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Guide to Ohio Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

Guide to Ohio Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
Rebecca Safier
Rebecca SafierUpdated January 13, 2023
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The state of Ohio offers a number of student loan forgiveness programs for professionals, including doctors, dentists, and lawyers. To qualify, you typically need to work in a high-need or shortage area at least half-time. These programs could wipe away a large portion of your student loan debt, perhaps even bringing your balance down to zero. With President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan on hold because of legal challenges, borrowers may be looking for some other forgiveness options. Fortunately, residents in Ohio have a number of alternatives. Read on to learn about student loan forgiveness programs in Ohio. 

9 Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in Ohio

There are a variety of Ohio student loan forgiveness programs. Here’s information about nine of them. 
Loan Forgiveness AmountQualifying Profession
John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment ProgramVariesPublic defenders and prosecutors 
Ohio Physician Loan Repayment Program$25,000 per year for two years; $35,000 per year for an additional 3rd and 4th year Primary care physician 
Ohio Dentist Loan Repayment Program$25,000 per year for two years; $35,000 per year for an additional 3rd and 4th year General or pediatric dentist
Ohio Dental Hygienist Loan Repayment Program$25,000 per year for two years; $35,000 per year for an additional 3rd and 4th year Dental hygienist 
School Specific Student Loan Repayment Aid Varies Varies
Ohio Department of Health State Loan Repayment ProgramUp to $50,000 per year for two years; $35,000 per year for an additional 3rd and 4th year Primary care, mental health, and dental providers 
National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program in Ohio Up to $50,000 per year for two years Primary care clinicians 
Students to Service Ohio Loan Repayment ProgramUp to $120,000 Students pursuing a degree in allopathic or osteopathic medicine
Nurse Education Assistance Loan ProgramVaries Nursing students 

1. John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program

The John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program offers loan repayment assistance to eligible public defenders and prosecutors who are licensed to practice law in Ohio. To qualify, you must agree to work as a public defender or prosecutor for a minimum of three years. Your loans have to be in good standing, and you can only get help paying back federal student loans. This program operates nationally but is administered on a state-by-state basis. The amount of student loan repayment assistance varies. You could contact Ohio’s program manager to see what amount of assistance you might be eligible for. 

2. Ohio Physician Loan Repayment Program

The cost of medical school can be significant. The Ohio Physician program offers up to $25,000 in student loan assistance to qualifying primary care physicians for two years. Part-time physicians could receive up to $12,500. Plus, you could get another $35,000 per year if you stay on for a third and fourth year. To be eligible, you’ll need to work in a designated shortage area and have a qualifying specialty, such as family practice, general internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, or psychiatry. 

3. Ohio Dentist Loan Repayment Program

Similar to the physician program, the Ohio dentist loan repayment program offers $25,000 annually for two years, plus $35,000 each year for a third and fourth year to qualifying full-time dentists (and half that amount to part-time dentists). You must work in a designated facility and be a general or pediatric dentist. Dental students in their final year of dental school and dental residents in their last year of residency can also qualify. 

4. Ohio Dental Hygienist Loan Repayment Program

Dental hygienists may be eligible for loan repayment assistance through Ohio’s dentist and dental hygienist loan repayment program. The program awards $25,000 each year for two years as part of the initial service contract. Dental hygienists who serve for a third or fourth year could receive another $35,000 annually, and part-time dental hygienists may receive half that amount.  

5. School Specific Student Loan Repayment Aid

Some schools in Ohio offer student loan repayment assistance to alumni. Ohio Christian University, for example, provides assistance for both federal and private student loans to graduates who earn less than $45,000 after graduation. It will also provide assistance to parents with parent PLUS loans. Capital University Law School offers loan assistance to graduates of its Juris Doctor program who work for a nonprofit or government agency and make less than $50,000 per year. Check with your school to see if it offers any loan repayment assistance after graduation. 

