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Student debt relief programs no one knows about

Student Loan debt

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Oddball ways to wipe out your loan

If you're a physician in Georgia or work with horses in Kentucky, you could be eligible for some significant student loan forgiveness plans.

Forty-three million people in the United States owe some amount of student loan debt, according to the Center for American Progress. But some of those borrowers may be eligible for loan-forgiveness programs — the trick is finding out about them.

Since many local initiatives are not tightly coordinated with the federal loan forgiveness program, it can be confusing for borrowers looking for relief.

New York State, for example, recently launched a new student loan forgiveness program for borrowers who graduated after 2014 and are earning less than $50,000 a year. There are other state-based programs scattered across the U.S. and more, potentially, on the way.

"It sets the bar for a few other states to follow suit," said Andrew Josuweit, CEO and president of Student Loan Hero, a student-loan management site.

Most of these programs are geared toward those in public service, including teachers, librarians, firefighters, police, nurses and social workers, but they run the gamut from farmers to pharmacists.

"There are so many people who are eligible for these programs but don't know that they exist," said Maggie Thompson, author of the report "We Can't Wait: How States and Municipalities Can Help Stem the Student Debt Crisis" by the Center for American Progress.

"There's an information gap," she said. To that end, Thompson advises borrowers to call their loan servicers to see if they are eligible for a loan forgiveness program.

Here are just a few of the preexisting, and readily available, programs that could lower your student loan debt.

— By CNBC's Jessica Dickler
Posted 19 January 2016

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