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Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in New Jersey

New Jersey (NJ) Student Loan Forgiveness
Jennifer Calonia
Jennifer CaloniaUpdated July 31, 2023
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New Jersey student loan borrowers carry a heavy debt load. According to, residents of the state have a collective $42.5 billion in student loan debt, and the average borrower owes $35,434.Fortunately, if you’re a student loan borrower in New Jersey working in a specialized profession, you might be eligible for NJ student loan forgiveness. Read on to learn more.

What Is Student Loan Forgiveness?

Student loan forgiveness is a type of repayment option. Eligible borrowers who work in certain high-demand career fields, such as medicine or teaching, could have all or a portion of their student loan debt canceled. Generally, the borrower must meet the forgiveness program’s employment requirements, commit to a service contract, and have qualifying loans.  Depending on the forgiveness program you participate in, you might need to continue making regular payments until you’ve completed your service terms. 

5 NJ Student Loan Forgiveness Options

There are many state-based forgiveness programs. To qualify for student loan forgiveness in New Jersey, you need to establish yourself as a state resident if you’re not one already. Then, while you’re actively participating in a NJ student loan forgiveness program, you’ll need to maintain your residency in the state. (If you’re a former NJ resident now living in New York state, you can look into New York student loan forgiveness.)Assuming you meet this initial requirement for NJ residency, here’s what you need to know about the different NJ state student loan forgiveness programs.

Behavioral Healthcare Provider Loan Redemption Program

New Jerseyans who are working as psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, clinical social workers, mental health clinical specialists, behavior analysts, clinical alcohol and drug counselors, and professional counselors can explore the state’s Behavioral Healthcare Provider Loan Redemption Program (BHPLRP).To qualify for 2024, you must agree to a two-year, full-time service commitment working at an approved site, and maintain certification or licensure, as required. You can renew your participation for up to three cycles. You may earn up to $150,000 in loan redemption in exchange for up to six years of service.Eligible loans: Higher education loans you took out to obtain your undergraduate and/or graduate degrees to pursue work as a behavioral healthcare provider. The loans must not be in default at the time of application.How to apply: Print and fill out the BHPLRP downloadable application from the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) website. Then, have your qualifying employer sign it, and send the completed application via email to [email protected].

New Jersey STEM Loan Redemption Program

The state partners with employers in New Jersey to offer the STEM Loan Redemption Program. You must have graduated from a New Jersey college or university and have earned a STEM degree in a high-growth field. To qualify, you need to have worked full-time in STEM within the state for a minimum of four years before applying. Once your application is accepted, you’ll need to commit to an additional one to four full-time years of employment in the state, working in an approved STEM profession. For each year worked in an NJ high-growth STEM occupation, the program offers $2,000 in loan repayment assistance. The maximum forgiveness award is a total of $8,000 across four years of service.Eligible loans: Federal student loans and NJCLASS student loans under your own name are eligible for loan forgiveness through the program. Private student loans and loans borrowed by someone else (like your parents) for your education don’t qualify. How to apply: Download and complete the application. Your employer will also need to fill out a section of the form before you submit it to the HESAA. On an annual basis, your employer must complete an Employer Certification form to verify that you’ve met the service requirement for the year.  

NJCLASS Loan Redemption Program for New Jersey Teachers

Eligible New Jersey teachers who are certified to teach in the state can receive up to 25% of principal and interest assistance toward their New Jersey College Loans to Assist State Students (NJCLASS).You must teach a high-need subject and be employed at an eligible NJ school with a hire date that’s on or after January 18, 2022. Examples of high-need subjects include English as a second language, world languages, math, science, special education, and career and technical education. A service contract of four years is required to participate, and you’ll receive up to $5,000 for each completed year. The maximum total award you can earn, depending on your unpaid balance, is $20,000.Eligible loans: New Jersey-state NJCLASS loans that still have an outstanding balance and are not in default. In addition, you can't default on any NJCLASS loans that aren’t being included in the forgiveness program.How to apply: Download and fill out the application; your employer will also need to complete a section certifying your employment. Email a scan of the completed application to [email protected].

