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10 Creative Ways to Pay Off Your Student Loan Debt

10 Creative Ways to Pay Off Your Student Loan Debt

For decades, people have been told to go to college because doing so would give them the best shot at a great career. Some college graduates are not as fortunate. Subsequently, they are forced to take jobs that don’t even require a college degree. We all know that those jobs make paying student loans very difficult! Well, fear not, you will find a solution in these 10 creative ways to pay off your student loan debt.

1. Income Based Repayment Plans

While this option has been becoming increasingly popular over the last few years, some college graduates and dropouts still don’t know about income based repayment plans. The Department of Education created these programs to help people manage their student loan debt by reducing their monthly payments.

Monthly payments are determined by your annual income of the previous year. For some people, their monthly payment could be $20 or even $5 dollars a month.

Others may not be required to pay anything. If they have an income that is at or below the poverty line, their monthly payments will be marked as paid (even though they are not paying anything). Depending on your repayment plan, the remainder of your loan can be forgiven within 20 or 25 years.

Program participants are required to submit their annual income every year for the purpose of recalculating the monthly payment and continuity.

The Wall Street Journal has found that only 40% of people with student loans are paying them back. A lot of people think that they are hopeless and tend to let their loans go into default. The income based repayment plan is a great way for people to manage their student loans more responsibly.

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    2. Kansas Rural Opportunity Zones

    The state of Kansas is working hard to discourage population decline. The Rural Opportunity Zone program encourages Americans to move to rural Kansas to experience the lower cost of living and high quality of life. The zones are made up of 77 counties that have been authorized to offer student loan payments.

    In order to be eligible for the income tax waivers, individuals must meet the following requirements:

    – Have a college degree (either undergraduate or postgraduate)
    – Have an outstanding student loan balance
    – Have established residency in a rural opportunity zone after July 1, 2011 and on or after the date on which the county opts in the student loan program

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    Despite living in uncertain times, Americans are still hopeful in fulfilling the American Dream. Kansas has enabled Americans to realize their dream by not only offering free land but also student loan assistance. Some people have been a victim of misfortune. The state of Kansas is giving them a second chance.

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      3. New York Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Program

      The state of New York has been looking for ways to stimulate their agriculture sector. In return, the state is providing loan forgiveness to people who have obtained a college degree from a New York college and agree to operate a farm on a full-time basis for five years.

      Working in the agriculture sector is quite a noble path, as it is one of the cornerstones of our economy, A lot of new farming operations either break even or don’t make enough to scale their operation.

      The state of New York recognizes that their agricultural sector can only be successful if their farmers are given sufficient support. Their loan forgiveness program gives farmers a chance to start off with a clean slate.

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        4. National Health Service Repayment Program

        Shouldn’t the people who bring wellness into our lives be given a break? The government thinks so. The National Health Service Corps (a U.S. Department of Health & Human Services program) is giving primary care medical, dental, and mental health clinicians up to $50,000 to repay their student loans in exchange for a two year commitment to work at a NHSC site that helps underprivileged communities.

        After the initial service commitment, corps members can continue working to receive additional loan repayment assistance.

        Healthcare grads typically have more student loan debt than other grads (excluding law and most STEM majors); yet are likely to secure a high paying career. This program is another option that can offer healthcare grads to have at least half (if not more) of their student loan debt paid in exchange for serving underprivileged communities.

        Which may be ideal for people who came from such communities and desire to give back in service.

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          5. Be Zerobound

          Zerobound is a program that provides an innovative option to reduce student loan debt for graduates who are dedicated to volunteering. Zerobound brings together volunteers, organizations, and sponsors together on one platform to connect and support each other.

          They work with all graduates, ranging from those who are seriously struggling with their debt to those who just need a bit of help.

          This is a great program for students who have spare time to contribute to a cause that resonates with their passion. In return, they are able to receive some financial relief from their student loan debt.

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            6. Move to Niagara Falls Program

            The city of Niagara Falls, New York has experienced a significant population decline, due mostly to the relocation of several industrial corporations. While it remains a tourist attraction for Americans and Canadians, the city is looking for other ways to boost their economy to avoid losing their “city” status.

