10 Top Options for Student Loan Forgiveness in California

California tops the charts for total student loan debt held by residents at $129.6 billion dollars. The state is also known for its high cost of living. This can be a problem when you’re strapped with student loan debt. The good news is, there are several student loan forgiveness programs in California.

10 Student loan forgiveness programs in California

A majority of the student loan forgiveness programs in California are aimed at medical professionals and educators. Compare the student loan forgiveness programs at the federal and state level to make the best decision for your finances.

Here are the California student loan forgiveness programs to consider.

1. California Dental Association (CDA) Foundation Student Loan Repayment Grant

The CDA Foundation offers grants to recent dental graduates to offset costs when starting a career and living in California. If selected, the CDA will repay up to $35,000 per year to student loans for a maximum of $105,000 over three years.

In exchange, you must agree to work at an underserved worksite determined by the CDA. A minimum of 30 hours per week is required for the duration of the contract.

You can find out more and complete an application on the CDA website.

2. California Bachelor of Science Nursing Loan Repayment Program (BSNLRP)

If you’re a nurse in California and have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, you may qualify for this program. The BSNLRP program offers $10,000 of loan repayment for one year of service at a specific facility. Nurses can receive this award up the three times for a total of $30,000 in student loan forgiveness.

You’ll be expected to practice patient care at least 32 hours per week. The program offers facility location at a:

  • Registered Nurse Shortage Area (RNSA)
  • Primary Care Shortage Area (PCSA)
  • County, state, prison or veteran’s facility

For more information on eligibility, visit California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

3. California Mental Health Loan Assumption Program (MHLAP)

Since 2004, the MHLAP program has provided student loan forgiveness to those working in public mental health in California. You can receive up to $10,000 of student loan forgiveness for one year of service.

The positions are based on need in specific counties within California. To learn more, visit the MHLAP site. You can also find eligible locations through its County Contact List.


4. California State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP)

The California SLRP is designed for medical professionals. You may be eligible if you’re working in one of the following disciplines:

  • Primary Care Physician
  • Dentist
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Physician Assistant
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Certified Nurse Midwife
  • Pharmacist
  • Mental/Behavioral Health Provider

The California SLRP offers a maximum of $50,000 of student loan forgiveness for your first two years of service. Extension grants beyond this are available, but they vary from year to year based on funding.

During your years of service, you must agree to work in a California Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA).

5. Licensed Vocational Nurse Loan Repayment Program (LVNLRP)

The LVNLRP is for licensed and practicing vocational nurses and only requires one year of service. You can receive up to $6,000 for working 12 months, full time, at a qualified California facility. Nurses can be awarded this amount up to three times, totaling $18,000 of student loan forgiveness.

Qualified facilities are available under federal and California state designations. Besides these options, any state, county, veteran or correctional facility qualifies. Indian Health Centers and Federally Qualified Health Centers are also options.

6. Steven M. Thompson Physician Corps Loan Repayment Program (STLRP)

The STLRP is available to recently licensed physicians and surgeons in California. The program is an incentive to practice in an HPSA or in a PCSA in California.

You can be awarded up to $105,000 in loan repayment in exchange for working full time for a minimum of three years. Applicants can be awarded two times, totaling $210,000 of student loan repayment for physicians and surgeons.

7. Licensed Mental Health (LMH) Services Provider Education Program

Licensed and registered mental health professionals can be awarded up to $15,000 for student loan forgiveness in California through the LMH program. Awards can be given to applicants up to three times, totaling $45,000 of student loan forgiveness.

In exchange, you must commit to working for 24 months at an eligible site. Eligible sites include publicly-funded or public mental health facilities, nonprofit mental health facilities that serve the county or designated mental health profession shortage areas.

8. County Medical Services Program Loan Repayment Program (CMSP LRP)

Primary care health professionals working in designated counties within California can qualify for the CMSP LRP. Eligible disciplines include General Dentists, Primary Care Nurse Practitioners, Primary Care Physician Assistants, and General/Family Medicine.

An applicant can receive up to $50,000 for a commitment of working two years. You must work at least 40 hours per week in an approved location during this time. There are 35 counties listed as qualified locations for CMSP LRP. You also have the option to apply when working half time for an award of $25,000 in loan repayment.

9. Advanced Practice Healthcare Loan Repayment Program (APHLRP)

The APHLRP is funded by donations and grants and offers up to $25,000 of California student loan forgiveness. Applicants can be awarded up to three times, totaling $75,000 of student loan forgiveness.

To be eligible, you can be a health professional in any of the following disciplines:

  • Certified Nurse Midwives
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists
  • Dentist
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Pharmacists
  • Physical Therapists
  • Physician Assistants
  • Speech Therapists

In exchange, recipients agree to practice direct patient care at a qualified California facility for one full year. You must work full time, at least 32 hours per week, during this one-year contract.

10. Assumption Program of Loans for Education (APLE) grant

The APLE grant is a California teacher loan forgiveness program. Teachers can be eligible for up to $19,000 of student loan forgiveness. You must teach in a qualified, low-performing California school for four consecutive years while maintaining your credentials. Teaching service done prior to the application won’t be considered.

The options above are available to those who already have student loans. California also offers many grants for those attending its local universities. To qualify, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and meet minimum GPA requirements.

Find out more about the student aid offered at the California Student Aid Commission.

There are many options for student loan forgiveness in California, and you’ll want to dig into which one will best serve you.

How to choose the right student loan forgiveness program in California

Regardless of where you live, you can always consider federal forgiveness programs. The most common ones are:

You can’t double dip when it comes to student loan forgiveness for your federal student loans. For example, you can’t be on the PSLF program while on the California SLRP. However, you can complete a California student loan repayment program and then enroll in a federal student loan forgiveness program afterward.

If you have private student loans, you’re not eligible for most forgiveness programs. You may want to look into refinancing your student loans for a lower rate.

Student Loan Planner is here to help you choose the right student loan forgiveness program. We’re experts who create the most effective student loan debt payoff plan for your unique situation. Reach out and schedule a consultation today.

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