by Aidan Kang, CFA
Senior Writer
UPDATED: May 23, 2022

If you want to achieve financial stability, you have to learn how to spend less and save more. But there’s one other thing that people often forget – paying off debt. 

Whether it’s credit card debt, home loan, auto loan, medical loan, or student loan, you need to pay them off to avoid incurring hefty penalties and interest charges. It will also end all the stress and inconvenience that they bring to your life.

So, where do you get the extra money you need to settle your debt? Is there a personal grant to help you pay off a loan? The short answer is yes. There are many types of grants that you can receive to help pay off your federal and private student loans if you’re eligible.

However, with the existing health threat that everyone is facing today due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused financial difficulties for many, the government decided to suspend the payments of the student loans from the Department of Education (ED). 

Once the temporary relief is lifted, you will have to start paying back your student loans and that will be the best time to take out a personal grant or loan forgiveness.

COVID-19 Temporary Relief On ED-Owned Federal Student Loans

Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the government suspended repayments for federal student loans, stopped collecting defaulted loans, and imposed a 0% interest rate. It came into effect on March 27, 2020, and was imposed through September 30, 2020. 

The COVID-19 emergency relief measures were extended for federal student loans until September 30, 2021. It was one of the executive orders signed by President Joe Biden during his first day in office last January 20, 2021.

Going back to the topic under normal circumstances, let’s talk about loan repayment programs and how you can get a grant to pay off a loan.

Can You Get Grants to Pay Off Student Loans?

Yes, you can. A personal grant is provided by the federal government or non-profit organizations to eligible cash-strapped individuals. It serves as free money, which means if you get one, you don’t incur debt because you don’t need to repay grants. 

A personal grant may just be what you need to get out of debt and finally enjoy a fresh start. Unfortunately, there are no available grants for credit card debt. 

“How can I get a grant to pay off a loan,” you ask?

You can find personal grants that offer financial help for many types of loans, including assistance in paying off student loans, as well as a loan repayment program. You just need to know what you’re eligible for. It’s hoped that this article will be of good help to you.

Remember, though, that until September 30, 2021, your repayments for your ED-owned student loans have been suspended with no interest. You don’t have to make repayments until the temporary relief has been lifted. 

But if you manage to find a personal grant that can help you pay all your student loan debts, then go ahead and apply for it by all means. If approved, you won’t have to deal with all these, especially when you’re once again required to pay your student debt.

How to Find Free Grants and Programs to Pay Off Student Loan Debt?

Know where to look for free grants that can help you pay for your student loan debt. Here are some places that have loan repayment programs:

  • Organizations that promote certain professions or skills
  • State and federal governments
  • Colleges and universities
  • Employers

Check the eligibility requirements to know if you qualify in a loan repayment program. Prepare all the necessary documents and send your applications. Make sure that you understand all the terms and conditions. Some grants can become a loan if you don’t meet service requirements, for example.

What Are The Grants To Pay Off Student Loans?

Student loan debts in the US reached a total of $1.56 trillion in 2020. This type of debt has a negative effect on the long-term financial goals of many Americans these days, such as buying a home or starting a business.

Many graduates are struggling to pay off their debt and a lot of them are asking the question, “Can I get a grant to pay off a loan?” The answer is yes. 

There are personal grants that can help you pay your student debt loans if you’re eligible. Are you looking for donors that pay off student loans? Here are some of your options.

1. Grants For Health Professionals

If you’re working in the healthcare sector, you might be eligible for the following assistance for medical professionals:

Contraception and Infertility Research Repayment Program

Eligible applicants may get an annual student loan repayment grant of up to $50,000. If approved, you need to work on researching contraception and infertility for two years. Failure to meet this requirement may lead to the loss of the grant. You may also be required to repay a portion or all of the grant amount you received.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

You can pay off your student loan with the help of a personal grant of up to $50,000 a year from NIMH if you’re a healthcare professional who plans to work with a non-profit organization to do social, clinical, or behavioral research for two years.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

Pay off 85% of your outstanding student loan with the help of HRSA. To be eligible, you must be a licensed and registered nurse, a nursing faculty member, or a nurse practitioner.

