Taking out student loans is becoming increasingly necessary in order to afford college, but paying off your debt may still feel impossible. Keep reading to learn about the available grants to pay off student loans.
Grants to pay off student loans are a unique and specific form of financial aid. Unlike most scholarships, which often can only be used for tuition, grant programs for student loans can help current students or graduates pay down loans taken out for college expenses.
Due to the rising costs of college, many students are forced to take out loans. There are currently 45 million student loan borrowers in the US alone, owing a record $1.71 trillion. The average borrower owes more than $37,000 and the crisis is continuing to grow. Student debt in the US is growing at a rate six times faster than the economy, leaving many students wary of taking out loans and pursuing higher education.
In addition to borrowing for undergraduate degrees, many students also take out loans for graduate programs. Colleges often offer less need-based financial aid to graduate students, leading many to take out law school loans, veterinarian school debt, or loans for medical or dental school.
Whether one takes out federal student loan debt or private loans, student loan repayment can be very difficult. As a result, 10.8% of recent graduates and students who left school default on their loans. Additionally, 11.1% of all student loans in the US are at least 90 days delinquent.
Your repayment period may vary based on the type of loan repayment program you're on, often ranging between 10-30 years. The average borrower takes 18.5 years to pay off debt, allowing many people to be debt-free by their 40s.
However, many people struggle to pay off their loans by then, resulting in there being 14.2 million borrowers in the 35 to 49 age range and 2.3 million borrowers who are 62 or older. While some of these older borrowers are non-traditional students who completed their degree later in life or have taken out debt for their children's college costs, many older borrowers have simply not been able to repay their loans.
High interest rates on private loans can quickly make student debt overwhelming and impossible to pay off, especially if you struggle to find a good job immediately after graduating.
Luckily, repayment grants can be found through the federal government or through programs such as Bold.org. Keep reading to find student loan grants available for graduates and for current college students.
Many scholarships and grants are created with the intention of helping current students pay tuition. As a result, you may feel as though there's a lack of opportunities for students and graduates who have student loan debt. Luckily, there are plenty of available grants to pay off student loans. You can get started with the opportunities below!
This $10,000 award is exclusively open to people with student loan debt. Whether you're a current student with loans or a graduate still paying off debt, this grant is a perfect opportunity for you. You can apply by clicking the link above.
This grant is worth $3,300 and is open to any graduate student or undergraduate senior who has student debt. Graduates with loans and those who took out loans and dropped out are also eligible to apply.
This grant is worth $1,ooo, and is offered by Nitro, a consumer finance resource. College graduates who have loans are eligible to apply for this opportunity.
This grant is worth $500 and is available to high school seniors who are trying to avoid taking on debt during college.
This opportunity is worth $500 and is available to a more niche group of students. Graduates who have student loan debt and are currently working in pediatric medicine can apply, and applicants in the Pacific Northwest are preferred.
This grant will have less competition due to its eligibility requirements, so you should definitely consider applying if you qualify!
Some grants to pay off student loans are only open to graduates who have debt, but there are also opportunities for current students who have taken out loans. The Forget Your Student Debt. No-Essay Grant and @ESPDaniella Debt Grant listed above are just two examples.
This scholarship will award two winners with $5,000 each. Graduates and current college students with loans who are/were first-generation college students and are African American or Hispanic/Latino may apply.
This grant is worth $1,000 and is an act of appreciation for all nurses do, especially in light of the pandemic. Nursing students and current nurses can use the money towards tuition or student loans.
This $500 grant is open to current students who have debt or expect to, as well as graduates with student debt and non-students who took on debt to fund a family member's application.
This $500 award is open to active, former, or future military service members who are US citizens or permanent legal residents. Whether a current student or not, this money can be used to pay off student debt.
There are many different scholarship programs and sources of grants available. For federal aid, you can begin the application process by filling out the FAFSA each year.
You can also look for private scholarships and grants on Bold.org. You can start applying by clicking on any of the scholarships listed above and creating your free account. To apply, just click "apply now." Some scholarships will require essays but many student loan grants are easy, no-essay scholarships, requiring just a few clicks to apply.
Before applying, make sure your profile is displaying your up-to-date information, including the remaining balance for each loan servicer you've borrowed from and any other financial criteria, such as low-income status, that you'd like to report.
Pell Grants are a type of federal award available to students with financial need. You can apply for a Pell Grant by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and you may receive a grant based on your expected family contribution, your school's cost of attending, and other information.
The amount offered through Pell Grants changes each year, and the maximum Pell Grant amount will be $6,495 during the 2022-2023 award year. You may receive a smaller Pell Grant based on your exact financial situation or you could receive an even larger grant if you lost a parent in Iraq or Afghanistan after 9/11. You can learn more about federal aid here.
Having student loan debt doesn't disqualify you from federal grant programs, though going into default could make you ineligible.
Student loans are a form of debt taken out to pay for college tuition and other education-related expenses. There are multiple types of student debt, including private student loans provided by a lender and federal loans that come from the federal government. After filling out the FAFSA, your aid package will likely include an option to borrow a certain amount from the government.
Grants and student loans are similar in the sense that grants can also come from both private and federal programs and are used for education costs. However, grants are a form of aid that doesn't need to be paid back, and some grants are even designed to pay off student debt.
Unfortunately, defaulting on your student loans makes you ineligible for federal aid, such as federal loans and Pell Grants. If you have defaulted in the past but consolidated your debt or otherwise gotten out of default, you will become eligible for federal assistance again.
While you won't be eligible for federal grants or aid if you're currently in default, you may still qualify for private grants. Most private grants to pay off student loans will still be available to you even if your loans are in default, though you should always check the eligibility requirements just to be sure.
While student loans may seem like a source of income that would need to be reported on your tax return, they don't count as taxable income. Since student loan debt is meant to be repaid, the money doesn't count as income so you shouldn't report it as income when filing your taxes.
Grants also aren't considered taxable income in most cases. As long as you use the money for education costs, such as tuition or books, and the amount received doesn't exceed the cost of your education expenses, then the grant money is tax-free.
Yes, there are many different grants to pay off student loans available, and most grants can be used towards both private and federal loans. While some scholarships and grants are only available to current students with tuition bills, there is plenty of grant money set aside for students and graduates with loan debt.
Guidelines for using grants towards student loan debt vary based on the source of your grant. In most situations, the grant money will be provided directly to you, making it your responsibility to get the money to your lenders. Federal grants will be sent to your school, and then will be applied by your school, paid to you, or used in both ways.
On Bold.org, for example, grant money will be sent by check after you sign an agreement to use the money for approved purposes. Once you use the award money, you'll send a grant reporting form showing that you used the money for your loans or other preapproved costs.
Using grants to pay off student loans is a great strategy, but you may still have leftover student debt. Depending on your financial situation, a loan repayment program may make your debt more manageable.
There are many different types of student loan repayment assistance available, including income-driven repayment plans which alter your monthly payments based on your income.
Depending on your area of work, there may be loan forgiveness options available. Teachers, medical workers, and public defenders are just some examples of groups who can take advantage of public service loan forgiveness, but there are also loan repayment programs and grant forgiveness opportunities available in other fields as well.