Student loan debt can be a significant obstacle when pursuing a career in public service. Harvard Kennedy School and the U.S. government developed programs to help our graduates put their degrees into practice without feeling overly burdened by debt.

Our Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) and the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program are among several programs that offer loan forgiveness opportunities to students who work in certain professional positions after graduation.

    HKS Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP)

    LRAP assists our graduates who are working in public service, to help them with their monthly student loan payments. Those who work with a public or nonprofit organization that shares the HKS mission—and earn up to $70,000 if single or $90,000 if married—may apply to the program to receive funding for up to five years.

      HKS Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP)

      LRAP gave me the financial confidence to take a career risk, leave the law firm world, and jump right into public service.

      Andrew Grotto MPA 2003 and former LRAP participant
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      Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF)

      The PSLF Program was created by the U.S. Congress through the 2007 College Cost Reduction and Access Act. Borrowers of Federal Direct Stafford and Grad PLUS loans who repay their loans through an income-driven repayment plan and work full time for a qualifying public sector or nonprofit employer can have their remaining loan balances forgiven after making (120) payments over a 10-year period.  

      Loan Forgiveness Programs

      Learn about the HKS Loan Repayment Assistance and Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs

      Loan Forgiveness for Federal Employees

      The Federal Student Loan Repayment Program allows U.S. government agencies to repay federally-insured student loans as a recruitment or retention incentive for candidates or current employees. The program implements 5 U.S.C. 5379, which authorizes agencies to set up their own student loan repayment programs to attract or retain highly qualified employees.

      Perkins Loan Forgiveness

      Perkins Loans—low-interest loans for undergraduate and graduate students—may be forgiven for a number of reasons. The federal government uses loan forgiveness as a way to recruit people for professions that are understaffed or who are needed in certain geographic areas.

      Teaching Cancellations: Harvard may cancel up to 100 percent of your Perkins Loan if you work full time in a public or nonprofit elementary or secondary school as a:

      • Teacher serving students from low-income families
      • Special education teacher for infants, toddlers, children, or youth with disabilities
      • Teacher in mathematics, science, foreign languages, bilingual education, or in any area determined by a state-level education agency to have a shortage of qualified teachers
      • Nurse or medical technician providing health care services
      • Employee of an eligible public or private nonprofit child and family services agency, providing or supervising services to high-risk children (and their families) from low-income communities
      • Qualified professional provider of early intervention services in a public or other nonprofit program under public supervision
      • Staff member of a preschool program’s education team, under the Head Start Act
      • Qualifying law enforcement or corrections officer

      Other Service Cancellations: Harvard may cancel up to 100 percent of your Perkins Loan if you work full time as a:

      • Nurse or medical technician providing health care services
      • Employee of an eligible public or private nonprofit child and family services agency, providing or supervising services to high-risk children (and their families) from low-income communities
      • Qualified professional provider of early intervention services in a public or other nonprofit program under public supervision
      • Staff member of a preschool program’s education team, under the Head Start Act
      • Qualifying law enforcement or corrections officer