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Are you a veterinarian who’s struggling to pay off your student loan of at least $15,000? You may be eligible for a loan repayment assistance program where you may receive $25,000 per year. In return, you have to work in an underserved area for three years.

2. Grants For Military Members Or Their Surviving Families

If you have student loans and your parent(s) served in the military and died while deployed in Afghanistan or Iraq following the 9/11 attack, you may be eligible for an Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. You may receive loan repayment assistance of up to $6,345, which you can use to pay off your student loan. Visit the Federal Student Aid website for more information about the eligibility requirements and application procedures.

3. Grants for Lawyers, Public Servants, Volunteers, and Nonprofit Employees

You may apply for a personal grant from John R. Justice (JRJ) Student Loan Repayment Program if you’re a public defender or prosecutor who’s struggling with student loan debt. You may receive up to $10,000 annually for 6 years to pay off your law school loans. Check your state agency website for more information on how to apply.

If you’re working full-time for a US tribal, local, state, or federal government, or a nonprofit organization, you may be eligible for the Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness. This public service loan forgiveness is a well-known program that provides loan forgiveness on Direct Loans, provided that you’ve already made 120 monthly payments. The grant will pay off your remaining balance.

AmeriCorps, Teach for America, and the Peace Corps are some of the qualified nonprofit organizations.

4. Grants for Teachers

The Federal Government offers a TEACH grant for aspiring teachers. The program provides you with $4,000 each year to fund your education. When you finish your degree, you need to teach in schools for low-income students for a minimum of 4 years. Otherwise, your grant will be converted into a loan, which you’ll have to pay with interest.

If you teach in a low-income school or educational service agency for 5 consecutive years, you can qualify for up to $17,500 on loan forgiveness under the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program.

If you have a Federal Perkins loan, it can be forgiven up to 100% through the Perkins Loan Teacher Cancellation program. Eligibility requirements include teaching full-time in a public or nonprofit elementary or secondary school, being a special education teacher, or teaching in the fields of science, mathematics, or foreign languages.

5. Grants for Private Employees

Some private companies offer student loan grants as a recruitment tool. Some include student loan repayment as part of their employee benefits. Among the companies you can check out are: 

  • Penguin Random House – up to $9,000 over the course of 7.5 years
  • Aetna – up to $2,000 a year for a maximum of $10,000
  • Staples – up to $3,600 over the course of 36 months

6. Grants for Veterinarians

Work for three years in a location where there are not enough veterinarians and you can get up to $25,000 per year to pay your veterinarian school debt. This is through the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program from the US Department of Agriculture.

7. Grants for Single Mothers

If you’re a single mother struggling to pay your student loan, you may qualify for the Federal Loan Forgiveness programs that we mentioned above. 

If you’re planning to study and looking for a scholarship, you can apply for federal grants, such as Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), and Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG).

What If You Can’t Get A Personal Grant From The Government?

If you’re unable to meet the requirements of any of the government-offered personal grants, you can try to apply for foundation grants. These are personal grants offered by corporations, foundations, and families to eligible individuals with specific needs.

You don’t need to have a stellar credit report or not have a job to be eligible. You just need to meet the requirements set by the program that you want to apply for. 

But please note that not everyone will be approved for a personal grant by any of these institutions. Most of them have unique criteria when deciding whether to approve an application. Some are limited to specific geographic areas or to individuals who are facing certain living problems, medical issues, or disabilities.

What Are The Other Types Of Personal Grants Offered By The Government?

The government offers several personal grants to people who are in need. These are non-student loan-related debts.

1. Get Help With Paying For Your Phone Bills

Lifeline program provides low-income families and individuals with discounts for landline/cell phone services. You need to meet at least one of the requirements, including having an income below the federal poverty guidelines, to qualify for Lifeline. Find a participating company in your area and submit your application.

