A general and usually justified perception of a scholarship is that it can provide students with financial assistance to cover their college expenses even before they get enrolled. But the real question is, are these scholarships also valid for students after graduation?
Student loan debt circulation is approximately $1.6 trillion, which means that students remain in sheer need of funds to look after the loans they took to complete their studies. And due to various reimbursement programs and grants, students have an opportunity to get a sigh of relief. These programs are designed to assist students struggling with their student loans long after their graduation.
Scholarships vs. Grants at a Glance
The awarding criteria mark the difference between a scholarship and a grant. Scholarships are usually merit-based, which could either be drawn upon one's outstanding academic achievements or excellent performance in co-curricular activities or both. At the same time, grants are need-based to provide financial assistance to underprivileged students. Students working in some specific areas of research might also qualify for grants.
On the other hand, reimbursement programs are generally categorized under the rubric of grants. They work on the principle of depositing the money back to students after graduating.
Can you apply for scholarships after graduation?
There are multiple possibilities for the repayment of loans after graduation. Some of these options require one to apply for reimbursement after graduation, while other opportunities can be availed before a student enters the last year of their college.
1. Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program
Professional nurses with certifications like RN, APN, etc., can have their study loans reimbursed up to 85%. However, the eligibility for this program is at least a two-year service in a CSF (an acronym for critical shortage facility) agreeing for which can get the nursing student a reimbursement of 60% for the overall student loan. An additional 25% reimbursement opportunity can be availed by nurses who stay at the CSF station for one extra year.
2. National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program
Professional health care providers, including medical, dental, mental, or behavioral practitioners with a valid degree from a recognized institution, can avail the opportunity provided by National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program to get a $50,000 reimbursement on their student loans.
To be eligible for this program, one needs to serve in a medically underprivileged area known as HPSA (an acronym for health professional shortage area) for at least two years. However, the extent of reimbursement is determined by the score of HPSA (which signifies the need for medical attention) and whether one is working half-time or full-time. For part-time employees working areas with an HPSA score of 0-13, the reimbursement value can be up to $15,000, while in areas with an HPSA score of 14 or above, part-time employees can get $25,000. The deals get doubled if the employment is full-time.
3. Contraception and Infertility Research Loan Repayment Program
Researchers of a medical lab who have graduated can reimburse their student loans up to $35,000 per year under this program.
The eligibility to qualify for this program requires a minimum of two years of research in contraceptive development and infertility treatment.
4. John R. Justice Program
Graduated lawyers or those close to graduation can get loan reimbursement of up to $60,000 under this grant program. This grant can be applied to the following:
- Graduate PLUS
- Perkins loans
However, the eligibility for this program is different for different persons, and the amount of reimbursement can be added accordingly.
5. Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness
This program can spare federal teachers of their federal loans by reimbursing up to $17,500 (both subsidized & unsubsidized).
The eligibility for this program is as under:
- a professional teaching degree
- a five consecutive years’ service in a low-income school
- good standing loans
Moreover, this program can be more beneficial for full-time teachers than part-time ones.
6. Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program
Professional vets with proper certifications can avail of this program to get a reimbursement opportunity of up to $25,000 per annum.
A minimum of three years of service as a regular practicing vet in an area with inadequate veterinary facilities is the eligibility criterion for this program's beneficiary.
7. Army Loan Repayment Program
Military Occupational Specialties (MOSs) are eligible to reimburse their student loans under this program. However, the amount can vary according to the ranks and department where army personnel render services.
8. Pediatric Research Loan Repayment Program
Depending on the following areas of research, pediatricians can get a reimbursement on their student loans up to $35,000 per year:
- children development
- children’s diseases
- children’s disorders
- other research topics regarding children's health
The eligibility for this program is a doctorate and a minimum two-year service in a non-profit/federal research institute.
9. Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Public servants with federal loans can avail of this opportunity to get rid of their student loans altogether. The eligibility, however, is a tough one for this program. It includes:
- being a public service employee
- at least 120 student loan payments
- working for a participant employer
10. State-Level Loan Forgiveness
Different states provide different programs for student loan repayments to different professional degree-holders. If one gets a chance, one can sign up for one of these state-sponsored programs that can offer a significant reimbursement on one's student loans.
Other Possibilities for Student Loan Reimbursement Post-Graduation
Other than these programs, there are some additional opportunities that one can explore for further financial help.
AmeriCorps employees can get reimbursement on their student loans under the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) program. The reimbursement value can be up to $6000 or more per annum.
Peace Corps volunteers can get different reimbursements on their student loans which can be both federal or private. The type of loan and the monthly income are the two factors determining the reimbursement value.
Students who work with different companies part-time can avail themselves of getting their student loans reimbursed by their employers (if they offer such an opportunity). The factors that such companies might consider while facilitating their employees with this opportunity are:
- The employee’s major
- The employee’s availability as a long-term team member.
Following are some companies that provide this opportunity to their part-time student employees:
- Wells Fargo
- Best Buy
- Bank of America
- Home Depot