Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in Maine

Maine is a state in U.S which provides loan forgiveness for the students and workers of the state. Know more about its student loan forgiveness plans and the new bill passed in 2019 to help fund the programs.

Updated by Jason Joy Manoj on 20th November 2019

Maine is one of the major states from the New England region in the United States. It is the 12th smallest state in terms of area and is amongst the least populated states. The average age of the residents is 43 years which is 5 years more than any other state in the country. 

So why is the sudden interest coming up with student loan forgiveness programs?

The answer is, to attract younger workers. Workers who are struggling with their student loan debt can ease their burdens with the help of the state of Maine.

Maine has expressed concern on the lack of workforce in the state and this was brought up by Nate Wildes, the director of Live and Work in Maine who had this to say:

“The fact that you have debt and the fact that you’ve graduated indicate that you have something to offer to the economy”.

Maine has come to recognized the rise in student loan debt in the country and has used this nationwide problem to its advantage to offer assistance in tackling the burden of debt by forgiving student loans along with tax credits.

The assistance provided by the state of Maine for lessening the burden of debt is of two ways - 

  • Maine student loan forgiveness programs 

  • Educational opportunities tax credit 

In this article, we will go through in detail the assistance provided by the state of Maine for students struggling with debt.


Contents


Maine Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

Maine offers many student loan forgiveness programs for its residents and students to help them get relieved from the debt. The various programs are given below. 

1) Educators for Maine Loan Forgiveness Program 

It is a highly competitive and solely based program aimed at providing forgivable loans for current students at Maine who are interested in pursuing careers in education or childcare with an intent to pursue their careers in the state of Maine after graduation. This program opens the doors to teachers looking for student loan forgiveness in Maine.

Amount

The amount awarded under this program is different for undergraduate and graduate students. The amount varies, to provide an estimate of the amount received an undergraduate student can expect to receive up to $3,000 annually and up to $12,000 in total.

For graduate students, they can expect to receive up to $2,000 annually and up to $8,000 in total.

Eligibility

To be eligible for this forgiveness program you need to meet the following - 

  • The student must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale

  • The student must be a resident of Maine 

  • Must be currently graduating high school, an undergraduate student, a graduate student accepted into a postsecondary degree program

  • Undergraduate students must be enrolled full-time in an accredited U.S. College or University. Graduate students must be enrolled at least half-time in an accredited U.S. College or University

  • Interested students must be pursuing an initial certification as a teacher, speech pathology, childcare provider qualification certification.

Application procedure

The Applications for this program are available in February, each year. Applications for 2019-2020 are no longer accepted.

Selection criteria 

In order to get selected for this program, the students will be reviewed based on the following - 

  • Relevant activities performed by the candidate

  • Any special honors or awards received by the candidate

  • Performance by the candidate from an academic perspective 

  • It should be noted that preference will be given to those candidates who are enrolled in underserved subject area programs

  • 500-word essay submitted by the candidate where the style and grammar will be thoroughly evaluated.

Important points to consider 

  • Loan funds are paid directly to the college/university

  • If you fail to perform the eligible work required you must repay the amount with interest.


2) Maine Health Profession Loan Program

It is a competitive and need-based program for students in the state of Maine who are pursuing a Postgraduate Medical, Dental and Veterinary Education. It should be noted that the number of loans awarded each year is limited and dependent on the availability of funding.

Eligibility

  • Students who are Maine residents for one year prior to matriculation into Medical School

  • Students admitted for programs like Allopathic, Osteopathic, Veterinary Medicine or Dentistry at an accredited institution

Application procedure 

Complete the Health Professions Loan Program Application.

Provide a copy of all your undergraduate and graduate transcripts.

Provide Maine Residency Documentation - A signed copy of your most recent Maine Income Tax Return (do not include schedules), copy of your current Driver’s License and copy of your Vehicle Registration.

File the FAFSA by 30th May.

Amount

The amount awarded under this program is up to $100,000 for 4 years with up to $25,000 annually.

Selection criteria

Priority is given to those candidates who require the greatest financial need.

Important points to consider

  • The interest rate can be as low as 0%

  • Funds are paid directly to your school

  • If funding is available then the loan is renewable.


3) Maine Veterinary Medicine Loan Program

It is a competitive and need-based program for students in the state of Maine who are pursuing Veterinary Education. It should be noted that the number of loans awarded each year is limited and dependent on the availability of funding.