Nursing Faculty Loan Redemption Program

State-resident nurses who’ve earned a graduate degree and maintained a 3.0 GPA while enrolled in their program can qualify for a lucrative student loan forgiveness program in New Jersey. Eligible degrees include a master’s degree in nursing, doctor of nursing science degree, doctor of nursing practice degree, or doctor of philosophy degree in nursing or a related field. You must have been hired within the first year of completing your graduate degree as  full-time faculty on or after July 1, 2010. The program also requires your employment to be at a school of nursing in the state for five years. Loan repayment assistance is awarded in tiered amounts:
  • Year 1: Up to $5,000
  • Year 2: Up to $7,000
  • Year 3: Up to $10,000
  • Year 4: Up to $13,000
  • Year 5: Up to $15,000
The maximum redemption amount for the program is $50,000.Eligible loans: Federal and NJCLASS loans that were borrowed toward your graduate degree program are eligible for this student loan forgiveness. Loans that were borrowed for your undergraduate education or were borrowed by someone else on your behalf (such as parent PLUS loans) are ineligible, as are loans in default.How to apply: Print out and complete the application, and have your eligible employer complete their portion of the form. Then submit the application to the HESAA along with any required supporting documents. 

Primary Care Practitioner Loan Redemption Program

The Primary Care Practitioner Loan Redemption Program offers eligible medical providers up to $120,000 in NJ student loan forgiveness. Qualifying providers include primary physicians, physician assistants, dentists, certified nurse practitioners, and certified midwives. To participate, you must be licensed or certified to work in the state, and commit to a two-year service contract serving in an underserved area. The service commitment is in addition to a six-month probationary period. Applicants are accepted on a rolling basis, depending on funding availability. Eligible loans: Federal and private student loans used toward graduate program tuition and other expenses related to your degree are eligible.How to apply: Complete the application and send it via email, along with supporting documents, to [email protected]. Or mail it to: PCPLR Program Officer Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, P.O. Box 540, Trenton, NJ 08625-0540

Other Options for Student Loan Repayment

If NJ student loan forgiveness isn’t a fit for your repayment goals, here are some alternative student loan repayment ideas.

Student Loan Refinancing

Refinancing your student loans can help you secure a new, possibly lower interest rate and new repayment terms. A private student loan refinance pays off your original federal or private education loans and creates a new loan in their place. You’ll make monthly payments to your new refinancing lender moving forward. It’s wise to shop around for the best student loan refinance options you can find.There are advantages and risks of refinancing student loans, however. For example, if you refinance federal student loans, you’ll no longer qualify for government programs and repayment protections. This includes income-driven repayment options, extended deferment and forbearance programs, and federal loan forgiveness.

Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

There are a variety of medical student loan forgiveness programs offered through the federal government, as well as broader forgiveness options from the Department of Education. For instance, one of the federal student loan forgiveness programs is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. PSLF participants must work in the public sector for an eligible employer while making 120 qualifying payments toward their eligible Direct Loans. While participating in the program, you’ll also need to be on an income-driven repayment plan. After you’ve made the minimum required payments toward your federal student debt, your remaining balance is forgiven. As an added bonus, the forgiven amount is not taxable on your income tax return. 

Income-Driven Repayment Plan

The U.S. Department of Education offers the following four income-driven repayment (IDR) plans to help borrowers pay down their federal student loan debt:Private student loans are not eligible for any federal repayment options, including IDR plans. Depending on your income and family size, all four IDR plans may offer a lower monthly payment compared with the Standard Repayment Plan.All IDR plans can end with a borrower’s outstanding balance being forgiven at the end of the repayment period. Unlike PSLF, you might have to pay taxes on IDR-forgiven amounts. Forgiveness may come after 20 or 25 years under any of the IDR plans, but forgiveness may come earlier for some SAVE Plan enrollees.Borrowers with original principal balances of $12,000 or less may be eligible for forgiveness of any remaining balance after making 10 years of payments under the SAVE Plan, according to the Federal Student Aid Office.

The Takeaway

Working toward a student loan forgiveness program in New Jersey can help you pay off your student loans. However, all forgiveness programs in the state are limited to specific skilled professionals. If you don’t qualify for state-sponsored loan forgiveness, and your loans don’t qualify for federal loan forgiveness, you could consider refinancing your student loans. Just be sure to shop around for the best deal you may qualify for. Lantern can simplify the process for you. Just fill out one quick form, and you’ll see which refinancing offers you’re eligible for in a matter of minutes. Lantern makes it easy to compare offers from multiple lenders so that you can find the rates and terms that fit your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does NJ offer student loan forgiveness?
Can I get my student loans completely forgiven in New Jersey?
Do I qualify for student loan forgiveness in NJ?
Photo credit: iStock/Daniel de la Hoz

About the Author

Jennifer Calonia

Jennifer Calonia

Jennifer Calonia is a Los Angeles-based finance writer who has covered the gamut, including student loans, credit card rewards, consumer loans, and debt. Her work has been featured in outlets like Bankrate, NerdWallet, Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, and U.S. News.
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