Managing Student Loans

The state of Georgia actively encourages students to participate in a college education, with a number of initiatives which are aimed at retaining Georgia students within the State after graduation. Single parents who face the additional financial burden of balancing household costs with college costs have a number of options available in Georgia which may help to reduce the overall expenses associated with obtaining a college degree. Whilst the initiatives are not directly targeted at single parents they may well fit the qualifying criterion of certain programs.

The first step for the single parent applying for financial aid in Georgia is to complete and submit the standard FAFSA application which all students must complete. This allows the student to apply for federal student loans but also gives access to the federal Pell grant which is awarded to students with the greatest financial need.

Students in Georgia who qualify for the Pell grant are then also eligible to be considered for the Georgia LEAP grant which is a needs based grant which provides financial assistance to Georgia resident students that can demonstrate substantial financial need. This need will be established from the information provided on the FAFSA application. Single parents often typically fall into this needs group.

Additional information about further grants and scholarships available within Georgia can be found on the GA College 411 web site which also contains information about the Georgia lottery funded Hope Scholarship. The Georgia Hope Promise Teacher Scholarship provides assistance to those who aspire to teach within Georgia’s public sector schools.

Currently Georgia also offers service canceable loans. These are similar in nature to the federal forgiveness program which forgives federal student loans. However the Georgia canceable loans are aimed at students who identify in advance of study that they plan to work within the public sector upon graduation. Georgia State legislature identifies what it deems critical areas for public sector employees and opportunities are available within the teaching and nursing profession, as well as other fields such as dental hygiene, dietetics, and social engineering. The grants are worth an additional $1500-$3000 per annum but are subject to change. They are available alongside federal loans.

Federal student loans are available to single parent students in Georgia who may well be able to obtain the subsidized Stafford loan on which the government assumes the interest payments during college years. Students who are interested in pursuing a public sector career within Georgia can really reduce the total burden of borrowing to finance college by taking advantage of the opportunities within the State, combined with federal loans.  

If Georgia State grants and scholarships are applied for early and granted it would really reduce the prospect of single parent students graduating with the high level of debt usually associated with a college education, and the options which the State provides are definitley in the students interest to pursue.

Managing Student Loans

After years of undergraduate and graduate study newly qualified health professionals will leave full time education with a high level of loan debt to service. Many may qualify for high salaries which enable to them to make in roads into paying off these loans, yet some may prefer to dedicate some time to a program which allows them to both serve in a priority sector whilst having their loans repaid by a federal program.

The Indian Health Service is dedicated to improving the ‘physical, mental, social and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest levels’. The federal health program for American Indians and Alaska Natives operates a loan forgiveness program for loans accrued whilst establishing professional health credentials.

Only health professional related loans are included in the program but if an undergraduate student loan was used to obtain a degree which was a necessary prerequisite of a graduate degree then this can be included for forgiveness too. Only loans which have not been consolidated with non health related loans are eligible to be included, so those considering applying to the IHS program should be careful to study the requirements before consolidating any outstanding loans.

The IHS offers this loan repayment program for health professionals in exchange for a minimum two year commitment to the position offered. Anyone can apply to the program provided they meet the eligibility requirements although priority will be given to any Native American or native Alaskans who apply.

To become eligible for the program the applicant must demonstrate that they can commit to two years of continuous full time clinical practice for the IHS and have a degree in a health profession. In addition they need a valid state licence to practice as a health professional, or be in the process of obtaining one.

Each year the priorities of the IHS may vary in the type of qualified professionals they need to recruit but in general they need physicians, nurses, dentists and hygienists, plus a number of other health professionals. Those who qualify for the program will serve at IHS approved priority sites.

The loan repayment program awards up to $20,000 per annum for two years, which must be used to repay the loans. In addition to this a salary is paid. Those who sign up for the program may extend their commitment if they wish until all their qualifying health professional loans are paid off. This is an excellent program for those who wish to gain experience in the public sector arena of health at the start of their career before other pressing financial commitments take hold.