After all the hard work of college, graduating and starting a job in a student’s field of study is exciting. But for many, that’s also when the reality hits about actually living off a paycheck. And sometimes paychecks are just not big enough to cover living costs – while also allowing borrowers to pay back their student loans. But the government does have programs to forgive some federal and state student loans, and some of these are industry-specific.

Full-time teachers who serve low-income families could be eligible for student loan forgiveness of up to $17,500 through the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program.

To qualify, teachers must have worked at least five consecutive years in elementary or secondary schools. Teachers who received loans through the Federal Perkins Loan Program could also be eligible to forgive some or all outstanding balances under certain conditions.

Full-time government workers or those who work for not-for-profit organizations could qualify for forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. The plan covers what remains of student loan debt after 10 years of payments (or 120 qualified payments). PSLF works in conjunction with an Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plan. An IDR plan allows participants to repay loans based on their income.

For those in the military, benefits and repayment options for student loans are available from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Defense. In addition, the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award can be used to repay qualified student loans for those who complete a term of national service in an approved AmeriCorps program.

For those living and working in Maine in STEM-designated occupations (science, technology, engineering, and math), the Alfond Leaders Student Debt Reduction Program provides loan repayment assistance. To qualify, applicants need to work for a Maine-based employer. Up to half of outstanding student loan debt could be forgiven at the time of application to the program, not to exceed $60,000. 

Like the Alfond Leaders Student Debt Reduction Program, Maine provides student forgiveness to people working in dental, healthcare, and nursing education. (Is this a government program? Is it connected to Alfond?)

****People can learn about student loan forgiveness programs by contacting the company that provided their student loans. By working through their loan servicer, people avoid falling victim to student loan forgiveness scams. To learn more about Maine-specific programs, contact the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) through