Student Loan Forgiveness in North Carolina

Student loans can be a huge financial burden for many people. The average student loan debt for graduates in North Carolina is over $30,000. This makes paying off student loans difficult, especially for new graduates starting their careers. Luckily, some options for student loan forgiveness are available to North Carolina residents. Here is an overview of the main student loan forgiveness programs available in North Carolina.

Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

The federal government offers several student loan forgiveness programs that North Carolina residents may qualify for. These programs forgive borrowers who work in certain occupations or meet other criteria.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

The PSLF program forgives the remaining balance on federal Direct Loans for borrowers who make 120 qualifying monthly payments while working full-time for a qualifying employer. Qualifying employers include government organizations at any level (federal, state, local, or tribal) and 501(c)(3) nonprofits. To qualify for PSLF in North Carolina, borrowers must work for an eligible employer in the state. PSLF forgives 100% of the remaining loan balance after 120 qualifying payments.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness

The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program offers loan forgiveness of up to $17,500 for Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans to qualifying teachers. To be eligible, you must teach full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in a low-income school or educational service agency in North Carolina. The loan forgiveness can be up to $5,000 for teaching in these schools or agencies. If you are a highly qualified math or science teacher, you may qualify for up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness.

Income-Driven Repayment Forgiveness

Federal income-driven repayment plans like Pay As You Earn, Revised Pay As You Earn, Income-Based Repayment, and Income-Contingent Repayment can provide loan forgiveness after 20-25 years of payments. Borrowers in North Carolina can qualify for loan forgiveness under these plans if they work in the state. The forgiven loan amount is considered taxable income so that borrowers will owe taxes on the amount forgiven.

North Carolina State Loan Forgiveness Programs

Along with federal programs, North Carolina offers some student loan forgiveness programs for state residents.

NC Teaching Fellows Program

The NC Teaching Fellows Program provides $8,250 per year for up to four years to cover tuition, fees, and books. Recipients commit to teaching for four years in North Carolina after graduation. The four-year forgiveness obligation can be reduced by one year for a master’s degree in certain fields. If the teaching obligation is not met, the funds convert to loans that must be repaid.

Forgivable Education Loans for Service (FELS)

FELS provides financial assistance to North Carolina residents pursuing careers in critical employment shortage professions. It offers up to $10,000 per year for up to four years. Recipients must commit to working in the state for up to four years after graduation. Each year of service forgiveness is one year of the loan. If the service obligation is not met, the loan must be repaid at an interest rate of 10%.

Who is Eligible for Student Loan Forgiveness in North Carolina?

Here are some of the main categories of borrowers eligible for forgiveness in NC:

  • Teachers at Title 1 schools or in high-need subjects
  • Nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers
  • Social workers and psychologists
  • Government and nonprofit employees
  • Law enforcement officers and first responders
  • Service members and veterans
  • STEM professionals
  • Attorneys who serve the public interest
  • Pharmacists in underserved communities
  • Dentists who accept Medicaid patients

People working in many public service fields in North Carolina may qualify for federal or state forgiveness programs if the other requirements are met.

Researching the options can help NC residents with student loans find programs suited for their employment and career goals. Loan forgiveness can ease financial stress and allow service-focused professionals to follow their passion.

How to Apply for Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in North Carolina

Applying for North Carolina student loan forgiveness programs takes time and paperwork. Here is a step-by-step overview of how to use:

Step 1: Determine Eligibility

First, make sure you meet the eligibility criteria for the forgiveness program. Check that your loans, job, and repayment plan qualify.

Step 2: Contact Loan Servicer

Contact your federal loan servicer for details on applying. Ask any questions you have about qualifications or required documents.

Step 3: Complete and Submit Application

Request and complete the forgiveness application. Submit it along with the required documentation to your loan servicer.

Step 4: Certify Employment

You must certify qualifying employment or service. Your employer may need to complete part of the paperwork.

