Colorado paints a staggering picture when it comes to student loans. With residents shouldering the country’s 19th largest student loan debt, the state’s educational debt totals an astounding $28.5 billion.
Each borrower, on average, grapples with a debt of $36,822 – a reality for roughly 13.32% of the state’s total population.
Fortunately, there are both federal and state programs at your disposal that can help alleviate your financial burden.
In this article, we will cover both state and federal student loan forgiveness options to help you understand what programs are available to you. Additionally, we will explain how lawyers can simplify the process of navigating this complex field.
Colorado Loan Forgiveness Programs
The State of Colorado offers three unique student loan forgiveness programs for professionals serving in specific fields.
1. Colorado Health Service Corps
The Colorado Health Service Corps program is specifically designed for medical professionals committed to serving in Health Professional Shortage Areas within the state. Depending on your area of practice and the length of your commitment, you could qualify for student loan repayment assistance ranging from $10,000 to a substantial $90,000.
Here’s a closer look at what the program offers:
- Full-time physicians and dentists: If you’re a full-time physician or dentist working at approved sites, you could be eligible for the highest award amount of $90,000.
- Other health professionals: If you’re a pharmacist, nurse, or mental health practitioner, you’re also eligible for student loan repayment assistance, with the amount varying based on your role and commitment.
- Part-time work: Even if you’re working part-time, you can still be eligible for this program, ensuring flexibility in your career.
Here’s what you need to know about the program’s requirements:
- Service commitment: You must commit to a three-year service term at an approved site. This commitment is crucial to qualifying for the program.
- Application window: Applications are typically accepted within a specific 30-day window each year. In 2021, for instance, applications were received from September 1 to September 30.
- Workplace requirements: The place where you practice must be a public or nonprofit clinic, located in a Health Professional Shortage Area, and delivering primary health care services. This clinic must accept public insurance and offer discounted services to low-income, uninsured patients on a sliding fee scale.
- Hourly requirements: There are specific hourly requirements for direct clinical contact that you must meet to be eligible for this program.
For those who qualify for the Colorado Health Service Corps program and are looking to settle in the area, it’s worth noting that Colorado also offers physician home loan options to help you secure a family residence.
Learn more about the Colorado Health Service Corps program by visiting their official website.
2. University of Denver Sturm College of Law Loan Repayment Assistance Program
This program is offered by the Sturm College of Law to support alumni who have committed to work in the public interest. The program recognizes the financial challenges posed by high law school debt and aims to support graduates working in public service roles with salaries of $75,000 or less. Here are some key details about the program:
- Eligibility: Graduates with a JD from the Sturm College of Law after May 2003, currently working in public service (government or non-profit) in a position that utilizes legal skills, with an annual salary of $75,000 or less, and at least one loan in good standing and in repayment are eligible.
- Application Process: Applicants must provide employment verification, loan documentation, and a personal statement of no more than 750 words which speaks to the way(s) their legal skills provide an otherwise unfilled or hard to fill service to their community.
- Selection Criteria: The selection process gives preference to those employed by a 501(C)3 organization, considers the amount of scholarship aid received while in law school, the amount of an applicant’s outstanding law school debt, and the applicant’s demonstrated interest in public law.
- Awards: The awards are renewable twice annually for up to 5 years if employment and income requirements are met.
To learn more, visit: Law Loan Repayment Assistance Program
3. Colorado’s Law Loan Repayment Assistance Program
The Colorado Law’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) provides partial loan repayment awards to select alumni who choose qualifying public interest work. Some key details include:
- Awards: Awards may be as much as $6,500 per recipient per year, depending on the availability of funds and other factors. They are structured as a forgivable loan to the recipient, with the specific terms set forth in a promissory note. Recipients may receive LRAP awards for up to five years, as long as they continue to meet the eligibility requirements.
- Eligibility: Applicants must be graduates of the University of Colorado Law School and must be employed full-time (35 or more hours per week) in a “public interest capacity”. Their employer cannot be the University of Colorado, nor can the applicant’s services be performed for the University of Colorado. Gross annual salary must not exceed $67,000 for a first-time LRAP award.
- Application Process: Applications are accepted during a specified window each year, and applicants are required to notify the program of any eligibility changes, including changes in salary, employment, and loan repayment status.
- Continuity: Recipients may reapply for up to four renewal years, if funds are available, for a total of five years of LRAP funding.
- Taxability: Awards are structured as loans forgivable after one year of service in the qualifying job. Based on guidance published by the IRS, this structure may eliminate tax consequences for certain recipients, though recipients are encouraged to consult with their tax advisors.
To learn more, visit: Law Repayment Assistance Program
Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Programs for Colorado Residents
Alright, let’s dive into some big-time solutions. When it comes to student loan forgiveness, there are federal programs available for all Colorado residents
These programs are available to anyone with a federal student loan.
So, let’s explore them.
1. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program: If you work in a qualifying public service job, such as government or non-profit organizations, you may be eligible for PSLF. After making 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan, the remaining loan balance may be forgiven. For instance, you are working for a non-profit healthcare organizatio, and making consistent, on-time payments under an IDR plan could qualify for PSLF after 10 years of service.
