California student loan forgiveness

SStudent borrowers living in California have access to several loan forgiveness opportunities in the state. Depending on your profession, employer, and willingness to serve in specific areas of the state, there might be a California student loan forgiveness program for you.

Find out how California student loan forgiveness works and the many state programs that can help you reduce your student debt.

How does California student loan forgiveness work?

Student loan forgiveness programs vary in terms of eligibility criteria and award limits. But in general, to qualify for a student loan forgiveness program in California, you will need to:

  • Provide proof that you are a California resident or licensed to practice in your field within the state.
  • Meet a set of criteria for your remaining student loans to be forgiven. This often includes a commitment to service, such as working in a California community in need, especially for a loan forgiveness programs for health service providers.
  • Confirm that your type of student loan is eligible for the California Student Loan Forgiveness Program you are pursuing. Some programs might allow borrowers to include federal and private student loan debt while others might only allow certain federal loans.

Borrowers who maintain their program eligibility, have qualifying student loans, and fulfill the service agreement may have their remaining student debt forgiven.

9 Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in California

Here is a list of California loan forgiveness programs that are available to Golden State residents.

1. Paramedic Loan Reimbursement Program

Discount amount: Up to $16,000

County Medical Services Program (CMSP) Allied Healthcare Loan Repayment Program (AHLRP) offers up to $16,000 in student loan forgiveness for licensed paramedics in California. Eligible professions include physician assistants, anesthesia technicians, audiologists and more.

To be eligible, healthcare providers must provide a minimum of 32 hours of direct patient care each week at a CMSP facility in a participating county for 12 months.

2. Baccalaureate Nursing Loan Repayment Program

Discount amount: Up to $10,000

Bachelor of Science in Nursing Loan Repayment Program (BSNLRP) participants can earn up to $10,000 in loan forgiveness after a 12-month service contract. It is available to California registered nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

Participants are required to log in at least 32 hours per week for direct patient care at an eligible state site.

Related: 5 Ways to Get Student Loan Forgiveness for Nurses

3. California Dental Association (CDA) Student Loan Repayment Grant

Discount amount: Up to $250,000

The CDA Student Loan Repayment Grant is available to graduates who have recently completed dental school or a dental specialty program and are eligible to practice dentistry in California.

The 2022 grant offers an annual scholarship of $50,000 over five years for a maximum limit of $250,000.

Eligible loans include federal and private student loans. Grant recipients must agree to provide dental services in California’s underserved communities.

4. CalHealthCares Loan Repayment Program

Discount amount: Up to $300,000

CalHealthCares Loan Repayment Program offers a significant student loan forgiveness opportunity to licensed dentists and physicians in California. Program participants must have graduated within the last five years or will soon be completing a residency or fellowship.

Additionally, borrowers must agree to a five-year term of service and meet Medi-Cal’s patient load requirements to qualify for loan forgiveness.

5. California State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP)

Discount amount: Up to $110,000

The California SLRP is available to a variety of healthcare providers licensed and able to practice in California. Borrowers must not already participate in another agency’s service obligation or have breached a service agreement in the past. Additionally, participants must not have a federal debt judgment and be current on child support obligations.

After two years of full-time commitment, recipients can receive $50,000 in California student loan forgiveness. Recipients may extend their service commitment for up to four additional years at various scholarship amounts for a maximum program amount of $110,000.

Those who participate in the program on a half-time basis are required to complete an initial four-year obligation for a $50,000 reward. Recipients can also extend their contract for up to four additional years to earn different reward amounts.

6. County Medical Services Program (CMSP) Loan Repayment Program

Discount amount: Up to $50,000

Attendees of the CMSP Loan Repayment Program must commit to working at an accredited facility in one of the 35 CMSP participating counties. Eligible occupations include general dentists, primary care nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, as well as certain other medical care providers.

There are two tiers of rewards depending on whether you serve part-time or full-time. Full-time providers who complete a two-year service commitment can receive up to $50,000. Part-time providers can receive up to $25,000 in rebate after completing a two-year service contract.

7. Licensed Mental Health Service Provider (LMH) Training Program

Discount amount: Up to $30,000

The LMH Service Provider Training Program is available to licensed mental health providers in California. In exchange for student loan forgiveness of up to $30,000, recipients must agree to provide two years of direct mental health care and at least 32 hours per week at an eligible facility.

8. Licensed Professional Nurse Loan Repayment Program (LVNLRP)

Discount amount: Up to $6,000

The LVNLRP is specifically designed for the practice of Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN) in California. In exchange for a 12-month service commitment, providing at least 32 hours of direct patient care at an approved site, participants receive up to $6,000 in loan forgiveness.

9. Steven M. Thompson Corps of Physicians Loan Repayment Program (STLRP)

Discount amount: Up to $105,000

STLRP is designed to attract qualified, licensed California physicians and surgeons to work in shortage areas. After completing a three-year full-time service contract in underserved communities at an eligible facility, participants can receive up to $105,000 in rebate.

As a general rule, physicians must practice ambulatory care and provide at least 32 hours of direct patient care per week. Obstetricians must provide at least 21 hours of direct patient care each week.

Other Loan Forgiveness Options

If you don’t qualify for the California student loan forgiveness programs above, there are a handful of federal loan forgiveness options to explore, such as:

  • Civil Service Loan Waiver (PSLF): After making at least 120 qualifying payments for eligible Federal Direct Loans, the remaining balance of your loan can be canceled via PSLF. During repayment, however, you must be enrolled in a income-contingent reimbursement plan (IDR) and work for a government or non-profit employer.
  • Forgiveness through IDR: You can get federal loan forgiveness by enrolling in an IDR plan, regardless of your employer status. If you qualify for IDR, you may qualify for loan forgiveness on your remaining federal debt after 20 or 25 years of payments.
  • Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program: Teachers who serve at least five years in a low-income school or educational service agency may apply for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. It offers up to $17,500 in rebate on qualifying subsidized and unsubsidized direct loans and Stafford loans.
  • National Health Services Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program: The NHSC offers four reimbursement programs for healthcare providers in several disciplines and specialties, from primary care physicians to therapists, midwives and physician assistants. Rewards and service commitments vary by program.

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Clifton L. Boyd