Step 5: Make Qualifying Payments

Make sure your loan payments under the forgiveness program count. You may need to switch repayment plans.

Step 6: Track Progress

Keep track of your qualifying payments, employment forms, and application status. Follow up if you have any questions.

Also Read – How Student Loan Forgiveness Can Impact Your Family Finances ?

Maximizing Forgiveness Amounts in North Carolina

To maximize loan forgiveness amounts in NC forgiveness programs:

  • Consolidate loans to simplify tracking qualifying payments.
  • Enroll in an income-driven repayment plan to benefit from 20-25-year forgiveness.
  • Become a highly qualified teacher in a high-need field or location.
  • Work full-time for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit to benefit from tax-free PSLF forgiveness.
  • Get the highest degree affordable to increase teaching fellow eligibility.
  • Serve in shortage fields like nursing, medicine, or STEM to gain maximum state benefits.

Following these tips can help you receive the most loan forgiveness possible from programs available in North Carolina.

Tax Considerations for Forgiven Loans in North Carolina

Here are some key points on taxes and student loan forgiveness in NC:

  • Loan amounts forgiven under PSLF or the NC Teaching Fellows Program are not taxed.
  • Amounts forgiven under income-driven plans or other programs are usually taxed as income.
  • You can’t deduct student loan interest on forgiven loan amounts.
  • If applicable, you’ll get a 1099-C form reporting forgiven amounts as income.
  • Consider setting aside savings to cover taxes on forgiven loan amounts.
  • Talk to a tax professional to understand your specific tax situation.

Planning for potential taxes can help you avoid surprises if some or all of your forgiven student loans are taxable.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs in North Carolina

Some employers, government agencies, and nonprofits in North Carolina offer student loan repayment assistance to recruit and retain talented employees. These programs help pay back a portion of employees’ student loans as an employee benefit. Common fields offering repayment assistance in NC include healthcare, education, social work, and the public sector.

Ways to Lower Student Loan Payments in North Carolina

Along with forgiveness programs, there are some other options to lower student loan payments in North Carolina:

  • Income-driven repayment plans – Enrolling in an IDR plan like PAYE or REPAYE can lower your monthly payment based on your income and family size.
  • Student loan refinancing – You can refinance your student loans at a lower interest rate to reduce your monthly payments. Evaluate lenders carefully.
  • Deferment or forbearance – You can temporarily postpone loan payments through deferment or forbearance if you meet certain criteria. Interest may still accrue.
  • Student loan interest deduction – You may deduct up to $2,500 in student loan interest from your taxes annually. Eligibility phases out at higher incomes.

Comparison of Loan Forgiveness Programs in North Carolina

There are a few main loan forgiveness options in North Carolina. Here is a comparison:

ProgramForgiveness AmountRequirementsBest For
Public Service Loan Forgiveness100% of balance after 120 paymentsFull-time work for government or nonprofitLong-term public service careers
NC Teaching FellowsUp to $8,250 per year for 4 yearsTeach in NC for 4 years after graduationStudying education and planning to teach in NC
Income-Driven Repayment PlansForgives balance after 20-25 years of paymentsAvailable in NC, but not limited to the stateBorrowers with lower incomes
FELS ProgramUp to $10,000 per year for shortage fieldsWork in NC for each year of funding receivedHealthcare, education, STEM fields
Teacher Loan ForgivenessUp to $17,500 total5 years teaching math, science, special ed in low-income schoolsMath, science, and special ed teachers
Perkins Loan CancellationUp to 100% over 5 yearsWork in healthcare, education, public serviceRecipients of Perkins Loans
NHSC Loan RepaymentUp to $50,000 for 2 years serviceWork in health professions shortage areaDoctors, nurses, dentists in underserved areas
Military Student Loan RepaymentUp to $65,000Serve as active duty militaryActive duty service members
Student Loan Forgiveness in North Carolina

Also Read – Graduates Trapped by Debt? This “Secret” Forgiveness Program Could Be Your Answer

Questions and Answers About Student Loan Forgiveness in NC

Here are some common questions and answers about student loan 

forgiveness options for North Carolina residents:

What types of jobs qualify for PSLF in North Carolina?

