If you’re like most nurses, your student debt contains a lot of digits.
There’s no way around it: nurses graduate with a lot of debt. Debt can become a hassle for nurses causing them to pursue side hustles to supplement their incomes or working infinite overtime shifts.
However, many programs exist that provide student loan forgiveness for nurses. Here you will find several resources to help you with your loans.
What is Student Loan Forgiveness?
According to studentaid.gov, loan forgiveness occurs when you are no longer required to make payments on your loan because of your job. To qualify, your loans must be in good standing and not defaulted.
There are federal, state and other repayment options for nurses.
Overall, there are several types of nurse loan forgiveness programs to take advantage of. Keep reading to find out more.
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Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program
The Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program is designed for registered nurses, advanced practice registered nurses (such as nurse practitioners) and nurse faculty. You have to work in under-resourced communities at a critical shortage facility or an eligible nursing school.
You must also have received your nursing education from an accredited nursing school located in a U.S. state or territory.
The program pays up to 85 percent of unpaid nursing education for up to three years of work. After your two-year service contract, the program may extend for a third year to make you eligible for the full 85 percent.
That said, you have to pay taxes on funds received from the program. You can apply online.
What Counts as a Critical Shortage Facility?
A critical shortage facility includes:
- Native Hawaiian Health Centers
- Indian Health Service Centers
- End-Stage Renal Disease Dialysis Centers
- Disproportionate Share Hospital
- Urgent Care Center
- Certified Behavioral Health Clinics
- Rural Health Clinics
- Residential Nursing Homes
- Free and Charitable Clinics
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
This is the most used loan forgiveness program. The program offers nurses loan forgiveness after working full-time and making 120 non-consecutive payments. Nurses must work 30 hours or more for a government or nonprofit to gain eligibility.
Since some nurses work more than one job, they can combine their hours. However, they must have their employer fill out paperwork to gain eligibility.
Last, to take advantage of the PSLF, change to an income-driven repayment plan. These plans generate your income to figure out your monthly cost. Switching over reduces your payments and can forgive more debt.
Applying for a PSLF program
After making the 120 qualifying monthly payments and working for the same employer, you can fill out an application. Once you fill out the application, attach it to the employer certification form and mail it to the U.S. Department of Education.
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Federal Perkins loan cancellation and discharge
Nurses who have federal Perkins loans and work full-time may qualify for a 100 percent loan discharge. Though Perkins loans no longer get granted, nurses who have already taken them out can have their loans canceled.
The loan cancels out over five years. To have your loans withdrawn, apply to the school you received the loan directly from or through the loan provider.
Military Student Loan Forgiveness
Nurses who have served in the military are eligible for many types of loan forgiveness programs. The Army, Navy and Air Force have programs that can give up to $40,000 a year for nursing student loans. Eligibility depends on the program and the repayment awards are taxed.
To apply, contact your specific military branch for more details.
State Loan Forgiveness for Nurses
Most states have student loan forgiveness programs for nurses. Generally, you need to work in a critical needs area to qualify.
Below are several state loan forgiveness programs available to nurses.
If you live in The Last Frontier state, there’s a SHARP program dedicated to recruiting healthcare providers to work in critical needs areas in exchange for loan assistance.
Medical workers can earn up to $27,000 per year in loan forgiveness based on their positions.
The Arizona Loan Repayment Program allows nurses to receive loan assistance to pay off their student loan debt. This program requires a two-year commitment to provide primary care services in federally designated shortage areas.
Nurses can receive up to $50,000 in funds to help pay back loans for their first two years of work.
Through its Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program, Florida provides up to $4,000 per year for no more than four years to nurses who work full time at eligible organizations.
To gain eligibility, nurses must have a license within Florida as an LPN, RN, or ARNP. They also must have student loans from a nursing program.
Nurses within Illinois who decide to work in veteran’s homes may receive loan forgiveness of up to $5,000 per year for a maximum of four years.
In order to gain eligibility for the Veterans Home Nurse Loan Repayment Program, nurses must be:
- A resident of Illinois
- Receive employment verification by the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs
- Meet licensing standards created by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
The state’s Health Care Loan Repayment Program necessitates nurses work a minimum of five years for a $6,000 or 20 percent of the loan balance reduction.
The Louisiana State Loan Repayment Program aims to recruit health care workers to work in rural or urban communities for loan help.
Nurses must work full-time in a shortage area or a nonprofit to receive up to $15,000 a year with a three-year period minimum. You must have a license in Louisiana and not be in default.
The Michigan State Loan Repayment Program provides repayment assistant to both dentists and medical providers for up to $200,000 for eligible loans. It’s expected that they serve in underfunded communities. Only ARPNs qualify for this loan.
The Minnesota Nurse Loan Forgiveness Program provides repayment to registered or licensed practical nurses who work in a designated nursing home or with people who have developmental disabilities. However, this program requires a two-year commitment. The contract can get extended for two more years for those working in nursing home facilities. Qualified candidates can earn $5,000 every year and a maximum of $20,000 over the course of four years.
The Montana Institutional Nursing Incentive Program grants registered nurses loan assistance who work full time at a Montana state hospital or state prison. Qualified candidates need to submit documentation stating that their loans are more than $1,000. The amounts awarded depends on state funding. Candidates can only apply for repayment for four years.
The Oregon Partnership State Loan Repayment Program asks the nurse to commit either two years of full-time service or four years of part-time service in a health shortage area. Full-time nurses are eligible for up to $35,000 a year and part-time workers can receive up to $17,500 a year.
Through the Pennsylvania Primary Care Loan Repayment Program, registered nurses who choose to work in shortage areas can receive loan repayment. Qualified candidates are eligible for up to $60,000 for full-time nurses, while part-time nurses can receive up to $30,000. Candidates must serve at least two years.
Within the state, nurses may qualify for the Rhode Island Professional Loan Repayment Program. To receive these funds, you must work either two years of full-time work or four years of part-time work within a shortage area.
Tennessee offers the Graduate Nursing Loan Forgiveness Program. This program is dedicated to help Tennessee residents who are registered nurses to become nurse educators. To qualify, applicants have to be a Tennessee resident, have a Tennessee nursing license, and be enrolled in an eligible master’s degree or post master’s degree nursing educational program.
Applicants must work full time for four years to get their loans forgiven.
To qualify for the Rural Communities Health Care Investment Program, you need to work 12 back-to-back months in a rural community. The maximum payment is $10,000.
Vermont offers an educational loan repayment program for nurses with a maximum of $6,000. To qualify, you must work 12 months within an under-resourced area. Additionally, each nurse must work at least 45 weeks every year. Twenty of those weeks have to include clinical hours.
The West Virginia State Loan Repayment Program provides loan assistance for nurses who work full-time for at least two years in under-resourced rural areas. Qualified candidates can earn up to $40,000 for a two-year commitment and an additional $25,000 for two more years if the contract gets extended.
Final Word on Student Loan Forgiveness for Nurses
Overall, you’re not trapped if you have student loan debt. Everybody does. However, not everyone has the opportunities that nurses do to pay it off. Nurses do.
That said, if you are in a position where you need to find a qualifying job to earn loan forgiveness, we’ve got you covered.
Just sign up at Incredible Health and let the jobs come to you.