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Guide to Virginia Student Loan Forgiveness

Guide to Virginia Student Loan Forgiveness
Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman
Sulaiman Abdur-RahmanUpdated October 27, 2022
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Virginia has several student loan repayment assistance programs on the books. There are Virginia student loan forgiveness programs for doctors, dentists, mental health professionals, and lawyers. These essential workers generally must serve in an underserved part of the state for at least two years to be eligible for tens of thousands of dollars in student debt relief.These programs are known as the Virginia State Loan Repayment Program, the Virginia Behavioral Health Student Loan Repayment Program, the Virginia Physician Loan Repayment Program, and the University of Virginia School of Law’s Virginia Loan Forgiveness Program.

Does Virginia Have Student Loan Programs?

Yes, there are several Virginia college student loan forgiveness programs. You may be eligible for a Virginia student loan forgiveness program if you’re a graduate of UVA Law or a student loan borrower who practices medicine in Virginia.Students can borrow federal education loans from the U.S. Department of Education and private education loans from banks, credit unions, and other commercial lenders. There are several Virginia student loan forgiveness programs on the books that can help you pay off your federal or private student debt.These state-based student loan forgiveness Virginia programs coexist alongside federal student loan forgiveness programs. Other states may also provide student loan repayment assistance awards.Recommended: Guide to State-Based Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

Types of Student Loan Forgiveness

There are two basic types of student loan forgiveness:
  1. Student loan lenders can directly cancel some or all of your education debt
  2. Other entities can provide you with direct student loan repayment assistance
How student loan forgiveness works is that a lender directly cancels or discharges a borrower’s debt, or an entity provides a borrower with loan repayment assistance.Federal student loans come from the U.S. Department of Education, which offers several programs and repayment options that may provide borrowers with student loan forgiveness. Lenders of private student loans may also forgive a borrower’s outstanding debt balance in rare cases, such as part of a debt settlement agreement.Student loan repayment assistance programs can provide direct payments to a borrower’s outstanding student loan balance. These direct payments to your student loan servicer directly reduce your student loan debt burden, which is why such programs can be described as loan forgiveness programs.There are several Virginia student loan discharge plan programs that may offer student loan repayment assistance awards.

Virginia Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

Here are several student loan forgiveness Virginia programs highlighted below:

Virginia State Loan Repayment Program

Doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, licensed clinical social workers, and other health professionals may be eligible for the Virginia State Loan Repayment Program (VA-SLRP).You must work and serve for at least two years in a Health Professional Shortage Area in Virginia to receive education loan repayment awards. Participants can receive up to $140,000 in student debt relief over a four-year period under the program.

UVA School of Law Virginia Loan Forgiveness Program

Graduates of UVA Law who provide professional legal services in a public service employment position may be eligible for debt relief benefits under UVA Law’s Virginia Loan Forgiveness Program.UVA Law alumni from the classes of 2013 and later who earn $85,000 or less in annual income and who practice law in an underserved part of the commonwealth may receive education loan repayment assistance under the program. Eligible alumni with a federal Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan or Income-Based Repayment Plan and program adjusted income of less than $65,000 may receive benefits equal to 100% of their annual loan repayment obligations under IBR or PAYE.

Virginia Behavioral Health Student Loan Repayment Program 

Psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, social workers, and professional counselors in Virginia with eligible student debt may be eligible for the Virginia Behavioral Health Student Loan Repayment Program (BH-SLRP).You must work and serve for at least two years in a federally designated Mental Health Professional Shortage Area, correctional facility, or medically underserved area of Virginia to receive education loan repayment awards. Participants may receive up to $30,000 in student debt relief per year under the program.

Virginia Physician Loan Repayment Program

The Virginia Physician Loan Repayment Program is a student debt relief program that may not always function due to funding issues. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) in a document dated August 2022 suggested that “the state should consider renewing funding for the Virginia Physician Loan Repayment Program.”Doctors in a postgraduate residency program with a valid unrestricted Virginia license to practice medicine and an employment contract to work in a Health Professional Shortage Area may receive up to $140,000 in student debt relief over a four-year period under the program. The program does not function unless it receives adequate funding from Virginia’s state legislature.

Applying for Student Loan Forgiveness in Virginia

Certain professionals are eligible to apply for a Virginia student loan forgiveness program as follows:
  • Medical and dental professionals: Primary care physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and other health care professionals are eligible to apply for the Virginia State Loan Repayment Program. Medical and dental professionals can submit the application online and receive up to $140,000 in student loan repayment assistance if they provide four years of primary care in a Health Professional Shortage Area in Virginia.
  • Behavioral health professionals: Psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, social workers, and professional counselors in Virginia with eligible student debt may apply for the Virginia Behavioral Health Student Loan Repayment Program. Behavioral health professionals can submit the application online and receive up to $30,000 in annual student loan repayment assistance if they serve uninsured or medically underserved Virginians for two years.
  • UVA Law alumni: Graduates of the University of Virginia School of Law who practice law in a public service employment position may apply for benefits under UVA Law’s Virginia Loan Forgiveness Program. Private student loans are not eligible for repayment assistance under this program.
Recommended: Student Loan Forgiveness Guide

Other Options for Student Loan Repayment: 

Refinancing Your Student Loans

Student loan refinancing can provide you with nonfederal plans for repaying your education loan debt. How student loan refinancing works is that borrowers submit an application with a private lender requesting a new loan agreement for refinancing student loan debt.Refinancing federal student loans can allow borrowers to replace their existing federal loans with the terms and conditions of a private loan agreement. There are some student loan refinancing pros and cons to consider. One of the advantages of refinancing student loans is it may provide you with a lower interest rate.One of the big disadvantages of refinancing federal student loans with a private lender, however, is you’ll be forfeiting federal benefits, including your access to federal programs or federal repayment plans that may promote student loan forgiveness.Here are additional factors you may want to consider:

Income-Driven Repayment Plan

The U.S. Department of Education offers the following four income-driven repayment plans to help borrowers pay down their federal student loan debt:These income-driven repayment plans may lead to loan forgiveness after 20 or 25 years for some borrowers.

Employment Sponsorship

Employers may offer student loan repayment assistance as a benefit to eligible employees. Receiving employer student loan repayment benefits at work can help you pay down your student loans faster.If you’re a federal or private student loan borrower and work for an employer that offers student loan repayment assistance, you may receive thousands of dollars in annual student loan repayment assistance.Employers may provide their employees with tax-free educational benefits of up to $5,250 each year through at least 2025.

Consolidating Student Loan Debt

Borrowers may consolidate their federal student loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan. Consolidation can merge all of your federal student loan liabilities into a single federal loan. It can also give you up to 30 years to repay your loans in certain cases.You may lower your monthly payment by consolidating into a longer repayment period. Consolidation can also simplify your federal student loan repayment obligations if you merge all of your federal loans into a single loan product. Federal student loan consolidation can take one to two months to complete.

Student Loan Refinancing Rates

Student loan refinancing may be right for you if you can lock in a lower interest rate. Lantern by SoFi can help you compare student loan refinance rates. Explore your options without impacting your credit score and consider applying with a lender of your choice.Find and compare student loan refinance options with Lantern.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Does Virginia have student loan forgiveness?
Who qualifies for the Virginia student loan forgiveness program?
What types of student loan forgiveness does Virginia offer?

About the Author

Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman

Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman

Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman writes about personal loans, auto loans, student loans, and other personal finance topics for Lantern. He’s the recipient of more than 10 journalism awards and currently serves as a New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists board member. An alumnus of the Philadelphia-based Temple University, Abdur-Rahman is a strong advocate of the First Amendment and freedom of speech.
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