Can You Use Scholarships or Grants to Pay Off Student Loans?March 27, 2022
Updated April 26, 2022
The average cost of college has been steadily rising, so it’s not surprising that the average student loan debt in the U.S. has also gone up.
Normally, scholarships are designed to cover tuition and other education expenses. But is it possible to use scholarships to pay off student loans? Actually yes, depending on the conditions of the scholarship. However, there are more grants and student loan repayment programs that are available to help people pay off student loans faster.
Let’s take a look at some of the programs and grants to pay off student loans.
Grants to Pay Off Student Loans in 2022
Different grants are available to help pay off student loans. These often operate similarly to scholarships to pay off student loans, since you usually don’t have to pay the money back.
NitroCollege $2,000 College Repayment Grant
If you have student loans, you can enter to win the NitroCollege $2,000 College Repayment Grant to pay off a portion of your debt. It’s offered every month to a different borrower. Payment is made directly to your loan servicer, rather than being sent to you.
- Eligibility: Open to any U.S. citizen who has student loans. Parents who have taken on debt to help pay for their child’s schooling are also eligible.
- Amount: $2,000
- Deadline: End of every month
Course Hero $4,000 College Giveaway
Course Hero offers ongoing sweepstakes for students to pay off student loan debt. It’s a sweepstake with different deadlines. You have to provide study documents for use on Course Hero as part of the entry.
- Eligibility: Open to individuals who are at least eighteen years old, residents of the U.S. or the District of Columbia (except for residents physically residing in Rhode Island who are not eligible to enter), and currently enrolled in an accredited U.S. college or university.
- Amount: $4,000
- Deadline: End of every month
Bold.org Forget Your Student Debt. No-Essay Grant.
If you have student loan debt and don’t want to write an essay, the Forget Your Student Debt. No-Essay Grant is for you. You can apply with a rolling deadline until December 2022.
- Eligibility: Open to anyone who has student loan debt. Adults who have started their careers and are no longer in school are eligible.
- Amount: $10,000
- Deadline: Every month until the award is made on December 1
Student Loan Hero $1,000 Smart Money Giveaway
If you want money to help repay your debt, Student Loan Hero has a $1,000 giveaway you can enter to win.
- Eligibility: Open to anyone 18 or older (including both students and their parents)
- Amount: $1,000
- Deadline: End of every month
Student Loan Repayment Assistance Programs
Rather than entering sweepstakes, you can apply for student loan assistance programs based on your profession. Various ways exist for you to get the help you need.
Student Loan Repayment Assistance for Teachers
If you’re looking for student loan forgiveness for teachers, you have a couple of options, in addition to state programs.
- Teacher Loan Forgiveness: You could receive up to $17,500 toward student loan repayment when you teach certain subjects or in specific areas.
- Perkins Loan Cancellation for Teachers: For each year you teach in certain areas, you could have the ability to have a portion of your Perkins Loan canceled, up to 100%.
Student Loan Repayment Assistance for Healthcare Professionals
Different loan repayment assistance programs are available for healthcare professionals.
- National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program: Depending on your profession and where you practice, as well as whether you work full-time or part-time, you could get between $25,000 and $50,000 toward reducing your student loan debt.
- NHSC Students to Service Loan Repayment Program: Depending on your specialty and profession, if you serve four years in an area that’s considered a shortage area, you could receive up to $120,000 in loan repayment help.
- Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program: You could receive up to 85% of your debt from nursing school paid off when you work in an area experiencing a shortage of nurses. This includes private loans as well.
Student Loan Repayment Assistance for Lawyers
For lawyers who are involved in the public good, it’s possible to find student loan forgiveness for lawyers to get help with some of that law school debt.
- Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program: Every spring, attorneys at the Department of Justice can apply to have loan payments matched up to $6,000 per year, with a lifetime limit of $60,000.
- John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program: Money is provided to states to offer help to public defenders or state prosecutors. Each state’s program is different.
Military Student Loan Repayment Assistance
Various programs are offered for military and veteran student loan forgiveness, as well as for student loan forgiveness for military spouses. These programs are often based on the branch of military service and can result in partial or total forgiveness. Additionally, there are student loan discharges for veterans or military service members experiencing permanent disability.
- Army Loan Repayment Program: You could get forgiveness for your student loans if you enlist in the military after going to college and have student loan debt.
- Army Reserve College Loan Repayment Program: You could get up to $65,000 in student loan forgiveness depending on how long you serve and other qualifications.
- Iraq-Afghanistan Service Grant: If your parent was a member of the military and died while serving in Afghanistan or Iraq, you could be eligible for this grant.
State-Sponsored Student Loan Repayment Assistance Programs
In addition to these programs at the federal level, many states have their own student loan repayment assistance programs aimed at professionals they want to attract to the state. Check with your state to see what’s available, but here are a couple of examples to give you an idea:
- New York State Child Welfare Worker Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program: You could get up to $10,000 per year for up to five years of employment in a New York State child welfare agency.
- Maine Alfond Leaders Program: You could get up to $60,000 in student loan repayment assistance for people in STEM professions who live and work in Maine.
Other Options for Student Loan Debt Relief
If you don’t qualify for a grant or scholarship you can use to pay off student loans, or if you don’t qualify for one of these loan repayment assistance programs, you can use other ways to reduce your student loan debt, save money on interest, get more manageable payments, or pay off your debt faster.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is a program aimed to provide student loan forgiveness for non-profit employees. While working for qualified employers like nonprofits, government agencies, and even some hospitals, you could have your federal loan balance paid off after you make 120 qualifying payments.
Income-Driven Repayment Plans
The government offers different Income-Driven Repayment Plans, based on your discretionary income. Depending on the plan, your monthly payment might be limited to 10% or 15% of your discretionary income, making your payments more manageable. After 20 or 25 years, you could have your remaining federal loan balance discharged.
- Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (REPAYE Plan): If you have eligible federal student loans, you can make payments under this plan.
- Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (PAYE Plan): You must meet eligibility requirements to qualify for this plan.
- Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR Plan): You must meet eligibility requirements to qualify for this plan.
- Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR Plan): If you have eligible federal student loans, you can make payments under this plan.
Student Loan Refinancing
In some cases, if you don’t qualify for PSLF or Income-Driven Repayment plans, it can make sense to lower your student loan interest rate through refinancing. The benefits of refinancing student loans include getting all your loans in one place, a potentially lower interest rate, and the potential to get rid of your debt faster.
Employer Assisted Student Loan Repayment Programs
Depending on your employer, you might be able to get help to repay student loans. Some employers offer student loan payment matching and other programs designed to help you handle your debt. Check with your employer to see if that’s an option.
ELFI For Business & Student Loan Refinancing
ELFI offers student loan refinancing, which can help those with debt lower their interest rates and payments and potentially get rid of debt faster.*
Additionally, ELFI for Business is an employer-assisted student loan repayment program that is designed to help employers provide student loan repayment. ELFI’s employer student loan repayment program can help employers attract and retain top talent.
Contact ELFI to learn more about ELFI’s employer student loan repayment program or use the student loan refinancing calculator to see how much you could save on your student loan repayment.*