            They are hoping that by enticing people to move there; it will bring in talent that will positively influence the labor force, which could keep them there longer than the two year requirement.

            New residents who live there for two years will get a total of $7,000 to pay off their student loans. In order to qualify for the reimbursement, the applicant must have attained a two or four year degree from an accredited school and rent a home or apartment in a designated area.

            This program presents a great opportunity for people who don’t have a lot of student loan debt and any major life commitments.

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              7. Health Professions Faculty Program

              Faculty working at a health professions college or university can receive up to $40,000 toward the repayment of their student loans if they come from a disadvantaged background. In return, they must serve on the faculty for two years.

              In order to be eligible for the program, individuals must meet the following requirements:

              – Be a U.S. citizen (either born or naturalized), U.S. National, or Permanent Resident
              – Have a degree or be currently enrolled in an approved graduate training program within certain health disciplines
              – Have an employment commitment for a full-time or part-time faculty position for a minimum of two years, beginning on or before July 31, 2015
              – Be from a disadvantaged background, based on economic or environmental factors

              While healthcare grads often have more student loan debt than other graduates, they are very likely to secure a career in that field. This program is another option that can offer healthcare grads to have at least half (if not more) of their student loan debt paid in exchange for serving on the faculty for two years.

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                8. Perkins Loan Cancellation Program

                Perkins Loans are low interest federal loans that are reserved for students in exceptional financial need. Perkins Loan recipients may cancel a portion of their loan (or even the entire loan in some cases) if they are employed in certain occupations. The current list of accepted occupations for this program are listed as the following:

                – Teachers
                – Corps members (Peace Corps, Americorps, or Action Corps)
                – Law enforcement officers
                – Social workers
                – Head Start workers
                – Professional providers of early intervention services
                – Healthcare technicians

                There is no application that is required to be considered for this program. If you are interested. you need to contact the school that processed your loan.

                As mentioned earlier, the Wall Street Journal has found that only 40% of people with student loans are paying them back. So, this program is a great way for public service employees to reduce a good chunk of their student loan debt.

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                  9. USDA Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program

                  Do you love animals? Have you ever thought about being an animal doctor? Well, this benefit might convince you to be a veterinarian. The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program will pay up to $25,000 per year for people who agree to serve three years in designated areas that have shortages of veterinarians.

                  In our culture, we have learned to consider our pets as part of our family. Therefore, it requires that they be entitled to the same level of healthcare as humans. In return, the USDA are giving qualified veterinarians up to $75,000 in tuition reimbursements for dedicating three years in underserved areas.

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                    10. U.S. Office of Personal Management Program

                    One thing that you don’t have to worry about as a government employee is the lack of benefits. The U.S. Office of Personal Management makes every employee eligible to have their loans paid by their employer.

                    Government agencies will make payments to the loan holder for up to $10,000 for an employee in an calendar year and $60,000 as the total maximum.

                    Commonly, people equate a government career to a high paying salary. This is simply not true. However, their abundance of benefits including student loan repayment makes having such a career worthwhile.

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                      Featured photo credit: Unhappy Man Mask Sad Face Sitting Depressed via pixabay.com

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                      Last Updated on July 4, 2019

                      25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

                      25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

                      Whether you’re five or ninety five, the internet has a lot to offer. Particularly when the topic is education, the resources on the internet are endless.

                      Best of all, many high quality sites are completely free. From history to coding, excellent free online education awaits on the following 25 sites.

                      1. Coursera

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                        Coursera is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world. This brings a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database.

                        Coursera is a powerful tool for free online education, and includes courses from many top universities, museums and trusts. This gives the site an extremely wide range of in-depth courses.

                        Coursera is extremely useful if you’re looking to study many different topics, or want courses from different schools and groups.

                        2. Khan Academy

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                          Partnering with many post secondary schools, Khan Academy offers a useable, well organized interface. Also curating many courses from around the web, Khan Academy offers impressive depth on many different subjects.

