Texas Student Loan Forgiveness: How to Qualify
Updated: Oct 23
They say that everything is bigger in Texas. And while the state's student loan borrowers don't have the greatest average student debt of any state in the United States, it is still a large issue in The Lonestar State.
Luckily, TX does have a number of student loan forgiveness programs designed to help residents receive a bit of assistance.
Student loan debt in Texas
According to Student Loan Hero, the average borrower in Texas owes over $31,000 in outstanding debt, taking into account both federal and private loans. With over 3.6 million borrowers, Texans hold a cumulative student debt balance of over $111 billion.
Of course, this figure can vary greatly by county, especially since Texas is such a large state. The counties* with the largest outstanding debt obligations per borrower are:
Fort Bend County ($38,265)
Dallas County ($35,882)
Brazoria County ($35,825)
Denton County ($35,336)
Travis County ($34,704)
*Only counties with more than 300,000 people were considered for this analysis, completed by Student Loan Hero.
Student loan forgiveness programs in Texas
At this time, there are 6 state-specific loan assistance programs in Texas for healthcare providers, college faculty, teachers, and lawyers to take advantage of.
Forgiveness for healthcare providers in TX
At time of writing, there are four different programs across the state for healthcare providers to utilize. In no particular order, they are:
Physician Education LRAP
Loan Repayment Program for Mental Health Professionals
Nursing Faculty LRAP
1. Physician Education Loan Repayment Program
Designed to encourage physicians to work in Texas' Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), the Physician Education Loan Repayment Program is available to physicians practicing the following types of outpatient medicine:
Psychiatrists and geriatricians are also eligible, though their services don't need to be provided in an outpatient capacity. Beyond practice type, you'll also need to meet the following eligibility requirements:
Be a United States citizen or legal and permanent resident
Be a fully licensed physician through the Texas Medical Board
Serve four years at a designated HPSA facility
Provide health care services to Medicaid and CHIP (children) members
Not be serving another commitment
The amount of forgiveness you may be eligible to receive is slightly complicated to calculate, but you may be able to earn $180,000 in forgiveness or up to 100% of your debt, according to the following schedule
$30,000 after year 1 - 16% if less than $180,000 balance
$40,000 after year 2 - 22% if less than $180,000 balance
$50,000 after year 3 - 28% if less than $180,000 balance
$60,000 after year 4 - 34% if less than $180,000 balance
You can find more program details here.
2. Loan Repayment Program for Mental Health Professionals
Much like the physician program, this Mental Health LRAP is also designed to increase access to health care services (mental health in this instance) across the state's Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas (MHPSA).
Providers eligible to join this program include psychologists, psychiatrists, licensed counselors, licensed social workers, licensed therapists, and advanced practice nurses, if board certified in psychiatric or mental health nursing.
Eligibility is similar to the Physician Education LRAP, but requires five years of service (rather than 4) at a federally designated MHPSA or participating correctional facility in a MHPSA.
You'll also need to:
Provide mental health services to Texas Medicaid/CHIP patients
Not be serving another commitment to provide mental health services
Generally, after you complete each year of service, you will receive some forgiveness: 10% of your eligible debt will be forgiven during year one, 15% in year 2, 20% in year 3, 25% in year 4, and 30% in year five, up to the following maximum lifetime benefits:
$160,000 for psychiatrists
$80,000 for psychologists, social workers, counselors, and qualifying therapists with doctoral degrees
$60,000 for advanced practice nurses
$40,000 for social workers, counselors, and qualifying therapists without doctoral degrees
3. Nursing Faculty Loan Repayment Assistance Program
Texas' Nursing Faculty Loan Repayment Assistance Program is intended to increase the quality of nursing education statewide by incentivizing talented nurses to join nursing schools and colleges as nursing faculty members.
Interested nurses may be able to take advantage of the program if they:
Hold a minimum of a master's degrees in nursing
Are licensed by the Texas Board of Nursing
Apply for repayment assistance after serving at least a year as a faculty member within a nursing program and work in a role that requires at least a master's degree
Nurses that are employed on a full-time basis may be eligible to receive up to $7,000 annually in student loan repayment assistance, up to a maximum of $35,000 over five years. Those that are employed on a part-time basis are eligible to receive half of the annual benefit.
