One way that federal and state governments work to draw young go-getters into fields with critical labor shortages is to offer to pay their student debt, says Ken Clark, CFP and author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Paying for College."
"People are just not aware of the loan forgiveness programs out there," he says. "You can wipe out $100,000 of college debt in three or four years by working in certain industries."
Teachers, Clark says, are prime targets of loan forgiveness. The Department of Education's Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program provides up to $17,500 in forgiveness to those who work full time in elementary and secondary schools that serve low-income families for a minimum of five years. States may offer additional incentives, too, to recruit teachers in such high-need fields as math, science, special education and foreign language.
Additional loan forgiveness programs are available through states and professional associations to workers in health care, social services, legal defense and other public service positions. The Department of Education also offers cancellation for federal student loans to workers in public service jobs who have enrolled in the federal government's income-based repayment plan and paid on their loans for 10 consecutive years.