If you are like me, you paid a pretty penny for your college education. I however, decided to finance most of my education in the form of student loans (private and federal). It amounts to a great sum and I wonder how I am going to pay it off every day. Looking back, I know I would have been able to pay for college with cash and yet didn’t.
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I know it’s going to take a lot of hard work and dedication to pay of the majority of the loans but I am always looking for other avenues. Volunteering is one of those avenues. As you will see, there are plenty of ways to get your college education paid for by volunteering. As a bonus, you are doing good things to help around your community and the world. Here are some resources for paying off your student loans while volunteering:
Each year, AmeriCorps offers 75,000 opportunities for adults of all ages and backgrounds to serve through a network of partnerships with local and national nonprofit groups. You can volunteer in various areas such as education, business, housing, disaster relief, health, technology and more. You serve for 12 months and receive a living stipend up to $7,400. At the end of your service, you receive a $4,725 education award to be used toward your federal student loans or your tuition if you are currently in college. AmeriCorps is also the group that offers the VISTA program.
Personally, I looked around the site and found a few good positions that I would be interested in. There were several positions in financial education, foreclosures, and housing. Check it out because there is something there waiting for you!
Peace Corps volunteers serve in 74 countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, and the Middle East. Collaborating with local community members, Volunteers work in areas like education, youth outreach and community development, the environment, and information technology. The Peace Corps provides volunteers with a living allowance while they are serving. It enables them to live in a manner that is similar to where they are stationed. After completion of the program, the Peace Corps provides volunteers with a $6,000 payment to help with the transition back to a normal life.
While serving in the Peace Corps, volunteers are able to defer their federal student loans until they are finished with the program. If you have a Perkins loan, you will be eligible for a cancellation of 15% for each year you spend in the program. If you spend more than 2 years, you can have 20% of your loan cancelled in years 3 and 4. In all, you can have up to 70% of your Perkins loan cancelled.
Teach for America
Teach for America is an American non-profit that enlists America’s future leaders to help end education inequality. The program will place you in a low-income school in various locations around the country where you will teach students (you do not need an education degree). The great thing about the program is that you receive all of the same benefits as other professional teachers in the school district. In other words, you receive the same salary and health benefits as beginning teachers.
During your two years as a teacher, you can receive forbearance (they still pay the interest) of your student loans. Plus, at the end of each year you will receive a $4,725 education award that can be used to pay off federal student debt.
The military offers many great education benefits while you are in the service or after you leave. With the active duty and verterans GI Bill, you can receive up to $1,075 per month for education and training. If you are in the reserves, you can receive a reduced benefit of up to $297 per month.
Charity for Debt
Charity for Debt offers a unique program in which you can volunteer your time with various non-profits in return for the payment of parts of your student loans. The program is still in the pilot stage and is currently only being offered in Dallas, Oklahoma City, and Washington DC. Basically, you volunteer your time at various sponsored non-profits and you receive anywhere from $15 to $20 per hour (tax-free) that is then used to pay your student loans.
Personally, I have signed up for this progam since I live in the DC metro area. I will keep you informed on how the process goes and if it even takes off.
Does anyone else know of any other ways to volunteer your time and have you student loans paid?