Student Loan Forgiveness In California

Student loan borrowers living in California have access to multiple loan forgiveness opportunities in the state. Depending on your profession, employer and willingness to serve in specific areas within the state, there might be a California student loan forgiveness program for you.

Learn how student loan forgiveness in California works and the many state programs that can help you reduce your student loan debt.

How Does Student Loan Forgiveness Work in California?

Programs for student loan forgiveness vary in terms of eligibility requirements and award limits. But in general, to qualify for a California student loan forgiveness program you’ll need to:

  • Provide proof that you’re a California resident or are licensed to practice in your field within the state.
  • Meet a set of criteria to have your remaining student loans forgiven. This often includes a service commitment, such as working in a high-need California community, particularly for loan forgiveness programs for health service providers.
  • Confirm that your student loan type is eligible for the California student loan forgiveness program you’re pursuing. Certain programs might allow borrowers to include federal and private student loan debt while others might only permit certain federal loans.

Borrowers who maintain their program eligibility, have qualifying educational loans and complete the service agreement may have their remaining student debt forgiven.

9 Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in California

Here’s a list of California loan forgiveness programs that are available to residents of the Golden State.

1. Allied Healthcare Loan Repayment Program

Forgiveness amount: Up to $16,000

County Medical Services Program (CMSP) Allied Healthcare Loan Repayment Program (AHLRP) offers up to $16,000 in student loan forgiveness for California-licensed allied health care professions. Qualifying professions include medical assistants, anesthesia technicians, audiologists and more.

To be eligible, health providers must provide a minimum of 32 hours of direct patient care each week at a CMSP-facility in a participating county for 12 months.

2. Bachelor of Science Nursing Loan Repayment Program

Forgiveness amount: Up to $10,000

Bachelor of Science in Nursing Loan Repayment Program (BSNLRP) participants can earn up to $10,000 in loan forgiveness after a 12-month service agreement. It’s available to California-licensed registered nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.

Participants are required to log at least 32 hours per week toward direct patient care at an eligible state site.

Related: 5 Ways To Get Student Loan Forgiveness For Nurses

3. California Dental Association (CDA) Student Loan Repayment Grant

Forgiveness amount: Up to $250,000

The CDA Student Loan Repayment Grant is available to graduates who’ve recently completed dental school or a dental specialty program and are eligible to practice dentistry in California.

The 2022 grant offers an annual $50,000 award over five years for a maximum award limit of $250,000.

Eligible loans include federal and private student loans. Grant recipients must agree to provide dental services within California’s underserved communities.

4. CalHealthCares Loan Repayment Program

Forgiveness amount: Up to $300,000

CalHealthCares Loan Repayment Program offers a significant student loan forgiveness opportunity for California-licensed dentists and doctors. Program participants must have graduated within the last five years or will soon complete a residency or fellowship.

Additionally, borrowers must agree to a five-year service term and meet Medi-Cal patient caseload requirements to be eligible for loan forgiveness.

5. California State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP)

Forgiveness amount: Up to $110,000

The California SLRP is available to a variety of health care providers who are licensed and able to practice in California. Borrowers must not already be participating in another agency’s service obligation or have breached a service agreement in the past. Additionally, participants must not have any federal debt judgments and be current on child support obligations.

After two years of full-time commitment, recipients can receive $50,000 in California student loan forgiveness. Recipients can extend their service commitment up to four additional years at varying award amounts for a maximum program amount of $110,000.

Those who participate in the program half-time are required to complete a four-year initial obligation for a $50,000 award. Recipients can also extend their contract for up to four additional years to earn differing award amounts.

6. County Medical Services Program (CMSP) Loan Repayment Program

Forgiveness amount: Up to $50,000

Participants of the CMSP Loan Repayment Program must commit to working within an approved facility in one of 35 CMSP-participating counties. Eligible professions include general dentists, primary care nurse practitioners and physician assistants, as well as certain other medical providers.

There are two award tiers depending on whether you serve on a half- or full-time basis. Full-time providers who complete a two-year service commitment can receive up to $50,000. Half-time providers can receive up to $25,000 in forgiveness after fulfilling a two-year service agreement.

7. Licensed Mental Health (LMH) Services Provider Education Program

Forgiveness amount: Up to $30,000

The LMH Services Provider Education Program is accessible to California-licensed mental health providers. In exchange for up to $30,000 in student loan forgiveness, recipients must agree to provide two years of direct mental health care and at least 32 hours per week at an eligible facility.

8. Licensed Vocational Nurse Loan Repayment Program (LVNLRP)

Forgiveness amount: Up to $6,000

The LVNLRP is specifically designed for practicing licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) in California. In exchange for a 12-month service commitment, offering at least 32 hours of direct patient care at an approved site, participants receive up to $6,000 in loan forgiveness.

9. Steven M. Thompson Physician Corps Loan Repayment Program (STLRP)

Forgiveness amount: Up to $105,000

STLRP is designed to incentivize qualified and California-licensed physicians and surgeons to serve in shortage areas. After fulfilling a three-year, full-time service contract working in underserved communities at an eligible facility, participants can receive up to $105,000 in forgiveness.

Generally, physicians must be practicing outpatient care and provide at least 32 hours of direct patient care per week. Obstetricians must offer at least 21 hours of direct patient care each week.

Other Loan Forgiveness Options

If you don’t qualify for the California student loan forgiveness programs above, there are a handful of federal loan forgiveness options to explore, such as:

  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF): After fulfilling at least 120 qualifying payments toward eligible federal direct loans, your remaining loan balance can be forgiven through PSLF. During repayment, however, you must be enrolled in an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan and work for a government or nonprofit employer.
  • Forgiveness through IDR: You can pursue federal loan forgiveness by enrolling in an IDR plan, regardless of your employer’s status. If you qualify for IDR, you might be eligible for loan forgiveness on your remaining federal debt after 20 or 25 years of payments.
  • Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program: Teachers who serve at least five years at a low-income school or educational service agency can apply for the federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness program. It offers up to $17,500 in forgiveness on eligible subsidized and unsubsidized direct loans and Stafford loans.
  • National Health Services Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program: The NHSC offers four repayment programs for health providers in multiple disciplines and specialties, from primary care physicians to therapists, midwives and physician assistants. Awards and service commitments vary by program.

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