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Government Grants That Can Help You Pay For Your Student Loans

Written by: Jody Adams
Last updated: January 31, 2024

About 92% of all outstanding student loans are federal student loans, making them the largest debt category in American education. More than 43 million borrowers owe more than $1.6 trillion in federal student loans.

You may already know about loan forgiveness and government grant for student loans if you are one of the millions of Americans with student loan debt. It is also important to be aware that there are grants that can be used to repay student loans. 62% of four-year college graduates with a balance of $28,950 or more in 2019 had student loan debt, according to the Institute for College Access & Success.

There are many government-funded programs, as well as nonprofits, that offer student loan grants. Several of these opportunities are easy to obtain, but most require service or employment. Students can qualify for grants to pay off their student loans if they work in specific professions.

Minimum service requirements are often attached to these grants. If you or someone from your family is disabled, check out our article on how to get disability benefits for the first time.

How Government Grants For Student Loans Work

With student loans, in addition to repaying the original amount borrowed (principal), you will also have to repay interest accrued over the course of your student loans. Depending on the interest rate and repayment terms, you might pay thousands more in interest than what you originally borrowed.

The way grants work is quite different from how loans work. Grants do not require repayment as long as you meet the grant's requirements. Using a grant can reduce the amount you have to pay back on student loans, reducing your out-of-pocket expenses.

Government Grants For Student Loans

Are you looking for ways to repay your student loans? If you work in your profession, live in your workplace, and have carried student loan debt for a long time, you may be eligible for free grants and student loan forgiveness programs.

Take a look at some of the grants and programs you can apply for to pay for your student grants through the government.

Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program (ASLRP)

Employees of the Department of Justice can participate in the ASLRP program. A three-year service obligation is required for qualified attorneys under this program, which repays certain types of federal loans. Loan repayment can be as much as $6,000 per year for eligible recipients.

Taxes are usually levied on ASLRP benefits. The CARES Act temporarily changed taxes on student loan repayment programs. ASLRP benefits up to $5,250 are tax-free through Dec. 31, 2026, pursuant to the CARES Act.

Indian Health Service (IHS) Loan Repayment Program

A healthcare professional is eligible to receive up to $40,000 as a loan repayment through the IHS program. Loan repayments through the IHS loan repayment program are available for both federal and private student loans.

For this program, you need to be an American Indian or Alaska Native health professional practicing within specific health profession disciplines and commit to a two-year service obligation at a health facility serving their community. An IHS recruiter can assist with recruitment at eligible sites.

It depends on the funding requirements and the staffing requirements, and what opportunities are available. Several criteria are used to determine awards. The top priority in Indian health programs is hiring health professionals who are specialists in specific disciplines. Native Americans and Alaska Natives are prioritized when all factors are equal.

National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program

Licensed primary care clinicians can repay their loans after working at NHSC sites for two years. Repaying federal and private loans is possible through the program.

Repayment of outstanding, qualifying education loans will be provided. NHSC loan repayment funds are exempt from federal income tax and employment tax. Under the program, full-time employees can receive $50,000 for a two-year initial term, with half-time employees getting $25,000 for the same period.

The NHSC loan repayment program is based on the following criteria.

  • Those born in the country or who have become naturalized citizens of the United States;
  • Providers of Medicare, Medicaid, and State CHIP services;
  • An NHSC-eligible license as a physician, dentist, or mental health professional in the state in which you wish to apply;
  • With a valid student loan debt rating and student loan debt related to your degree, you are an eligible health professional;
  • Working at an NHSC-approved site.

NHSC Rural Community Loan Repayment Program

Providers working in rural communities can apply for loan repayment through the Rural Community Loan Repayment Program (LRP) of the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). In rural areas, student loan repayment can reach $100,000 for treatment facilities for substance use disorders approved by the NHSC.

In partnership with the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), the NHSC Rural Community LRP will award loans to rural communities through repayment awards. Overdose deaths across the country will be prevented by providing evidence-based substance abuse treatment.

If you meet the following criteria, you qualify:

  • Those who are citizens or nationals of the United States (born in the country or naturalized);
  • A provider (or eligible to participate as a provider) in the Medicare, Medicaid, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, as appropriate;
  • You must have completed training and hold a license in a primary care medical, mental health, or behavioral health discipline in your state of the application.
  • You must have qualified student loan debt for your degree-related education as a health professional in an eligible discipline.
  • A rural NHSC-approved SUD treatment facility is where you work or have accepted a position. Priority will be given to RCORP-funded facilities;
  • Choose either the Mental Health HPSA score or the Primary Care HPSA score of your rural NHSC-approved facility.

A rural community loan repayment program does not impose a tax on the repayment assistance.

NHSC Students to Service Loan Repayment Program

The NHSC Students to Service Loan Repayment Program (NHSC S2S LRP) may be able to assist you with your loan repayment if you are in your final year of medical, nursing, or dental school (NHSC S2S LRP). To be eligible for this career opportunity, you must complete a minimum of three years of service at an NHSC-approved site located in a designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA).

Under the NHSC student-to-service loan repayment program, you can receive up to $120,000 if you work at an approved site for three years. To qualify, students must be enrolled in a medical, dental, or nursing program. This program does not impose any taxes on its beneficiaries.

The application deadline must be met within three weeks of the date on which all required and supplemental documents must be submitted. Ensure that your answers match those in your supporting documents.

These requirements must be met in order for your application to be accepted. A legible, complete, and all-inclusive application must be submitted by the application deadline.

National Institute of Mental Health Loan Repayment Program

The National Institutes of Mental Health offers two loan repayment programs. Researchers with doctorate degrees conducting biomedical research funded by domestic government or nonprofit organizations can apply for these grants.