6. Ohio Department of Health State Loan Repayment Program

Ohio’s Department of Health offers up to $50,000 in loan forgiveness to qualifying primary care, mental health, and dental providers who work for two years in a shortage area. Eligible providers could stay on for a third or fourth year and receive an additional $35,000 per year, if funds are available.

7. National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program in Ohio

This program awards up to $50,000 to qualifying licensed primary care clinicians working in Ohio on a two-year contract. Clinicians must work in high-need areas, and additional forgiveness might be available after the first two years are up. If you continue working for several years, you might be able to get your entire student loan balance paid off early with the help of this program. The National Health Service Corps also offers a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Workforce Loan Repayment Program, which awards up to $75,000 to qualifying health care professionals who provide three years of substance use disorder treatment services. Plus, providers in rural communities who provide three years of service could earn up to $100,000 in loan assistance through the organization’s Rural Community Loan Repayment Program. 

8. Students to Service Ohio Loan Repayment Program

The Students to Service program is reserved for students currently pursuing a degree in medicine, dentistry, or nursing who are in their final year of school. Students could receive up to $120,000 in loan repayment assistance, but they must agree to work in a high-need shortage area after graduation for three years. Additional funding may be available when the contract is up if if the recipient decides to stay on, but those decisions depend on the program’s funding at the time. 

9. Nurse Education Assistance Loan Program (NEALP)

Ohio’s NEALP program awards loan repayment assistance to qualifying nursing students enrolled in an approved Ohio nurse education program. Award amounts vary, but the program most recently offered $1,500 per year. Loan cancellation becomes available after graduation on an annual basis for five consecutive years. Recommended: Guide to State-Based Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

Other Ways to Pay Back Student Loans

If you don’t qualify for these student loan forgiveness programs in Ohio, you still have other options for managing your student loan debt. Here are some student loan repayment ideas worth considering.

Federal Student Loan Forgiveness

Federal student loan forgiveness programs are available to qualifying borrowers nationwide. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, for instance, forgives student loans after 120 eligible student loan payments and 10 years of qualifying public service. The Teacher Loan Forgiveness program offers up to $17,500 in forgiveness for teachers in low-income schools. Explore our student loan forgiveness guide to see if any programs could be a fit for your situation. 

Student Loan Refinancing

Refinancing might be a beneficial strategy for borrowers who have good credit (or can apply with a cosigner who does). When you refinance, you exchange one or more of your current loans for a new loan.You can shop around to find out your student loan refinancing rate. If the new loan has a better interest rate than what you have now, you could spend a lot less on interest over the life of your loan. You can also choose new repayment terms and adjust your monthly payment, as a result. There are both advantages and risks of refinancing student loans, however. A disadvantage is that refinancing federal student loans means forfeiting access to federal protections and programs, including federal repayment plans and forgiveness programs. If you have federal loans, it's important to consider this carefully before refinancing.

Income-Based Repayment Plans

The government also offers a variety of repayment plans for federal student loans, including four income-driven repayment plans. These plans are: All these plans adjust your student loan payments in accordance with your family size and income. You must recertify your plan annually. You can also update your information sooner if your family size or income changes. Depending on how much money you make, your payment on an income-driven repayment plan could be as low as $0. If you still have a balance at the end of your 20- or 25-year repayment term, it will be forgiven. 

The Takeaway

Pursuing loan forgiveness can be a smart strategy for borrowers who owe a lot of student debt and are interested in working in a high-need or shortage area. If you live and work in Ohio, you have a number of programs available to you that could cancel a portion (or all) of your student debt. If you don’t qualify for loan forgiveness or repayment assistance, you may want to consider other options, such as an income-driven repayment plan or refinancing for better rates, which could potentially save you money.If you’re interested in refinancing your student loans, Lantern can help you compare rates and terms from multiple lenders all at once. Our online marketplace makes exploring student loan options quick and convenient. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Ohio have a student loan forgiveness program?
Where can you apply for student loan forgiveness in Ohio?
Who is eligible for student loan forgiveness?
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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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