Jobs with federal, state, local, or tribal government agencies qualify, as well as full-time jobs at 501(c)(3) nonprofits. This includes teachers, nurses, government employees, first responders, and many nonprofit sector jobs.

What are the requirements for Teacher Loan Forgiveness in NC?

You must teach full-time for five consecutive years in a low-income school or educational service agency in North Carolina. It would help if you also met the qualifications for a highly qualified teacher. Math, science, and special education are subjects that qualify for the maximum $17,500 in forgiveness.

Is private student loan forgiveness available in North Carolina?

Unfortunately, there are very few private student loan forgiveness options. Some lenders offer limited death and disability discharge, but private lenders do not provide forgiveness programs. Federal loans offer more forgiveness programs.

What types of healthcare jobs qualify for loan repayment assistance programs in North Carolina?

Many hospitals, community health centers, private practices, and other healthcare employers offer repayment assistance. Common eligible jobs include nurses, physicians, dentists, therapists, social workers, pharmacists, and other allied health fields.

Can I qualify for multiple student loan forgiveness programs in North Carolina?

Sometimes, you may qualify for multiple programs but cannot receive double forgiveness for the same loans. You can use different programs to cover undergraduate vs. graduate loans. Be careful to understand the obligations of each program before enrolling in multiple options.


Student loan forgiveness programs in North Carolina can help certain borrowers get some relief from their loans. Federal options like PSLF, Teacher Loan Forgiveness, and income-driven repayment plans are available to eligible residents. The state also offers loan forgiveness programs for teachers and healthcare workers. Compare all options carefully to find the best plan for your situation. Be sure you understand the criteria and obligations before pursuing loan forgiveness.

Here are some key points to remember:

  • North Carolina has federal and state student loan forgiveness programs for which residents may qualify.
  • Jobs in education, healthcare, government, and nonprofits are often eligible.
  • You must follow the criteria of each program carefully to receive loan forgiveness.
  • Forgiven loan amounts may be considered taxable income.
  • Refinancing or income-driven plans can also lower payments on student loans in North Carolina.

Research all options thoroughly and understand the requirements before applying. Student loan forgiveness programs can provide substantial financial relief if you qualify and commit to meeting all obligations.


What are the requirements for public service loan forgiveness in North Carolina?

To qualify for PSLF in North Carolina, you must make 120 qualifying payments while working full-time for an eligible public service employer. Eligible employers include government organizations and 501(c)(3) nonprofits. You must have Direct Loans and be enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan.

What jobs qualify for loan forgiveness programs in North Carolina?

Jobs in education, healthcare, social work, law enforcement, government, and 501(c)(3) nonprofits may qualify for federal or North Carolina loan forgiveness programs. Critical shortage areas like teaching, nursing, medicine, and STEM fields typically have forgiveness options available.

How much student loan forgiveness can I receive in North Carolina?

Amounts vary by program. PSLF forgives 100% of your remaining loan balance after 120 payments. Teacher Loan Forgiveness can provide up to $17,500 in relief. NC programs like FELS forgive up to $10,000 per year. Income-driven plans forgive balances after 20-25 years of payments.

Can private student loans be forgiven in North Carolina?

Unfortunately, private student loans are not eligible for government forgiveness programs. Occasionally, some private lenders offer limited disability or death discharges, but personal loans generally can’t be forgiven unless you refinance them into a federal Direct Loan.

What should I consider when applying for loan forgiveness programs in NC?

Understand the eligibility criteria, service obligations, and any tax implications. Also, be aware that forgiven loan amounts could still count towards Public Service Loan Forgiveness if you certify employment for that program. Compare different programs to pick the best option for your situation in North Carolina.

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