Student loan borrowers in Minnesota owe an average $31,250 in federal and private student debt, which is 15% less than the national average of $36,689.
There are 900,000 Minnesota student loan borrowers, with an average monthly payment of $254. While many federal loan borrowers are seeing temporary relief by having payments and interest suspended through Sept. 30, 2021, it’s still important to understand Minnesota student loans — and know your options for repayment.
Minnesota student loans: Borrowers owe average of $31,250 in federal, private debt — and more facts
The University of Minnesota has five statewide campuses, including its main campus in the Twin Cities, while the Minnesota State system features 30 colleges and seven universities spread over 54 campuses. To help students pay for college, Minnesota offers various scholarships and grants in addition to federal aid.
One program, the Minnesota State Grant, works in conjunction with the Federal Pell Grant to provide education access on a need basis. There are also grants aimed at helping students with children cover child care costs, as well as scholarships for students of American Indian heritage.
Student loan debt in Minnesota’s largest counties, from Anoka to Ramsey
Student loan debt by ZIP code in Minnesota’s 2 largest cities: Minneapolis, St. Paul
Loan repayment programs for Minnesota residents
If you have Minnesota student loans, there are some programs that can help you receive some student loan forgiveness, depending on your profession. For those who don’t qualify for state loan repayment help, there are federal loan programs, like Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), that may be available.
Loan Repayment Assistance Program of Minnesota
Law graduates who work in public interest areas can apply to the Loan Repayment Assistance Program of Minnesota to potentially receive forgiveness of up to 80% to 95% of their student loans. The amount of the award varies based on various factors, including annual income, assets and years of qualifying employment.
Minnesota Allied Health Care Faculty Loan Forgiveness
For those teaching in eligible postsecondary instruction programs in the health care field, the Allied Health Care Faculty Loan Forgiveness program provides up to $11,000 in student loan forgiveness per year. Recipients are expected to commit to at least three years of instruction, and can receive the award for up to four years with an additional year of service.
Minnesota Dentist Loan Forgiveness
The Dentist Loan Forgiveness program offers licensed dentists up to $40,000 a year in student loan repayment help if at least 25% of their patient visits are through public programs or based on a sliding fee scale. To take advantage of this program, you must serve at least three years, and you can receive the award for up to four years if you commit to an additional year in the program.
Minnesota Long Term Care Nurse Loan Forgiveness
With the Long Term Care Nurse Loan Forgiveness program, it’s possible to receive up to $6,000 a year in student loan repayment help. The minimum term is two years, with an option to extend for another two years. Nurses must work in long-term care facilities (like nursing homes and intermediate care facilities) that meet certain requirements or provide home care.
Minnesota Rural Pharmacist Loan Forgiveness
For licensed pharmacists working in rural areas, the Rural Pharmacist Loan Forgiveness program can provide up to $24,000 a year. To receive the reward, pharmacists must work at least 30 hours a week for at least 45 weeks of the year in an area designated rural by the state legislature. The minimum term of service is three years, and the award can’t be received for more than four years.
Minnesota State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP)
The Minnesota SLRP is designed for primary care providers that practice in health professional shortage areas, which can be rural or urban. For full-time primary care providers, it’s possible to receive up to $20,000 a year in repayment help. Part-time providers can receive up to $10,000 a year. However, you must commit to providing services for at least two years.
Minnesota federal student loan borrowers younger than 25 owe more than national average — and more comparisons
How to refinance Minnesota student loans
Nearly 6% of Minnesota student loan borrowers owe $100,000 or more in federal student loans. For those borrowers, refinancing can be an attractive strategy, as it could potentially reduce your interest rate, allowing you to pay off the debt faster.
When you refinance student loans, you get a new loan that you can use to pay off your smaller student loans. Once the process is complete, you only have one student loan and one payment.
However, while this can simplify your finances and save you money, it’s important to remember that student loan refinancing is a private process, so if you refinance federal loans, you’ll lose government benefits like access to PSLF, income-driven repayment and certain loan deferment options.
Carefully consider your situation, and decide whether it might make more sense to use federal loan consolidation to streamline your federal student loans, while using refinancing for any private student loans you have.
- U.S. Department of Education data as of June 30, 2020
- Anonymized My LendingTree June 2020 credit reports
- Federal Reserve Bank of New York Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax as of June 2020
Because the latter data is from 2015, researchers estimated the increase in student loan debt per borrower in the state using statewide data from anonymized credit reports.
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