Across the pond, there are a number student loan forgiveness and discharge programmes, which have been developed by the government to help reduce some of a student’s debt burden. The catch? Not much of one really – all a US student needs to do is to work for an organisation, or in a field, which is facing economic hardship.
For example, according to CBS, a law school graduate and you became a District Attorney or public defender (as opposed to the more lucrative private client work) you could apply for the John R Justice student loan repayment programme. Under this programme, you would see up to $4,000 of your student loan paid off each year, to a maximum of $60,000.
Those in the health professions also stand to benefit by applying for example for the National Health Service Corps.
And gratifying, other, more ‘normal’ jobs, such as teachers, librarians and employees of non-profits could also see part of their loans repaid in exchange for just a few years’ service.
Schemes like this are badly needed in the UK. The cost of going to university in the UK is edging ever closer to that of studying in the US. At the same time, the public sector is cutting back on what made it an attractive option for many people. Public sector workers have accepted a lower salary in some fields as a trade off for benefits such as the generous pension schemes, longer holidays and shorter working hours. These have been steadily eroded in recent years.
As a result, talent has trickled away from the public sector into the private sector.
This could be just what the public sector needs to entice and retain gifted and open-minded young people. Schemes like this may exist in the UK, but more needs to be done to publicise them.
Let me know if you do know any schemes like this?