2. Income-Driven Repayment Plan Forgiveness: Under these plans, monthly loan payments are based on the borrower’s income and family size, and after 20-25 years of qualifying payments, the remaining loan balance may be forgiven. For example, if a are struggling to find a well-paying job in your field and meet the eligibility requirements, You could enroll in an IDR plan and potentially have your remaining loan balance forgiven after the repayment period.
3. Borrower Defense to Repayment: This program offers Student loan forgiveness to students who have been defrauded by their college or university. Graduates who can prove that their institution misled them about job placement rates, accreditation, or other important aspects of their education may be eligible for full or partial forgiveness of their federal student loans. For example, if a student was promised a certain job placement rate upon graduation, but the actual rate was significantly lower, they might qualify for this program.
4. TPD Discharge (Total & Permanent Disability Discharge): If you are unable to work due to a total and permanent disability, you may be eligible for a Total and Permanent Disability Discharge. This program provides forgiveness for federal student loans if the borrower can provide documentation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Social Security Administration, or a physician certifying their disability. For example, if you become permanently disabled and can no longer maintain employment in your field, you could qualify for TPD discharge.
Finding the Best Student Loan Lawyers in Colorado
When it comes to dealing with student loan debt, it can feel like navigating a labyrinth. That’s where a student loan lawyer comes in handy, offering the guidance you need to manage your debt effectively. But how do you find the right one?
Here’s what you should consider:
1. Experience: Look for a student loan lawyer with proven experience in dealing with student loans. They should have a clear understanding of the various federal student loan forgiveness programs and be updated on the current laws and regulations.
2. Track Record: Check their track record. Have they successfully helped other clients reduce or manage their student loan debt? Positive testimonials and reviews can often provide this information.
3. Cost: Legal advice can be expensive, but it’s essential to remember that the lowest price doesn’t always mean the best service. Instead, focus on the value the lawyer provides. Are they transparent about their fees? Do they provide a clear explanation of what services you’ll receive?
4. Free Consultation: Many student loan lawyers that are able to help Colorado residents offer a free initial consultation. This can be a great opportunity to discuss your situation, understand your options, and decide if their services match your needs.
5. Accessibility and Communication: Your student loan lawyer should be easily reachable and willing to answer any questions you have. They should also keep you updated on any developments in your case.
Student loan lawyers can play a vital role in helping you navigate the complexities of student loan forgiveness. But remember, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Every case is unique, and your student loan lawyer should tailor their approach to fit your specific circumstances.
Taking the time to find the best student loan lawyer can not only save you money in the long run but also provide peace of mind, knowing that you’re taking the right steps to manage and reduce your student loan debt.
Don’t stress. Debt Management Success helps you connect with licensed student loan advisors and lawyers who truly understand the ins and outs of student loans.
Student Loan Help in Colorado: Location is No Barrier
Navigating the student loan world can feel like decoding a foreign language. It’s filled with terminology, rules, and procedures that are easy to get lost in.
That’s where student loan lawyers can swoop in and be your guiding light.
But you might be wondering, “What can a student loan lawyer do for me?”
In essence, these are attorneys specializing in student loans and related issues. They provide comprehensive services, from guiding you through loan forgiveness programs to representing you in student loan lawsuits.
Let’s break it down for you:
1. Find Your Student Loans: Lost track of your student loans? Don’t worry; it happens. A student loan lawyer can help you locate all your loans, even those that might have slipped your attention. They can gather all the necessary information about your loans, such as the amounts, interest rates, and terms, ensuring you have a clear understanding of your debt.
2. Qualify for Student Loan Forgiveness: Think of your student loan lawyer as your personal tour guide on the path to student loan forgiveness. They’ll help you understand which forgiveness programs you qualify for, guide you through the application process, and provide advice tailored to your specific circumstances.
3. Get Your Student Loans out of Default and Stop Wage Garnishment: If your loans have slipped into default, a student loan lawyer can help you explore your options to get back on track. They can also help stop wage garnishment, which can be a major relief.
4. Negotiate a Settlement: for private student loans, Sometimes, your best bet might be to negotiate a settlement with your lender. A student loan lawyer can be an invaluable ally in these negotiations, advocating for your interests and working to secure a deal that’s favorable to you.
5. Lower Monthly Payments: If you’re struggling with high monthly payments, a student loan lawyer can help you explore options to reduce them. This can include changing your repayment plan or applying for an income-driven repayment plan.
6. File for Bankruptcy: While discharging student loans through bankruptcy can be difficult, it’s not impossible. A student loan lawyer can guide you through this complex process, providing insights into the requirements and helping determine if this is a viable option for your situation.
7. Fight a Student Loan Lawsuit: If you find yourself on the receiving end of a student loan lawsuit, having a student loan lawyer by your side can be crucial. They can represent you in court, providing the legal expertise and support you need.
Need to Connect with a Student Loan Lawyer Whos Able to Help in Colorado?
Let’s be honest: dealing with student loan debt can feel like you’re climbing a mountain without a map. And sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to find the right path.
Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed by your student loan debt, are struggling with high monthly payments, or are in default, Debt Management Success can connect you with a licensed professional who understands what you’re going through and can provide the support you need.
Connect with a professional today, and take your first step towards a brighter financial future. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. Help is just a phone call away.