2. Get Help With Your Heating And Cooling Bill

The government also offers the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for individuals who can’t afford to pay their home energy bills. The eligibility requirements vary by region and you have to get in touch with the LIHEAP office in your area for more information on how to apply.

3. Get Help With Your Medical Bills

If you’re unable to pay your medical bills, the government’s Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) can help. Contact your local Social Security Administration (SSA) office and Medicare to know how you can apply.

4. Financial Help For Prescription Drugs

If you don’t have the cash to purchase prescription drugs, you can check with your local health centers and State social services agencies. The Medicare Part D may also help you pay for your prescriptions if you’re eligible for Medicare.

5. Welfare Or Temporary Assistance

The government also launched the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which is a benefit program that provides financial assistance for low-income individuals. 

To be eligible, you have to be underemployed or unemployed and must be at least one of the following: pregnant, head of the family, or have a child who is 18 years old or younger. Visit this page for more information.

6. Child Care Assistance

Daycare is one of the major expenses of families these days. A report revealed that American parents spend a total of $42 billion every year for early education and child care. 

If you’re struggling financially and you’re from a low-income family, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the Child Care and Development Fund.

7. College Grants

The Federal Pell Grant is a federal financial aid program that aims to help undergraduates from low-income families by paying for their college education. Your eligibility and how much personal grant you’ll receive will depend on the information that you provide in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

8. Grants For Personal Needs

You may also find personal grants for non-student loan-related debt. There are organizations that offer grants for personal needs

For example, the Vermont Emergency Assistance For Disabled and Needy Veterans offers financial assistance to disabled Vermont veterans while the Paul Motry Memorial Fund provides grants for the medical expenses of disabled kids who live in Erie and Eastern Ottawa Counties, OH.

FAQs on Grants to Pay Off Student Loans

1. Do student loans go away after 7 years?

No, your student loan won’t go away after 7 years. It may be removed from your credit report if your last loan payment was 7.5 years ago, but you’re still responsible for settling your debt.

2. What happens if you never pay your student loans?

If you miss a payment, you’ll be imposed with late payment fees. When you miss payments for 90 days, your loan will be delinquent and sent for collection. The government may withhold your tax refund and your wage can be garnished. Over the long term, it will hurt your credit score and eligibility for future aid. You might also face potential lawsuits.

3. Can you go to jail over student loans?

No, you can’t go to jail for failing to pay your student loans. However, you may be imprisoned if you fail to follow a court order.

4. Can I negotiate my student loan payoff?

Yes. If you’re near default or already defaulted on your student loans, your lender might grant you a student loan settlement. However, there’s no guarantee.

5. Do student loans affect credit scores?

Yes, your student loans can affect your credit score. If you pay on time, it will help boost your score. If you default or miss any monthly payments, your credit score can decline.

Applying For Student Loan Repayment Grants – Beware Of Scammers

A personal grant may be your ticket out of student loan debt. You won’t be taking on more debt if you apply for a personal grant since you don’t have to pay back grant money. You can also save money that you can use for other purposes. 

Just make sure to research your options well and choose the best grants to pay off debt or offer the financial assistance you need. There are various government grants and foundation grants that you may find helpful, giving you repayment options for federal loans and private student loans.

Always remember that scammers are everywhere. Some of these shady individuals won’t hesitate to take advantage of people who are struggling financially. If you’re looking for a government grant or foundation grant, you need to know that you have to apply to be approved.

No legitimate government employee or staff of a non-profit organization will contact and tell you that you got approved for a personal grant that you never applied for. Individuals who are asking you to pay for a processing fee or provide your financial details are most likely scammers.

You must never give out your personal or bank information to people you don’t know, whether it’s through an email, phone call, or in-person meeting. A real government grant will never ask you to pay for anything. It’s a red flag if they tell you otherwise. If someone says that they’re from a certain government agency, verify it right away by visiting the Index of Government Agencies.Get in touch with via email ([email protected]) or phone call (1-800-447-8477) if you think someone is misrepresenting them. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission or call 1-877-382-4357 if you believe you’ve been a victim of a government grant scam.