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  • Writer's pictureNathan Zarcaro

5 Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in Georgia

Updated: Oct 12, 2023


Georgia is a state with rich culture and seemingly endless attractions for residents and tourists alike. But unfortunately, just like every other state nationwide, The Peach State has not been spared from the national student loan crisis.


In fact, Georgians are more likely to have higher amounts of student debt than their peers elsewhere in in the South. The average student loan debt among borrowers in Georgia is now over $41,600, and 50.3% of these borrowers are above age 35.




Student debt in Georgia


Georgia's average student loan balance routinely ranks it in the top three states in America. And much of this debt is centered in Georgia's largest counties abutting Atlanta. In fact, Student Loan Hero put together an analysis of Georgia's most populous counties, and how much student debt borrowers there have.


​County

​Average student debt balance

Cobb

$40,741

DeKalb

$38,524

Fulton

$38,215

Gwinnett

$37,129


Georgia student loan forgiveness plans


In this article, we will review the following forgiveness plans available to Georgia residents:



These five repayment plans are all designed for healthcare workers and are offered by the Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce (GBHCW). All five of these plans are reserved for healthcare professionals that work in rural and underserved communities (county populations of under 50,000 people).




1. Physicians for Rural Areas Assistance Program (PRAA)


The PRAA program, available for physicians with medical student loan debt, provides $25,000 per year in forgiveness in the form of a service-cancelable loan.


Participants can take part in the program for up to four years, meaning physicians within this program can have a total of $100,000 forgiven.


Applicants must have:

  1. Graduated from ACGME or AOA accredited Graduate Medical Education Program within the United States

  2. Have a GA Medical License

  3. Have a GA Medicaid Provider Number

  4. Actively treat Medicaid patients


In order to qualify, you need to be in "full-time" practice of at least 40 hours per week, with at least 32 of these hours spent directly with patients.


Additionally, qualified physicians need to be servicing areas that are designated as rural and underserved areas.



2. Georgia Physician Loan Repayment Program (GPLRP)


The GPLRP program also offers $25,000 per year in forgiven loans for up to four years (for a maximum forgiveness potential of $100,000.


Qualifying physicians must work in rural Georgia counties in health professional shortage areas and practice in the following specialties:


  • Family medicine

  • Internal medicine

  • Pediatrics

  • OB/GYN

  • Geriatrics

  • Psychiatry


The program, which is jointly funded by the state and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, requires that physicians work in full-time practice, a minimum of 40 hours per week.


Additional eligibility requirements are as follows:


  1. You cannot have defaulted on any federal student loan debt.

  2. Clinicians musty have unrestricted and current licenses, registrations, etc.

  3. You must be a United States citizen or naturalized citizen


Atlanta, Georgia skyline


3. Dentists for Rural Areas Assistance Program (DRAA)


The DRAA program gives Georgia Board of Dentistry licensed dentists the opportunity to receive up to $100,000 in loan forgiveness over 4 years, evenly divided into $25,000 per year.


Eligible dentists will regularly see Medicaid patients or be in the process of getting a Medicaid Provider Number that will allow them to see Medicaid patients.


Georgia's DRAA is more flexible than many other forgiveness plans out there, and it allows you to work for any of the following:


  1. A hospital

  2. Group practice

  3. Community center

  4. Other healthcare organizations


Applicants should also:


  • Be legal United States residents (not necessarily citizens)

  • Be graduates of an accredited dental school

  • Have an unrestricted dental license from the Georgia Board of Dentistry

  • Have a Medicaid Provider Number and actively treat Medicaid patients



4. Physician Assistant Loan Repayment Program (PALRP)


Georgia's Physician Assistant Loan Repayment Program was designed to help qualified Physician Assistants the opportunity to receive student loan forgiveness in exchange for serving in underserved areas.


The PALRP carries the opportunity to achieve $10,000 in student loan forgiveness per year, and you can participate in the program for up to four years.


To participate in the program, you'll need to:


  1. Be a United States citizen, legal resident, or foreign national with a degree from an accredited and eligible Physician Assistant program

  2. Work as a practicing PA in the state of Georgia (in a county or counties with less than 50,000 people living in them).

  3. Work for a practice that actively sees and treats Medicaid patients



5. Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Loan Repayment Program (APRNLRP)


Georgia's Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Loan Repayment Program is an option for licensed APRNs that provide care directly to patients in qualifying rural and underserved counties across the state.


These counties, defined as those with populations of 50,000 peop

le or less, are evaluated based on the most recent census data available.


The program works like this:


  1. You'll receive $10,000 in loan forgiveness for each year of service you complete.

  2. You can renew your service contract three times, for a total of 4 years and $40,000 in student loan forgiveness


Eligibility is a little more rigid than with other programs and is reserved to those that meet the following requirements:


  • Are United States citizens, legal residents, or U.S foreign nationals

  • Graduated from an accredited or provisionally accredited school of nursing education that qualifies for licensure by the Georgia Board of Nursing

  • Hold an active APRN license in the state of Georgia

  • Must work for a practice (in an underserved area) that treats Medicaid patients regularly


The assistance that you receive can be used to repay loans that you used for tuition and any other related fees that you used while completing your APRN education.


The other perk of the APRNLRP program is that, while you must reapply each year, your application can and likely will be renewed automatically if there "are no substantial changes over the past year."



Federal forgiveness programs for Georgia residents


Of course, Georgians also have access to the full scope of United States student loan forgiveness programs, including:




Other student loan options in Georgia


Thousands of Georgians will not qualify for any of the state or federal programs that we've reviewed here. And that's okay, because there are plenty more options available to you. The best alternative is likely going to be refinancing.


We typically recommend that you start by rate shopping and getting an idea as to what rate you may be able to secure. Splash Financial is a great company for this purpose, since it a loan marketplace that will compare your rates across numerous different lenders for you.


The best part? It'll take you less than three minutes, and the rate check won't impact your credit!




Grab our free student loan calculator


GA student loan forgiveness is likely to be reserved for healthcare workers and providers. Those that work in other fields likely will need to pursue a federal program or alternate repayment strategy.


Our free calculator can help you compare your projected monthly payments, debt-free year, and forgiveness balance under the following repayment strategies:


  1. Income-Based Repayment

  2. Pay as You Earn

  3. Revised Pay as You Earn

  4. PSLF

  5. Federal Consolidation

  6. Private Refinancing

  7. More!


Each of these programs has something unique to offer, and you may be able to save thousands of dollars and or cut years off your repayment.



Georgia student loan calculator


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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