Student loans: Here are some ways to lower your debt

Grants, programs available to help reduce student loan debt

The Department of Education made more changes to the federal student loan system that may help some people manage their student loan debt and payments more easily. But there are other ways that you can reduce your student loan debt, too. Here's a look.

Student loan debt in the U.S. currently totals more than $1.7 trillion dollars, with the average student racking up about $40,000 of debt once they’ve graduated.

The national student loan debt is the highest it has ever been in U.S. history, and the Biden administration has shown interest in relieving some of that debt. President Joe Biden recently said that he was considering “dealing with some debt reduction,” though he did not state exactly what amount he was considering.

During his presidential campaign, Biden said he wanted to “immediately cancel” at least $10,000 in student debt per person.

Read more: Biden taking ‘hard look’ at student loan forgiveness

Last month, the Department of Education made more changes to the federal student loan system that will help bring millions of borrowers closer to receiving debt forgiveness. The program allows borrowers to avoid loan default by lowering their monthly payments based on their income and family size.

While this program will help many, there are a number of other steps you can take to help you get out of your debt.

If you’re drowning in student loan debt, you’re not alone: 43 million people in the U.S. have student loan debt. That’s one in every eight Americans.

The good news is that there’s help available!

A great suggestions is to look into grants that will help you cover those costs. For example, the Forget Your Student Debt Grant is open to anyone with student debt and pays $10,000.

Other grants are available to specific professionals like teachers, lawyers, veterans, nurses and social workers. You can search for free grants online right here at, or on professional association websites.

Related: Deep dive: What’s next for US student debt crisis

States also have their own grants and assistance programs, so be sure to look into those.

Have a job? Ask your employer about repayment assistance. Some companies offer these programs as benefits to their employees.

Those with student loan debt can also apply for an income-driven repayment plan. If you qualify, you may receive forgiveness on remaining loan amounts.

You may also want to consider pursuing a public service loan forgiveness program, which forgives loan balances after you’ve made a certain number of payments and worked a certain number of years with an eligible employer in the public sector.

In April, the federal government extended the pandemic-related payment pause for federal student loans until Aug. 31. The pause gives people a suspension on their loan payments and a zero interest rate. The government has also stopped collections on defaulted federal loans during the pause.

Read more: Biden extends student loan freeze through August

About the Authors:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.