpractice.


Total forgiveness varies by practice type and years of participation within the program, but physicians, dentists, and pharmacists can generally earn:


  • Up to $25,000 in year 1

  • Up to $25,000 in year 2

  • Up to $20,000 in year 3

  • Up to $15,000 in year 4

  • Up to $10,000 in year 5



3. Kansas Bridging Plan (KBP)


Another program for healthcare providers, the Kansas Bridging Plan offers up to $26,000 in forgiveness to resident physicians in the following specialties:


  • Family practice

  • Internal medicine

  • Pediatrics


Program participants must agree to practice for a minimum 3-year service commitment within a rural health community, with the exception of Douglas, Johnson, Sedgwick, Shawness, or Wyandotte Counties.


Qualifying residents must be practicing within Kansas and be approved by the State Board of Healing Arts.



Federal forgiveness options for KS borrowers


Those that can't participate in a Kansas state program may opt for one of these federal forgiveness programs.



1. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)


Kansans working for a federal, state, or tribal government, or a qualifying non-profit may utilize the PSLF program in order to have 100% of their federal loans forgiven over a 10-year period.


Here's how it works.


Those working for an eligible employer need to join one of the federal government's four income-driven repayment plans, which will reduce their payments throughout their time in the program.


After making 120 qualifying monthly payments, over a ten-year period, all of a participant's qualifying federal loans will be forgiven.



2. Income-Driven Repayment


IDR is still a forgiveness option for those that may not qualify for PSLF. There are four programs to consider:



These programs recalculate borrowers' payments based on their income, household size, and discretionary income. Each of the programs works a little differently, but you'll generally need to pay between 5-20% of your discretionary income for a period of 10-25 years.


Generally, the new SAVE plan is the most lucrative for borrowers, since it carries the lowest expected monthly contribution amount and calculates your discretionary income using 225% of the poverty line, rather than the standard 150%.


Unlike PSLF, however, the forgiveness granted under an IDR program may be treated as taxable income in the future.



3. Teacher Loan Forgiveness


Teachers working in low-income areas around the country may receive between $5,000-$17,500 in aid if they complete five complete and consecutive academic school years and took out Federal Direct or FFEL loans after October 1st, 1998.


Science, technology, mathematics, and special education teachers are eligible for the maximum amount of assistance, while those teaching other subjects may earn the $5,000.


Teachers oftentimes wonder what exceptions exist for those teaching for less than a complete academic year. These exceptions include:


  • Certain circumstances (like pregnancy/maternity leave) where you completed at least one half of an academic year

  • Completing all of the contract requirements set by your employer

  • Being called for active duty



4. National Health Service Corps


Kansans considering the KS SLRP will want to contemplate the three main NHSC programs due to potentially more lucrative forgiveness.


These three programs carry different eligibility criteria and could offer up to $100,000 in loan forgiveness in exchange for three years of service fighting the nation's opioid addiction.


Generally, NHSC is an option for:


  1. Physicians

  2. Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners

  3. Certified Nurse-Midwives

  4. Doctors of Dental Surgery and Doctors of Medicine in Dentistry working in General of Pediatric Dentistry

  5. Dental Hygienists

  6. Health Service Psychologists

  7. Licensed Clinical Social Workers

  8. Marriage and Family Therapists

  9. Licensed Professional Counselors



Other student loan strategies


Some Kansas student loan borrowers won't qualify for any of the programs we've mentioned here, but even that does not mean that they are without options.


Refinancing and consolidation are great options for those looking to alter their terms and either decrease (or increase) their payments in order to rid themselves of student loan debt.


Make sure to check out our special refinancing offers with our partnered lenders, some complete with cash back bonuses for you!



Conclusion


Student loan borrowers in Kansas have a variety of student loan forgiveness options available to them on both a federal and state level. Even those that don't qualify for any of the programs covered here may still consider refinancing or consolidation as a potential student loan solution.


What questions do you have about student loan forgiveness in Kansas? List them in the comments below, and we'll answer them!

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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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