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Federal and private student loan borrowers in Mississippi owe an average of $33,182 in debt, which is 10% less than the U.S. average of $36,689. About 400,000 people in the state have student loan debt, and their average monthly payment is $225.

Mississippi offers some financial aid programs, including the Higher Ed Legislative Plan (HELP) program designed to cover up to the cost of tuition for students in need. There are also forgivable loan programs for certain students.

Many federal loan borrowers are seeing some relief through September 2021, but understanding Mississippi student loans is important so that you understand your repayment options.

Mississippi student loans: Borrowers owe average of $33,182 in federal, private debt — and more facts

Mississippi features eight public universities, including the University of Mississippi — known as Ole Miss. Mississippi University for Women was the first public college for women in the U.S., although men can also now attend.

In addition to filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), Mississippi students are encouraged to complete the Mississippi Aid Application, known as MAAPP. This application can help students get access to programs like HELP, the Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant and more.

Loan repayment programs for Mississippi residents

There are loan forgiveness programs for Mississippi student loans, depending on your profession and ability to fulfill the work requirements. In addition to Mississippi student loan forgiveness programs, you might also qualify for federal programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).

Counselor and School Administrator Forgivable Loan

The Counselor and School Administrator Forgivable Loan is aimed at graduate students working toward a master’s degree while teaching. To receive reimbursement amounting to $125 per graduate hour (up to 12 hours per semester), you must be teaching while working on your master’s degree and serve as a teacher, school administrator or counselor for a year after receiving the degree.

Graduate Teacher Forgivable Loan

Like the Counselor and School Administrator loan, the Graduate Teacher Forgivable Loan is meant for graduate students working toward a master’s degree while teaching. Likewise, you can receive reimbursement amounting to $125 per graduate hour (up to 12 hours per semester). You must teach in a classroom for a year after receiving the degree.

Nursing Education Forgivable Loan, BSN

To qualify for the Nursing Education Forgivable Loan, BSN, you must be enrolled in a school of nursing in Mississippi and be a junior or a senior. It’s possible to receive up to $4,000 a year for two years. It’s possible to receive forgiveness for one year of loans after completing one year of service in professional nursing or teaching at an accredited Mississippi nursing school.

Nursing Education Forgivable Loan, RN to BSN

Students going to school for an RN to BSN degree can take advantage of the Nursing Education Forgivable Loan, RN to BSN. Award amounts are up to $4,000 a year for two years, and discharge is available by meeting service requirements for each year.

Speech-Language Pathologist Forgivable Loan

Graduate students can take advantage of the Speech-Language Pathologist Forgivable Loan to receive up to the amount of tuition and fees at the institution. The loan is also available during the summer, when needed. For each year of funding received, the student must complete one year of service as a speech-language pathologist for discharge.

Teacher Education Scholars Forgivable Loan

For students who are planning to teach, the Teacher Education Scholars Forgivable Loan can provide up to $15,000 a year. Students must have a 28 ACT score and a 3.5 GPA to qualify. After teaching in a Mississippi public school for five years, the loan amount can be forgiven.

William Winter Teacher Forgivable Loan

The William Winter Teacher Forgivable Loan is designed for juniors and seniors who decide to become classroom teachers. You can borrow up to $4,000 a year for two years. After fulfilling a year of service in a Mississippi public school classroom, you can have one year’s worth of loan discharged.

Mississippi federal student loan borrowers younger than 25 owe less than national average — and more comparisons

How to refinance Mississippi student loans

More than 8% of student loan borrowers in Mississippi owe at least $100,000 in debt. For these borrowers, student loan refinancing can potentially provide a way to reduce the interest rate and payments, offering a pathway to pay off the debt faster or make it more manageable.

When you refinance student loans, you take out a new loan that’s large enough to pay off the rest of your student loans. After going through the process, you only have one payment and one interest rate.

It’s important to note, however, that refinancing your federal loans can mean the loss of access to programs like PSLF and income-driven repayment. You can choose to refinance private student loans and consolidate federal loans, simplifying your situation without losing benefits on your federal loans.

Consider your situation to determine what course of action is likely to work best for you and provide you with the best way to tackle your Mississippi student loans.

Sources

  • 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
  • mappingstudentdebt.org

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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