                          Among the more well known educational sites, Khan Academy is also incredibly useable, which may make it easier to keep learning goals.

                          3. Open Culture Online Courses

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                            If you are struggling to find exactly the material you are looking for, try Open Culture’s listing of free online education courses. The page highlights 1000 lectures, videos and podcasts from universities around the world. The site features a lot of material found only on universities private sites, all in easy to browse categories. This means you can find hundreds of university courses, without having to visit and search each university’s own site.

                            Open Culture’s list features courses from England, Australia, Wales and many state universities around the United States. A very helpful resource for finding many courses in one area of study.

                            4. Udemy 

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                              Udemy’s free courses are similar in concept to Coursera’s but additionally allows users to build custom courses from lessons.

                              Working with many top professors and schools, the site mixes the customizable platform of other sites with a heavy emphasis on top quality content. This is another site however, that mixes free and paid content.

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                              5. Academic Earth

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                                Another site with courses from many different schools is Academic Earth. Much like the three sites above, Academic Earth brings together top notch courses from many different sources, and focuses on offering a wide variety of subjects.

                                Academic Earth lists courses by subject and school, so it might be easier to find what you’re looking for.

                                6. edX

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                                  Another great option for free online education is edX. Also bringing together courses from many different schools, the site has impressive, quality information for everyone. edX covers a great range of topics.

                                  7. Alison

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                                    Unlike the previous sites on this lists, Alison is a free education site offering certification in some areas. Alison offers courses mainly in business, technology, and health, but also includes language learning courses.

                                    It’s a great option if users need certification for their learning as Alison also offers school curriculum courses.

                                    8. iTunesU Free Courses

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                                      A very convenient place for free online education is iTunesU, because it integrates seamlessly with your iPod, or any app-ready Apple mobile device. On iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, users download the iTunesU app.

                                      Desktop users can access  iTunesU on the upper right hand corner of the iTunes Store. iTunesU is also convenient because the store is categorized much like iTunes.

                                      Users can search learning materials in many different ways, including genre and topic. However, courses are often a mix of free podcasts or videos, and paid content.

                                      ITunesU does include courses on a pretty wide scope of topics, but does not integrate with Android, Google or Windows mobile devices.

                                      9. Stanford Online

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                                        Your hub for all the online offerings from Stanford University, Stanford Online offers self-paced and session based courses. While Coursera features some courses from Stanford, many classes are only available via other hosts. Some courses require iTunes, but most are completed in your web browser.

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                                        Stanford Online is a great site for high quality courses, though the topics are somewhat limited compared to sites partnered with more than one school.

                                        10. Harvard Extension

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                                          Like Stanford Online, Harvard Extension features free online education courses from Harvard only. This is another excellent source for top notch course material, though the course variety is less rich than multi-school sites.

                                          Additionally, Harvard Extension allows you to search for courses by professional certificate. This makes it much easier if your online education goal includes certification.

                                          11. Open Yale Courses

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                                            Open Yale Courses echoes Harvard Extension and Stanford Online, in that it offers only courses from Yale. While the site is similarly limited to topics taught at the school, Open Yale Courses offers a lot of videos of actual campus lectures. The availability of videos makes the site a great option if you’re looking for quality courses, but learn better by watching than by reading.

                                            12. UC Berkeley Class Central

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                                              Much like the other schools on this list, UC Berkeley has a variety of free online education options. The school has slightly fewer courses than the schools above, but includes some supplementary lectures, webcasts and RSS Feeds, making it easy to keep up with the topics you choose.

                                              13. MIT OpenCourseWare

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                                                Similarly, MIT offers a variety of free courses. The school has a comparable number of courses to the schools above, plus includes very in-depth course materials on the subjects available. MIT also offers free RSS feeds, a convenient way to continue learning.

                                                14. Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

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                                                  Carnegie Mellon’s free online education site is comparable with the other school’s on this list, however, Open Learning Initiative also covers a smaller range of topics. But for the topics that are covered impressive, in-depth material is available.

