Americans today are getting used to living with economic uncertainty. From managing debt to finding employment, affording a family to returning to school, we are all learning to get creative and find new resources when old helps are no longer working or available. This also applies to students carrying or beginning to repay student loan debt. This post outlines some handy options to ease the burden of student loans for students and their families.

1. Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

If you’ve made at least 120 loan payments and are employed in a public service career, you may be eligible for a cancellation of the rest of your principle and interest student loan payments through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Examples of public service careers include emergency management, government, law enforcement, nursing, military and others.

2. Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program

Depending on the type of student loans you have, there are two different loan forgiveness programs for teachers. Check the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program to see if you qualify.

3. Teach for America / AmeriCorps

Teach for America is a program under the AmeriCorps umbrella. In exchange for service, AmeriCorps offers partial loan forbearance and interest payment, as well as an award called the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award that can be used to pay down student loan debt.

4. Peace Corps

The Peace Corps rewards volunteers with loan deferment and/or forgiveness depending on the type of student loan.

5. Government Loan Repayment Program

The U.S. government's Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has its own student loan repayment program that provides an avenue through which the employer can repay the loan on the student/employee's behalf.

6. Military branch repayment programs

The Army, Air Force, National Guard, and Navy all have debt repayment programs for their service personnel.

7. Employer-sponsored repayment programs

Many private employers also offer loan repayment assistance to new recruits. Ask your employer for details.

8. Lender-based discounts for automatic draft repayment

Some lenders will offer discounts for debtors who enroll in automatic draft or debit repayment plans. Discounts may be principal or interest-based.

9. Make biweekly instead of monthly payments

When you pay more frequently, you pay less in interest over the long term. This is because you’re a) paying down your principal more quickly, so interest has less time to accrue between payments, and b) you’re making an extra payment each year.

10. Be sure to take all available IRS tax deductions for education

The IRS offers several different types of incentives, deductions and credits for pursuing higher education. Research the Tuition and Fees Deduction, Education Credits (including the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit), and student loan interest deduction.

11. Apply for the Income-Based Repayment Plan

The Income-Based Repayment Plan supports a reduction in monthly loan payments to help equalize debt with income. There are other similar plans for federal student loans that you can research as well.

12. Negotiate a private loan with cosigner(s) to reduce payments

If your cosigner(s) is willing to extend a private loan to you so you can pay off a greater portion of your outstanding student loans, you can then pay your cosigner(s) back privately on a schedule you both agree on that’s more manageable in terms of your debt-to-income ratio.

12 Student Loan Options to Help at Repayment Time