Forgiveness granted under this program is reported to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
Forgiveness for college faculty in Texas
At this time, there is an additional program open to qualifying Texas college faculty.
1. Border County Doctoral Faculty Education Loan Repayment Program
Aiming to recruit those with doctoral degrees to join college faculties in a full-time capacity, Texas' Border County Doctoral Faculty Education LRAP is available to those willing to teach at the following institutions:
El Paso Community College
Laredo Community College
South TX College
SW TX Junior College
Sul Ross State University
Texas Southmost College
Texas State Technical College - Harlingen
Texas A&M Int'l University
UT - El Paso
UT - Rio Grande Valley
To be eligible, individuals should meet the following criteria:
Have attained a doctorate degree honor after September 1st 1994
Be employed full time in a doctoral faculty member role at one of the above institutions
Program participants are eligible to receive $5,000 per year in annual loan repayment, and may participate for up to 10 years. Forgiveness received through the program is reportable to the IRS.
Forgiveness for Texas teachers
Teach for Texas Loan Repayment Assistance Program
Math and Science Scholars Loan Repayment Program
1. Teach for TX LRAP (TFTLRAP)
This next program is intended to recruit teachers two working communities across the state with the teacher shortage. To be eligible for the Teach for Texas program, you will need to be certified to teach in a critical shortage field and teaching in that field for at least a year in a public school by the time you apply.
As of 2022, current designated teacher shortages include:
ESL (Pre-K to grade 12)
Career and Technical Education (grades 7-12)
Technology and Computer Science (Pre-K to grade 12)
Mathematics (grades 7-12)
Special Education (Pre-K to grade 12)
The program will reward eligible teachers with up to $2,500, though you can participate in the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness program at the same time.
2. Math and Science Scholars LRAP
Teachers in The Lone Star State that were mathematics or science majors in college may utilize this program if they agree to teach one of those two subjects in a state Title I school for four years. The Math and Science Scholars LRAP comes with a maximum reward of $10,000 and can be accessed by teachers that meet these eligibility requirements:
Have graduated with at least a Bachelor's degree in mathematics or a science with a GPA of at least 3.0
Be a fully certified teacher in the state of Texas to teach either mathematics or science
Working a full-time classroom job at a Title I school
Be a United States citizen
Like many other programs on this list, loan repayment awards are reported to the Internal Revenue Service.
Federal student loan forgiveness programs for Texans
Texans that either don't qualify for or opt not to use any of Texas's state-specific student loan forgiveness programs may instead opt to participate in one of the Department of Education's federal student loan forgiveness programs.
Federal programs worth considering include:
Teacher Loan Forgiveness (TLF)
Perkins Loan Cancellation
Student loan forgiveness tips
We've been in the student loan space for some time now, and we've seen borrowers make every mistake in the book. And what so many borrowers don't realize is that there can be really serious repercussions if you partake in an assistance program that isn't right for you.
Keep in mind that each and every program is going to have two sets of requirements - one to qualify, and one to actually earn loan repayment assistance after you've gained entry. Not satisfying the requirements of a program could lead you to repaying all benefits received, potentially with interest.
We use the following list of tips with our clients to help them make the best decisions possible:
Ask yourself whether you are prepared to meet any service requirements that a program may have: Don't just jump at an opportunity because of the financial benefits without reviewing the service requirements.
Understand whether refinancing may be an option for you in the future: If you have private debt, you won't qualify for any major federal repayment assistance. But refinancing is always an option. Refinancing is also an option for any of your federal loans too. But once you've moved forward with it, there is no going back, so be sure to do your homework.
Download our student loan calculator
Unsure as to what strategy may be best for you? Consider downloading our free student loan calculator and answer some questions for us to see your projected monthly payments, debt-free year, and forgiveness balance across the following programs:
Pay as You Earn
Revised Pay as You Earn
We can likelyf save you thousands of dollars!
The bottom line
Texas offers many student debt forgiveness programs for its residents to leverage as they repay what they owe. With some advanced research and homework, you'll likely be able to save thousands of dollars off your repayment.
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