Eligibility

  • The student should be a resident at Maine for two years prior to enrollment at a Veterinary School

  • The student must be admitted to a program of study at an accredited school with an entry to the school after January 1, 2011

  • The student must indicate an interest in practicing livestock veterinary medicine in the area of Maine

Application procedure 

  1.  Complete the Maine Veterinary Medicine Loan Program Application.

  2. Write an essay (the topic requirements can be got from the official website)

  3. Provide Maine residency documentation - A signed copy of your most recent Maine income tax return, copy of your current driver’s license and vehicle registration.

  4. File the FAFSA by May 30th. 

Amount 

The amount awarded in this program is a total of $100,000 for four years (which is $25,000 annually)

Selection criteria

Priority is given to applicants who provide a high financial need and show a high possibility of practicing livestock Veterinary Medicine in Maine in an area with insufficient veterinary services.

Important points to consider 

  • Funds are paid directly to your school

  • If funding is available then the loan is renewable.


4) Maine Dental Education Loan Repayment Program 

This program aims to provide repayment assistance to Dentists practicing in underserved areas in Maine.

Eligibility 

  • The interested candidates must agree to serve all patients regardless of ability to pay through insurance or other payment sources and even accept payment terms of MaineCare

  • Candidates must provide a sliding fee scale for payment of services to individuals with family income up to 200% of federal poverty levels; and not limit service to any individual based on the payment source

  • Have qualifying outstanding education loans also including dental education loans

  • They must be employed at a dental care facility in an underserved population area

  • Be licensed to practice in Maine

  • Not be under an agreement for loan repayment from a program funded by the National Health Service Corp

In addition, there have been certain criteria stated for a dental care facility to be met, they are -

  • They should be at an underserved population area of Maine, providing primary dental care and provide notice to patients that it deems necessary

  • Accepts all patients regardless of their ability to pay through insurance or any other payment source 

  • Accepts payment on a sliding fee scale for certain qualified low-income individuals

  • Accepts payment through MaineCare

  • Candidate must not limit service to any individual based on payment source

Application procedure 

  1. Fill up  the Maine Dental Education Loan Repayment Application

  2. Fill up the employment verification form

  3. Submit a list of outstanding education loans

Once selected you will be asked to participate in an interview.

Amount 

The total amount awarded in this program is $80,000 which is up to $20,000 annually.

Important points to consider

  • Both the undergraduate and graduate dental education loans may be qualified for repayment

  • Funds are paid directly to the holder or servicer of your loans

  • Applications are reviewed by the advisory committee on Dental Education


5) Maine Justice Foundation Loan Repayment Assistance Program

This Assistance Program was introduced by the Maine Bar Foundation which has been renamed to the Maine Justice Foundation. It was meant to help Lawyers, who are interested in public service, to pay their law school debts.

Attorneys who are interested in this program must contact their respective employers to check if they participate in this program.

Eligibility 

  • All Lawyers should be employed in a non-profit organization in the application date in Maine

  • Having the intent to give legal aid to the underprivileged

  • The candidate with law school debt can apply for this forgiveness plan

  • It may provide forgiveness to part-time attorneys based on pro-rates.


Educational Opportunities Tax Credit 

This program was initially made available only to students who have studied in Maine but now has been available to students from any college in the US (as long as they have graduated after 2016). The program aims to encourage more qualified individuals to stay and practice in the state of Maine.

For a better understanding of how this program works take the following example - If you have to pay $4,000 in taxes and end up paying a student loan of $3,600 then you owe the state of Maine only $400.

If you are someone with a STEM degree then the terms are even more giving, for example, if an engineer from a STEM discipline paid $1,500 for his/her loans and owes the state $800 then he/she will get back $700 from Maine.


Worried about college finances? Read on student loans


Maine Student Loan Forgiveness Bill 2019

Nate Libby the state senate majority leader had recently co-filed the Maine Senate Bill 149, which states that a bond will fund the program for relieving the students of their remaining loans after living and working in the state of Maine for 5 years.

The program which now has access to sufficient funding has the opportunity to take care of the workforce shortage and aging population in the state of Maine.

The question arises why Libby is pushing for a $250 million bond rather than a Tax Credit, and to answer that, he said this - 

“With a program like this, we have limits, so I suggested $250 million,” he said. ''It’s not like setting up this program would open a floodgate where the state would have to pay off more than $250 million if that’s what the voters support. So in that sense, it’s capped.”

It should be noted that a public hearing of the bill has still not taken place we will just have to wait and watch for the result. 


Conclusion

The State Government of Maine provides multiple financial aids through student loans through several loan forgiveness programs and repayment assistance. These programs are meant to uplift the public service sectors in Maine, especially in underserved regions and fields. 

The application for these programs can be done by downloading their respective forms from the FAME website. If you are a citizen residing in Maine, who has taken the eligible loans, you should consider these programs and check the FAME website for further details.