Updated: Apr 1
Oregon is home to a number of large public and private universities, The University of Oregon and Oregon State among them. With over 206,000 college students statewide, many of them Oregon residents, thousands of students are saddled with tens of thousands of dollars of student debt.
Student loan debt in Oregon
According to Student Loan Hero, the average borrower across The Beaver State has over $34,000 in outstanding student loan debt, before President Biden's $10,000 in forgiveness takes effect. This ranks Oregon 16th in the United States in terms of average debt burden per borrower.
Luckily, Oregon has established a couple of programs for residents to achieve some student loan forgiveness. Among these programs are:
Oregon State Bar Loan Repayment Assistance Program
Oregon's Healthcare Provider Incentive Loan Repayment Assistance Program
Oregon's student loan forgiveness programs
Let's break down and cover these two state-sponsored programs in a little more detail.
1. The Oregon Bar Loan Repayment Assistance Program
This first program, sponsored by the Oregon State Bar, is designed to help attorneys pursue careers in public service law. Public service law jobs are rewarding, but lower paying roles that many licensed attorneys cannot afford to take given the financial burdens of student loan debt and paying for law school.
The program is available for attorneys licensed and qualified to practice law in state. Given this requirement, it is important to note that program applicants and participants do not need to be Oregon residents or have graduated from a law school within the state.
Other important eligibility requirements are as follows:
You must meet qualifying employment criteria. The program defines this as being a practicing attorney that works as public defenders, for civil legal aid organizations, deputy district attorneys, or a not for profit organization that defends low-income people.
You must earn less than $70,000 at the time your application is submitted. Attorneys with salaries over $70,000 are not eligible for the program.
You need to be indebted with at least $35,000 in student loans at the time in which you apply for entry to the program.
Those that meet these requirements and are accepted into the program are eligible to receive up to $7,500 in forgiveness annually, for a period of up to 3 years in duration.
More: Are you looking to buy a home in Oregon?
2. Oregon's Healthcare Provider Incentive Program
Oregon's second student loan forgiveness program, managed by the Oregon Health Authority, is the Healthcare Provider Incentive Program. Established in 2018, the program was founded to improve access and quality of care to Oregonians living in underserved or rural areas.
The program is available to the following type of healthcare providers across the state:
Licensed clinical social workers
Licensed marriage/family counselors
The program is inherently designed to incentivize talented healthcare providers to work in underserved communities. These communities oftentimes require American patients to be served regardless of insurance type. This means that providers could serve Medicare, Medicaid, or privately insured patients that may or may not be able to pay their components of coverage.
This LRAP is a very generous program, providing up to $35,000 in loan forgiveness per calendar year.
There is also a component to the program that is available for students still in school, called the Rural Insurance Subsidy.
You'll want to see if you qualify for either component the program.
Federal student loan forgiveness programs for Oregonians
Oregon's residents, like all other Americans, are eligible and encouraged to utilize federal student loan forgiveness programs if they qualify. The three main loan forgiveness programs managed at the federal level are:
Teacher Loan Forgiveness
Perkins Loan Cancellation
National Health Service Corps LRP
1. Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Oregon residents that work for the government or qualifying 501c(3) non-profits may qualify for forgiveness through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Known colloquially as PSLF, the program requires you to make 120 qualifying payments before gaining eligibility to have the rest of your federal student loans forgiven.
You'll need to be on an eligible repayment plan, which are the income-driven repayments plans of IBR, ICR, PAYE, and REPAYE.
Note that there is currently a PSLF waiver program in 2022 that can help you receive credit for payments that previously would not have counted.
2. Teacher Loan Forgiveness
Oregon school teachers may benefit from the federal government's Teacher Loan Forgiveness (TLF) program.
The program, available to teachers with both Direct or FFEL debt, can result in between $5,000-$17,500 in student loan forgiveness, depending on what subject you teach.
Qualification requirements are very straight forward, and require you to meet the following:
Work five complete and consecutive school years at a qualifying school
Work in a classroom role
Work at a school that serves low-income areas and students
Since many teachers qualify for both PSLF and TLF, you'll want to carefully study whether PSLF or TLF is right for you.
3. Perkins Loan Cancellation
The third major federal student loan forgiveness program available to you is Perkins Loan Cancellation, a program available only for federal borrowers with outstanding Perkins Loans, a type of student debt that has not been offered since 2017.
Those with Perkins Loans that work in certain fields may qualify to have all of their outstanding Perkins Loans forgiven over a five-year period.
4. National Health Service Corps LRP
Eligible Oregon healthcare providers may be eligible to participate in the NHSC Loan Repayment Program if they:
Practice in NHSC approved sites (usually federally designated healthcare shortage areas)
Are providers that see Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP patients, if applicable
Meet other eligibility requirements
The program rewards participants with up to $50,000 in loan repayment assistance.
Don't qualify for Oregon loan forgiveness? Consider refinancing
If none of these federal programs seem to be an option for you, you may want to consider refinancing your student debt. Borrowers across the The Beaver State can refinance with a number of private lenders, but we usually suggest that borrowers start by checking their rates with Splash Financial.
Splash is actually a marketplace, rather than a lender, and they can compare your rates across multiple different lenders for you. Rate checking with Splash takes less than 3 minutes, won't impact your credit, AND we'll give you $5 for checking your rate. Just click the button below and then submit verification to us!
Student loan forgiveness in nearby states
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