Some school grants and scholarship programs can be retroactive, meaning that they will repay a certain portion of a person's student loan debt. A retroactive school grant is more commonly referred to as a "loan repayment" or "loan forgiveness" program.

Participating Organizations

A variety of organizations offer loan repayment programs. The most common source for retroactive school grants is the government. The National Institutes of Health, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Department of Education all offer some form of loan repayment program to former students. Even branches of the military offer college loan repayments to some soldiers as a sign-on bonus.

Student Groups Served

The majority of student loan repayment programs are offered to teachers and medical personnel such as doctors and nurses. However, the National Institutes of Health offers a loan repayment program to researchers, and the United States Army offers loan forgiveness to soldiers without regard to their educational background.

Service Obligations

Almost all student loan repayment programs involve a service obligation. Government programs for teachers and medical personnel are offered to former students so that they will serve communities that are underserved or predominantly low-income, or that have a shortage of educational or medical professionals. Even military loan forgiveness recipients incur a service obligation--they must serve as enlisted soldiers.

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