One in five American adults has some form of student debt.
While the vast majority owe less than $50,000 each, the total amount of student loan debt currently stands at a mind-blowing $1.47 trillion.
Senator Elizabeth Warren’s plans to wipe out student debt could be the answer to how to pay off student loans fast. But in the meantime, we’re stuck with conventional ways to pay off student loans, such as increasing repayment amounts or starting a side hustle.
That is, unless, you’re open to more creative ways to reduce your student debt…
Check out this list of unconventional ways to pay off your student loans.
Work for the National Health Service Corps
If you’re a healthcare grad, chances are you have even more student loan debt than other grads. You may have even had to take out a personal loan to fund your studies, as this information will help you learn.
Which is why the National Health Service Corps Repayment Program helps give healthcare grads a break. The program offers medical, mental health, and dental clinicians up to $50,000 towards student loan repayments. In exchange, you have to commit to working at an NHSC site helping underprivileged communities for two years.
And, if you should choose to stay on after the initial service commitment, you’ll receive extra help with paying off student loans.
Move to Rural Kansas
In an attempt to discourage population decline in Kansas, the Rural Opportunity Zone program is offering Americans the chance to move to rural parts of the state in exchange for lower living costs and a great quality of life.
The zones also have authority to offer student loan payments of up to $15,000 as well as tax waivers and free land.
To be eligible, you must have a college degree and an outstanding student loan balance. You also need to start living in one of the rural opportunity zones on or after the date on which the county joins the student loan program.
Work for the US Office of Personnel Management
Many people make the mistake of equating a government career with a high salary.
While that’s not the case, working for a government agency could be the best way to pay off student loans. That’s because the US Office of Personnel Management makes every employee eligible to have their loans paid by their employer.
This loan payment scheme involves the government agency paying the loan holder up to $10,000 for an employee in a calendar year. This is up to a total maximum of $60,000.
Move to Niagara Falls
If living in rural Kansas for a student loan break doesn’t appeal to you, how about moving to Niagara Falls, NY?
Following a significant population decline in recent years, the city of Niagara Falls has established a program to encourage young professionals to move to the area. It’s hoping that this will boost the local economy beyond tourism and help the once-thriving industrial city maintain its ‘city’ status.
The program offers a total of $7,000 to pay off student loans to those who move to the area and work for two years. To qualify for the reimbursement, you need to have a two or four-year degree from an accredited school. You also have to rent a home within a designated area of the city.
It’s not a huge amount. But if you don’t have any major life commitments right now, it could be worth considering a temporary relocation as a way to shave off some of your student debt.
Volunteer Through Zero Bound
As a way to reinvest education and skills into the community and relieve the financial burden of student debt, Zero Bound founder Sabrina Norrie set up this program to connect graduates with sponsored volunteering opportunities.
The premise is that students and graduates sign up for volunteering projects listed by Zero Bound’s non-profit partners. After completing each volunteering task, Zero Bound transfers money to the volunteer’s student loan account.
For those of you who’d rather contribute to a cause you believe in rather than work a side hustle for extra cash, this is a great way to do good in the community and cut your students debts at the same time!
Work as a Vet in Underserved Areas
If you’ve studied to be a veterinarian and are wondering how to pay off student loans faster, the USDA Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program could be the answer to all your debt problems.
The program pays up to $25,000 per year for qualified vets who agree to work in designated areas with shortages of veterinarians. You also have to commit to three years working in one of these underserved areas. But that does mean getting as much as $75,000 in tuition reimbursements, which isn’t a bad deal at all.
Become a Young Farmer in New York
The agricultural sector is one of the cornerstones of the US economy. But the state of New York has come to see that the sector can only thrive if they give their farmers the support they need.
Which is where the New York Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Program comes in. The program gives young farmers a chance to start off their agricultural career with a clean slate. Although, to be eligible you must have a college degree from a New York college and agree to operate a farm within the state on a full-time basis for five years.
A farmer’s life might not be for everyone. But if you’re open to new challenges and like the idea of working outdoors for a few years, it’s certainly worth considering as a way to wave goodbye to student debt.
Unconventional Ways to Pay Off Student Loans
Worrying about how to pay off student loans student debts can make it hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel for many American graduates.
Of course, these unconventional ways to pay off student loans might not be for everyone. But it’s encouraging to know that there are ways to reduce your debt faster if you’re open to new ideas.
For more money management tips and advice, check out our other posts on loans.