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Guide to Student Loan Forgiveness in Minnesota (MN)

Student Loan Forgiveness in MN (Minnesota)
Rebecca Safier
Rebecca SafierUpdated July 31, 2023
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The majority of Minnesota college students graduate with student loan debt. In fact, 64% of MN grads owe an average of $32,012. If you’re one of those students, you may have options for student loan forgiveness. The state of Minnesota offers student loan forgiveness and assistance programs for residents. Plus, you could explore federal loan forgiveness programs that are available to borrowers nationwide. If you’re looking for help paying off your student loans, read on to learn about your options for student loan forgiveness in MN. 

Does Minnesota Have Any Student Loan Forgiveness Programs?

There are a number of Minnesota student loan forgiveness programs and repayment assistance plans for residents of the state. Most are reserved for healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and dentists who work in underserved communities. Minnesota also offers programs for pharmacists and lawyers. The majority of these programs offer awards for up to four straight years, which could help pay off your student loans

9 Minnesota Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

Several of the MN student loan forgiveness programs are meant to encourage healthcare professionals to work in nonprofit organizations and high-need areas. Here’s a closer look at the details.  

1. Minnesota Urban Physician Loan Forgiveness Program

Administered by the Minnesota Department of Health, the Minnesota Urban Physician Loan Forgiveness Program offers up to $33,000 per year for up to four years to qualifying healthcare professionals. Specifically, you must be a primary care physician in family practice, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, internal medicine, or psychiatry. You also must work in a qualifying shortage area. 

2. Minnesota Rural Physician Loan Forgiveness Program

The Minnesota Rural Physician Loan Forgiveness Program provides up to $33,000 per year for four years to eligible primary care physicians working in rural shortage areas. As with its urban program counterpart, residents can apply in their final year and may provide services in family practice, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, internal medicine, or psychiatry.

3. Minnesota Rural Advanced Practice Provider Loan Forgiveness Program

This program awards $14,000 annually to qualifying nurse practitioners, psychiatric nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, certified nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, and advanced clinical nurse specialists awards $14,000 who serve up to four years in a designated rural area. 

4. Minnesota Nurse Loan Forgiveness Program

Minnesota’s Nurse Loan Forgiveness Program awards up to $6,000 per year for up to four years to qualifying licensed registered nurses with a certificate as a public health nurse. They must work in designated shortage areas. 

5. Nurse Faculty Loan Forgiveness Program

If you’re in a master’s or doctorate program studying to become an allied health care educator or nurse educator, you could qualify for Minnesota’s Nurse Faculty Loan Forgiveness Program. As with Minnesota’s other options for healthcare workers, this program requires you to work in a facility or community that’s experiencing a shortage of access to healthcare services. It could pay up to $9,000 per year for up to four years in student loan assistance. 

6. Rural Pharmacist Loan Forgiveness Program

Those looking for pharmacist student loan forgiveness and willing to work in a shortage area following graduation might earn up to $24,000 per year for four years through this Minnesota program. While licensed pharmacists are eligible, the program says that students and residents in their final year of training will get priority. 

7. Minnesota Dentist Loan Forgiveness Program

Dental students, residents, and licensed dentists in Minnesota could receive up to $41,000 per year for four years in student loan aid through the state’s Dentist Loan Forgiveness Program. It gives priority to students and residents in their final year of training and requires them to work in a shortage area. 

8. Minnesota State Loan Repayment Program

This program provides repayment assistance to psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health practitioners who commit to two years of service in a health professional shortage area. Some qualifying professions include: 
  • Nurse Practitioners (psychiatric only)
  • Clinical or Counseling Psychologists (Ph.D. or equivalent)
  • Licensed Independent Clinical Social Workers
  • Psychiatric Nurse Specialists
  • Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors 
  • Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists 
  • Registered Nurses
The award provides up to $20,000 per year for two years if recipients work full-time, and up to $10,000 per year for two years if they work half-time. 

9. Minnesota Law Repayment Assistance Program

Minnesota lawyers who work in nonprofit organizations and represent low-income clients could receive student loan help from Minnesota’s Law Repayment Assistance Program. Award amounts vary, and a graduated income cap for qualifying lawyers applies.Recommended: Guide to Medical School Loan Forgiveness Programs

Can You Apply for Federal and State Student Loan Forgiveness?

You can typically apply for federal and state student loan forgiveness programs simultaneously. However, it’s worth checking with the program administrators to see if there are any conflicts or additional requirements you’ll need to meet. If you’re pursuing Public Service Loan Forgiveness, you should note that the program requires 120 qualifying payments. If a Minnesota loan assistance program pays out a single lump sum toward your loans, that will only count as one payment. In this case, you might want to ask if the repayment benefit can be paid monthly, rather than as a lump sum, so that it could count as multiple payments instead of just one. 

Other Ways to Pay Back Student Loans

Besides Minnesota student loan forgiveness programs, you have other options for managing your student loan debt.

Federal Student Loan Forgiveness

The government offers several student loan forgiveness programs to qualifying borrowers, such as: 
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness: Cancels your entire balance after 10 years of eligible payments and working in a qualifying nonprofit or government organization. 
  • Teacher Loan Forgiveness: Offers up to $17,500 toward your loans after five consecutive years working as a teacher in a low-income school. 
These are just two examples of federal loan forgiveness programs that could help you pay down your debt. Check out our full guide of student loan forgiveness programs for more. 

Income-Based Repayment Plans

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. 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.

Student Loan Refinancing

Student loan refinancing is also worth exploring, especially if you have high-interest private student loans. Here’s how student loan refinancing works: When you refinance, you exchange one or more of your current loans for a new one.Depending on your credit, you could qualify for better student loan refinancing rates than the interest rates you have now. Lowering your interest rate could reduce your loan costs. Plus, you can choose new repayment terms and combine multiple loans into one to simplify repayment. There are pros and cons of student loan refinancing, though. One potential danger is that refinancing federal student loans turns them private, meaning they’ll no longer qualify for federal forgiveness programs, income-driven plans, or other protections. Be careful about forfeiting access to these federal plans if you’re relying on them now or suspect you might need them in the future. 

The Takeaway

If you’re preparing to be a healthcare provider, pharmacist, or lawyer in Minnesota, you might qualify for forgiveness or assistance toward paying off your student loans. Review the details of each program carefully to ensure you meet eligibility requirements. Whether you qualify for repayment assistance or not, it’s worth exploring all your options for managing your student loan debt. Strategies such as applying for federal forgiveness programs, looking into income-driven repayment, or refinancing your student loans for better rates could help you conquer your balance. If you’re considering refinancing your student loans, Lantern can help you through the process. In our marketplace, you can easily and conveniently compare rates and terms from multiple lenders all at once.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Minnesota have a student loan forgiveness program?
Who qualifies for the student loan forgiveness program in Minnesota?
Can I ask for my student loans to be forgiven in Minnesota?
Photo credit: iStock/shapecharge

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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