                                                  15. Codecademy

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                                                    Codecademy is a website dedicated specifically to teaching coding. Where other coding sites follow an example/practice session workflow, Codecademy includes a live practice window. This means you can practice coding while still viewing the lesson material.

                                                    The courses at Codecademy are well written and easy to follow and the website is organized very nicely. Codecademy features a centralized dashboard where you can monitor your progress, plus organizes lessons into complete modules. This lets you learn an entire language without needing to pick the next course manually.

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                                                    16. Code

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                                                      Code is another website focused on coding and app writing. A site with high quality courses, Code also features learning options for kids.

                                                      In addition to kid friendly courses, Code offers free online education classes on a wide variety of technology topics. These classes include app writing, robotics and Javascript.

                                                      Most of the courses are also geared in a such a way that they can be useful in a classroom setting. This makes Code a great resource for harder to find coding topics, as well as various learning settings.

                                                      17. University of London Podcasts

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                                                        The podcast page on the University of London website is another great source for free education. While the courses are limited to podcasts, the site features podcasts from it’s own campus, as well as eleven universities in and around London. This gives learners a wide base of topics and lectures, but still ensures in-depth material.

                                                        18. University of Oxford Podcasts

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                                                          Similar to the University of London, the University of Oxford features many different podcasts. Most are public lecture series or lectures from visiting professors, with several different recordings available.

                                                          The advantage to this particular site is that podcasts are organized into series, making it easy to subscribe to multiple lectures on one topic. Another good site for thoroughly in-depth lectures.

                                                          19. BBC Podcasts

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                                                            For the more casual learner, the BBC offers a wide variety of podcasts on many different topics. Most podcasts are updated weekly, and focus on everything from finance, to sports, to current events.

                                                            Through the World Service line of podcasts, there are also many in different languages. The focus of these podcasts are less in-depth and theory based, which may be more accessible to the average person.

                                                            20. TED-Ed

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                                                              Another great destination for more general learning is TED-Ed. From the same people that brought you the all encompassing, motivational web series, comes a site chocked full of educational videos. Most include impressive animation, and all are ten minutes long or less.

                                                              Not only is TED-Ed an excellent site for the curious, it also includes supplemental materials and quizzes on the videos. This makes the site extremely useful in formal education settings, as well as in entertaining ways to brush up on new discoveries and topics.

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                                                              21. LessonPaths

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                                                                LessonPaths is another great tool for those looking for a more usable and convenient way to access learning material. On this site, users create link playlists of their favorite learning materials from other sites. Users then rank these collections, making it easy to find many different high quality, accessible sources on a given topic.

                                                                22. Memrise

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                                                                  Another impressive free online education site offering ease of use and convenience is Memrise. Available both on desktop and as an app, Memrise is a particularly powerful tool if you are studying a language. The site encompasses many other topics as well, though some of the course material is user generated content.

                                                                  Part of what makes Memrise special is their integration of games into the learning materials, mixing learning with entertainment.

                                                                  23. National Geographic Kids

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                                                                    The kids site for National Geographic is another site that makes free online education applicable for younger users. For those looking for kid friendly education, a large variety of games, puzzles, videos and photos keeps kids interested on this site.

                                                                    National Geographic Kids doesn’t organize learning into courses, making materials available by topic and medium instead. This makes National Geographic Kids a good option for those looking for a more casual learning environment.

                                                                    24. Fun Brain

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                                                                      Fun Brain is another good option for kids who want to learn online, but focuses on games and fun puzzles. Particularly focused on math and reading, Fun Brain’s game based approach can be valuable if the child in question struggles to pay attention.

                                                                      Fun Brain offers rewards and challenges as well, and is another site aimed at a casual learning experience for kids K-8.

                                                                      25. Whyville

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                                                                        Similar to the sites for kids free online education is Whyville a destination for preteen online learning. The site includes a variety of social features, with a focus on learning materials geared for young teens.

                                                                        Whyville also mixes in educational games, to make the site a well rounded option for kids too old for simple games, but too young for heavy reading based material.

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                                                                        Featured photo credit: Dai KE via unsplash.com

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