Higher education is a traditional key to a good job, but paying off the loans it took to get through school can be a challenge. If you received funds for college in the form of federal loans, there are a few ways they can be forgiven by working with the federal government. Under certain circumstances, schools themselves can forgive student loans.

Teach

Teaching is not only a wonderful way to help enrich the minds of others, it is also a good way to get your student loans forgiven. To have them forgiven, you must become a teacher in a low-income area or in the field of special education. They may also be forgiven if you teach math, science, foreign languages or bilingual education in a state that has a shortage of teachers for those particular programs. You must teach for five years before any portion of your loans can be forgiven. You will then be eligible to have up to 100 percent of your Federal Perkins Loans forgiven. For schools that are categorized as low-income, visit the Federal Student Aid's website. To apply to have your Federal Perkins Loans forgiven, request the necessary forms from the office of the school holding your loan.

Volunteer

Like teaching, volunteering gives you the chance to give back to the world while your student loans are forgiven. Serving in the Peace Corps for two years allows to have 15 percent deducted from the cost of your loans. If you serve for two additional years, that rate changes to 20 percent. Six years of service cuts your loan by half. Contact your loan institution for the appropriate forms.

Organizations such as AmeriCorps and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) offer similar perks, depending on the time of your service. If you serve in VISTA for at least a year, you receive $4,725 toward your loans. A year of service in AmeriCorps gives you $4,725 in loan forgivenessl. You can also receive $7,400 in stipends.

Legal and Medical Studies

There are federal loan forgiveness programs for debts incurred from law or medical schools. Law schools forgive a graduating law student's loans if she serves in a nonprofit or public position. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers loan forgiveness if you agree to practice in areas that do not have adequate medical services. Often these areas are either very remote or impoverished. Some hospitals and private health-care facilities will repay your loans if you work for them as an occupational or physical therapist. If you conduct medical research, the National Institutes of Health will repay up to $35,000 a year of your student loans.