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Guide to Florida Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

Guide to Florida Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
Rebecca Safier
Rebecca SafierUpdated August 31, 2023
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If you’re a student loan borrower in the Sunshine State, you might have options for getting your student loans forgiven. In fact, Florida offers two student loan relief programs to qualifying professionals who live and work in the state. Plus, there are a number of federal loan programs worth exploring that could forgive your student loans. If you’re a Florida resident with education loans, read on to learn about your student loan forgiveness options. 

2 Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in Florida

Florida offers two student loan relief programs for residents: the Florida Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program (NSLFP) and Florida Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP). 
Florida Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program (NSLFP)Florida Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP)
Loan Forgiveness Amount$4,000 per year for four years Up to $5,000 per year 
Qualifying Profession  Licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, advanced registered nurse practitionerLawyers 
Qualifying Workplace Public school, state medical facility, teaching hospital, or other qualifying site in a designated shortage area Participating civil aid organization 

1. Florida Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program (NSLFP)

NSLFP offers up to $4,000 in student loan forgiveness for up to four years to qualifying nurses who work in shortage areas. You must be a licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, or advanced registered nurse practitioner to be eligible. You also must be employed full-time at a qualifying site, which could include a public school, state medical facility, teaching hospital, or the Department of Health. If you qualify, this program will pay out $4,000 directly to your loan servicer every year. 

2. Florida Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP)

If you’re a practicing lawyer in Florida, you could qualify for Florida’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program. This LRAP offers up to $5,000 each year as a forgivable loan that you can use to pay down your debt. The program then forgives the loan on an annual basis. To be eligible, you must be employed at least half-time by a civil aid organization that’s receiving a grant from the Florida Bar Foundation. You also must continue to meet all of the LRAP’s requirements to get your loan forgiven at the end of the year. 

Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in Florida

While Florida’s state loan programs are limited to nurses and lawyers, other professionals might find student loan repayment relief with a federal forgiveness program. Options for federal loan forgiveness include the following programs.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program forgives your entire federal student loan balance after 10 years of working in public service. You’ll need to work in a qualifying workplace, such as a nonprofit or government organization. Plus, you’ll need to make 120 payments on a qualifying repayment plan, specifically one of the income-driven repayment plans

Teacher Loan Forgiveness

The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program offers loan forgiveness for teachers in low-income schools and other qualifying settings. If you teach math, science, or special education, you could receive up to $17,500 after five consecutive years. Teachers of other subjects can get up to $5,000 in loan forgiveness. 

Income-Driven Repayment Plans

The government will also forgive your student loan balance at the end of your term on an income-driven plan, such as Income-Contingent Repayment or Pay As You Earn. Income-driven plans extend your loan terms to 20 or 25 years while adjusting your monthly payments in accordance with your income. If you still have a balance at the end of your term, it could be forgiven. You might have to pay taxes on the forgiven amount, though taxes on forgiven loans have been waived through 2025.

Other Ways to Pay Back Student Loans

While forgiveness programs can offer major student loan relief, not everyone will qualify. If you have alternative career plans, for instance, you might want to explore different ways to pay back your student loans. 

Income-Based Repayment Plans

Income-driven repayment plans can make your monthly student loan payments more affordable. There are four plans to choose from: 
  • Income-Based Repayment 
  • Pay As You Earn 
  • Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan (this will replace the Revised Pay As You Earn Plan)
  • Income-Contingent Repayment 
Depending on the plan, your payment could be as low as 5% of your discretionary income. Some borrowers may even see their payments reduced to $0 on an income-driven plan. As mentioned, income-driven plans can end in loan forgiveness if you still have a balance at the end of 20 or 25 years. Plus, they’re the only federal repayment plans that qualify for PSLF. 

Student Loan Refinancing

Another option is refinancing your federal and/or private student loans with a private lender. If you have strong credit, you could qualify for a better interest rate than you have currently. Lowering your rate has the potential to reduce your monthly payment and loan costs. There are both advantages and disadvantages of refinancing student loans, though. If you refinance federal loans, for example, you sacrifice federal plans and programs. After you refinance, your federal loans turn private, so they would no longer be eligible for income-driven repayment or PSLF. Make sure you don’t need any federal protections now or in the future before refinancing your federal loans, since you can’t reverse the process once it’s done. Recommended: How Student Loan Refinancing Works

The Takeaway

Getting your student loans forgiven could be a huge relief. Even partial forgiveness can go a long way toward making your loans more manageable and getting you out of debt sooner. But not everyone will qualify for student loan forgiveness programs. If you don’t plan to work in public service or a shortage area, for instance, your options for student loan assistance will be limited. Refinancing student loans could be a strategic move. Pursuing a lower interest rate through refinancing could make sense, as long as you don’t need access to federal plans and programs. If you’re interested in the process, Lantern can help you find and compare competitive student loan refinancing rates. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any student loan forgiveness programs specific to the state of Florida?
Who qualifies for student loan forgiveness in Florida?
Are student loans forgiven automatically after 7 years?
Photo credit: iStock/Rockaa

About the Author

Rebecca Safier

Rebecca Safier

Rebecca Safier has nearly a decade of experience writing about personal finance. Formerly a senior writer with LendingTree and Student Loan Hero, she specializes in student loans, financial aid, and personal loans. She is certified as a student loan counselor with the National Association of Certified Credit Counselors (NACCC).
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