Everybody's talking about it. Many of us are living it. If student loan debt is staring you in the face, you may feel worried, frustrated, discouraged or otherwise anxious about what you owe and wonder how you will ever pay it off. You already tried the usual remedies: deferments, forgiveness and consolidation programs. But that mountain of debt is still there. What's next? How about trying these creative ways to pay off your student loans faster?
Need a Lift?
Ride-share services are growing across the country. Companies like Lyft and Uber need drivers with safe, reliable cars and you need money. You can drive shifts after your normal workday and, if you add a weekend shift, you can make extra money fast. Dedicate the extra cash to paying off your student loans.
If you're single with no kids, how about hiring yourself out as a house and/or pet sitter? You get paid for caring for and cuddling other people's cats and dogs in their own homes. Or, you simply live in the place while the owners are gone, bring in the mail, water the lawn and do whatever else needs to be done. You get free room and board and make a little money along the way. House and pet sitting jobs are easy to work around your normal nine to five. And, you know where the cash you earn goes, right?
Many areas of the country are experiencing population declines. To boost populations, some areas have programs that pay off portions of student loans for individuals who move to specified regions and meet the criteria.
Kansas Rural Opportunity Zones is one such program. Touting its low cost of living and high quality of life, the Kansas program rewards individuals who move from out of the state to one of approved regions and establish residency. New full-time residents who meet the requirements earn either Kansas income tax waivers for five years, student loan repayments up to $15,000 or both. Try it. You might decide you agree with Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz - there's no place like Kansas.
If you're in the health care profession, look into the National Health Service Repayment Program. The loan repayment program is for primary care dental, mental/behavioral and medical health clinicians who agree to work at a National Health Service Corps (NHSC) approved site for two years. It's possible for eligible applicants to receive up to $50,000 in loan repayment for an initial commitment. The NHSC also sponsors program in some U.S. states and territories.
What better way to reduce your student loan debt than by volunteering. Zerobound is a crowdfunded program that provides a way for volunteers, charitable organizations and sponsors to meet and work together. Sponsor contributions go to the individual volunteer's student loan debt.
Work for the Government
Government jobs may not always have a high salary, but they do have their perks. For example, the U.S. Office of Personal Management (OPM) student loan repayment program allows federal agencies to make loan payments of up to $10,000 per year maximum with a total not to exceed $60,000 for a single individual. To qualify, loans must be federally insured. Each agency has its own plan to administer payments. Eligible employees agree to work to the paying agency for at least three years.
Can you think of other creative ways to pay off your student debt faster?