Upon becoming eligible for repayment assistance, you will be able to receive reimbursement for your federal and state taxes owed. Two loan repayment programs are available to researchers who engage in research relevant to the NIH's mission.

The NIH makes an essential investment in the health discovery process and the nation's health by supporting researchers starting their careers in research today.

Listed below are two repayment programs for student loans:

  • Universities, medical centers, and other institutions that the NIH does not employ can apply for the extramural program
  • Researchers employed by the NIH can participate in an intramural program

Awardees in both programs who meet the eligibility requirements qualify for competitive renewal awards, regardless of whether they have received NIH funding for their research.

Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program

Registered nurses, advanced practice registered nurses, and nurse faculty can qualify for this loan repayment program administered by the Health Resources & Services Administration.

It is required that if you are selected as a nurse faculty member of an eligible nursing facility or a designated critical shortage facility, you will work there for at least two years. Those who receive benefits through this program may be subject to income tax.

There are a number of requirements for eligibility for the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program.

1. It is necessary for the applicant to be one of the following:

  • Registered nurse licensed to practice;
  • Registered nurses with advanced practice, such as nurse practitioners;
  • Member of the nursing faculty who has qualified nursing debt.

2. A nursing school in a state or territory in the US accredits your nursing education.

3. Your full-time job is:

  • Registered nurses or APRNs who are eligible for CSF in a high-need area
  • The nursing school must be accredited


Students who intend to become teachers can apply for the TEACH grant through the federal government. The government can provide you with up to $4,000 a year for your education if you meet certain criteria.

To be eligible for the program, you must agree to teach for four years in an elementary or secondary school serving low-income students. To be eligible for the program, you must agree to teach for four years in an elementary or secondary school serving low-income students.

As a TEACH Grant recipient, you agree to teach a highly needed subject in an elementary or secondary school in a low-income area where teachers are in short supply. The following requirements need to be met to qualify for a TEACH Grant:

  • The federal student aid program must be available to you.
  • Undergrads and graduates are eligible to apply.
  • An eligible TEACH Grant program must be offered at your school, and you must be enrolled in one.
  • At least a 3.25 cumulative grade point average is required, along with a college admissions test score above the 75th percentile.

The government converts the TEACH grant into a loan if you do not meet the service requirements and must repay it with interest.

Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program

Veterinarians can apply for the VMLRP by completing an application and agreeing to serve in a veterinarian shortage situation for three years for a maximum of $25,000 yearly. The United States Department of Agriculture's veterinary medicine loan repayment program offers up to $75,000 to veterinarians who agree to practice in designated shortage areas for at least three years.

Your IRS account will be credited with 39% of the loan repayment amounts, reducing the burden of manual tax payments. The following are the requirements for applying to the VMLRP:

  • Graduate from an AVMA-accredited college of veterinary medicine with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) or equivalent degree;
  • According to 7 CFR 3431 Section 3, have qualified educational loan debt;
  • The Secretary determines that a veterinary shortage situation exists when the Secretary issues the VMLRP service agreement offer; and
  • Ensure compliance with 7 CFR 3431 Section 16 by providing certifications and verifications.

VMLRP applications are ineligible for the following individuals:

  • It is not possible for an individual who is owed veterinary service obligations by the Federal government, a State, or another entity under an agreement with such agencies, or other entities, to be eligible for the VMLRP unless the obligation is fully satisfied before the first service under the VMLRP.
  • Federal judgment lienholders; and individuals with liens against their property due to Federal debts.
  • Individuals with debts that are less than $15,000 but do not exceed the threshold.

$10,000 Forget Your Student Debt No-Essay Grant

One out of five Americans is in debt due to student loans. The average college graduate leaves college with debt exceeding $30,000 plus interest payments. Students with student debt have a lower chance of starting their own businesses, pursuing their dream careers, buying their first homes, and living the life of their dreams.

Anyone with student debt is eligible to apply for the Forget Your Student Debt No-Essay Grant. The program is open to adults who have finished their education and have begun their careers.

There is only one criterion: you must be able to make payments on your student debt. Grant applications are accepted monthly, even though the grant was awarded on December 1, 2022. The award is more likely to be awarded to students who apply during an earlier application window.

Interested in learning more? Check out our article about student loan payment refund to learn more.

John R. Justice Repayment Program

The John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program offers up to $60,000 in student loan repayment to lawyers who enter a public defense.

To receive these payments, state prosecutors and state public defenders require a three-year commitment. Alternatively, your law school may give you a public service grant for repayment. Law graduates from Yale School of Law can qualify for loan forgiveness grants if they earn degrees in public interest law.

The JRJ Program is available to the following beneficiaries:

  • Attorneys employed by a state or local government on a full-time basis. Federal employees who are prosecutors are not eligible for the program.
  • A public defender is a state or local government employee who is licensed to practice law continuously.
  • Legal representation of indigent persons in criminal or juvenile delinquency cases is provided by full-time employees of a nonprofit organization under contract with a state or unit of local government.

Worried about your taxes as a student? Check out our article about what to know about student loan on taxes to learn more.

If you are interested in learning more about different grants and programs that can help you with your living situation, read our article on free government grants for dental implants. Check out the rest of Gov Relations' blog section today!

Jody Adams
Jody Adams is an accomplished editor-in-chief with a deep understanding of social care and government benefits issues. With a background in journalism and a master's degree in Public Policy, Jody has spent her career shaping the narrative around social policies and their impact on society. She has worked with renowned publications, effectively bridging the gap between complex policy analysis and public understanding. Jody's editorial expertise ensures that vital information on social care and government benefits reaches a broad audience, empowering individuals to make informed decisions.
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