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Guide to North Carolina Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

Guide to North Carolina Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
Jacqueline DeMarco
Jacqueline DeMarcoUpdated August 1, 2023
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
Borrowers in North Carolina may be able to find some debt relief with student loan forgiveness programs in their state. Read on to learn about student loan forgiveness in North Carolina, the programs that are available, and other options borrowers have for repaying their student loan debt. 

How Does Student Loan Forgiveness Work

Student loan forgiveness is when some or all of a borrower’s student loan debt is canceled or eliminated. There are both federal and state forgiveness programs. For instance, as far as student loan forgiveness in NC, there are student loan repayment programs and student loan assistance programs that can help with forgiveness. Just make sure you apply to a trusted and reputable forgiveness program. There are some student loan forgiveness scams that you’ll want to avoid. This guide to student loan forgiveness can help you explore your options. 

Is There an NC Student Loan Forgiveness Program?

There are a number of different student loan forgiveness programs available in North Carolina. They are sometimes referred to as North Carolina student loan elimination programs. These plans and programs tend to be geared toward borrowers who majored in specific fields in school or followed a particular career path. 

5 Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in North Carolina

Here are five NC student loan forgiveness programs, what they entail, and how to qualify for them.  

North Carolina State Loan Repayment Program

The North Carolina Office of Rural Health offers the North Carolina State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP). This program helps provide financial support to mental health providers who give primary and psychiatric care to rural and underserved communities. Mental health providers must practice in an approved setting and may qualify for student loan repayment of up to $50,000 if they agree to a two-year service commitment.


Prosecutors, public defenders, and government, public sector, and non-profit public interest attorneys working full time in North Carolina in a public interest field may qualify for forgivable student loans via the NC LEAF program. Applicants must have a J.D. degree from an American Bar Association accredited law school and be a licensed member in good standing of the North Carolina State Bar to be eligible for up to $85,000 in support (or $150,000 for a couple, which includes spouses or domestic partners). They must also have at least $10,000 in outstanding law school debt.

Forgivable Education Loans for Service

The Forgivable Education Loans for Service program provides up to $14,000 in forgivable student loans to North Carolina residents who are enrolled in an approved education program. Participants also have to commit to working in critical employment shortage professions in North Carolina to qualify.

North Carolina Loan Repayment Program

Through the North Carolina Loan Repayment Program, participants who provide comprehensive primary care services in eligible facilities in underserved and rural communities can qualify for up to $100,000 of student loan forgiveness. To be eligible, they need to make a four-year service commitment as a dentist or physician. Nurse practitioners and dental hygienists can qualify for up to $60,000 in forgiveness.

Loan Repayment Assistance Program

With the Loan Repayment Assistance Program, participants who qualify can receive a loan from the UNC School of Law to help pay for their education at the school. They can have that loan forgiven after a year if they meet all program requirements. If they become ineligible at any point throughout the year, they have to repay the loan. To be eligible, applicants must be graduates of UNC School of Law and work a minimum of 20 hours per week in a law-related job in public service. 

Applying for Student Loan Forgiveness in NC

Each of the NC student loan forgiveness programs has different application and eligibility requirements, along with specific deadlines. Be sure to thoroughly review all the requirements and rules of any NC forgiveness program you’re applying to. Recommended: Guide to State-Based Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

Ways to Lower Your  Student Loan Payments

NC student loan forgiveness programs aren’t the only option that the state’s borrowers have for repaying large amounts of student loan debt. Here are some other methods to consider to help lower your student loan payments and eventually become debt-free. 

Student Loan Refinancing

You may be able to save money and pay off your student loan debt faster by refinancing your student loans as long as you can qualify for a lower interest rate. When a borrower refinances a student loan, they apply for a new loan that replaces their original loans. Refinancing can also help borrowers combine multiple loans into a single loan, which can make the repayment process simpler and easier. But there are pros and cons to refinancing. For instance, one major disadvantage is how refinancing affects student loan forgiveness. If borrowers refinance a federal student loan into a private loan, they lose access to federal protections and forgiveness programs. It’s very important to take this into consideration before you decide to refinance.

Federal Student Loan Forgiveness

In addition to student loan forgiveness in NC, borrowers can look into federal student loan forgiveness programs like the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF) if they have federal student loans. This program helps college graduates pay back their debt if they agree to work for a government agency or eligible nonprofit organization. To qualify, you must be on an income-driven repayment plan and make 120 payments to your student loan debt. Once you meet the criteria, the remainder of your debt will be forgiven.

Income-Driven Repayment

Income-driven repayment plans base the borrower’s minimum monthly payment on the income they earn, and their payment won’t surpass as little as 5% of their discretionary income. This type of payment plan isn’t necessarily the fastest path toward full repayment, but it can make it easier to afford payments. The government's SAVE program for federal loan repayment will go into effect within the year.

Consolidating Student Loans

If a borrower has a few different federal student loans, all of which have different interest rates, payment amounts, and loan balances that are hard to keep track of, they can consolidate their student loans into a single loan so that they have just one simple payment to deal with. 

Student Loan Refinancing Rates

Student loan forgiveness programs in North Carolina can help borrowers make significant progress on repaying their student loan debt. Unfortunately, not all borrowers will qualify for student loan forgiveness. If student loan forgiveness in NC isn’t an option for you, you may want to consider refinancing your student loans to potentially save money on interest. Lantern makes it easy for you to find out if you may qualify for a different interest rate. In our online marketplace you can conveniently compare rates and terms from multiple lenders to find one that could work for you. Compare student loan refinancing options with Lantern.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for student loan forgiveness in NC?
Does NC have a student loan forgiveness program?
Does NC have COVID-19 student loan forgiveness?
Photo credit: iStock/Su Arslanoglu

About the Author

Jacqueline DeMarco

Jacqueline DeMarco

Jacqueline DeMarco is a personal finance writer and editor based in Southern California. While she spends the bulk of her time writing about complex financial issues, she also tackles a variety of subjects ranging from food to fashion to travel. Her work can be found across dozens of publications such as Credit Karma, LendingTree, Northwestern Mutual, The Everygirl, and Apartment Therapy.
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