- Nurses who work in underserved areas with high needs may be eligible for a student loan forgiveness.
- There is no cap on the amount of money that can be returned through the civil service loan forgiveness.
- Individual states may also have their own loan forgiveness programs for nurses.
- Learn more about Personal Finance Insider student loan coverage here.
The pandemic has taken its toll on healthcare professionals, especially nurses, and student loans are only adding to the stress. Fortunately, there are programs in place to help you get some or all of your student loan debt paid off or canceled.
Nursing Corps Loan Repayment Program
The Nurse Corps’ loan repayment program provides an incentive for nurses to work in underserved communities in critically shortage facilities or in eligible nursing schools. This program covers 60% of your unpaid student loan debt – federal or private – after two years of qualifying full-time employment. You may be able to undertake a third year in the program to obtain an additional 25% repayment of your loans.
You will have to pay taxes on the money you get from the program, unlike other forgiveness programs. Additionally, you will need to be a registered nurse, advanced practice registered nurse, or nursing school to qualify.
Applications for the program are accepted once a year and you can apply on this website. You can find a list of qualified hospitals and clinics of facilities in critical shortage with this government tool.
Public service loan remission
Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or PSLF, waives the debts of graduates working in the public sector after at least 10 years of full-time employment and 120 qualifying payments. There is no cap on the amount of money that can be forgiven.
You may be eligible for the PSLF as a nurse if you work for the government or a hospital or nonprofit health organization.
You must complete an employment attestation form once a year or each time you change jobs. After you’ve made all of your eligible payments, you can submit a PSLF request.
National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program
Under the National Health Service Corps loan repayment program, registered nurse practitioners may be eligible for student loan repayment assistance of up to $ 50,000 if they work full-time for two years in a designated area of shortage of health professionals. Part-time workers may qualify for up to $ 25,000.
Federal and private student loans are eligible for this program, and you will not pay tax on money received from the NHSC program. You cannot use this program and the Nurse Corps loan repayment program at the same time.
You can apply for the program online.
Perkins loan cancellation
Perkins loans were previously available to low-income undergraduate and graduate students, although the program has since been discontinued. While Perkins loans are no longer for students, if you have them, you can still qualify for full loan relief through the program.
You can cancel your loans in tax-free installments if you work as a full-time nurse for five years in a community in need.
To request a Perkins loan cancellation, contact the school where you obtained the loan or your loan manager. Your school or service agent will tell you what documents you need to send and what forms you need to fill out.
State-specific loan repayment programs
Your state may have additional reimbursement programs available to you. The best way to find out if your state has a program is to contact your state’s health department or ask your employer for more information. Here are some examples of state programs:
- California: To be eligible for the Bachelor of Science Nursing Loan Repayment Program, you must be currently licensed and practicing as a registered nurse and have a BSN degree. You can receive up to $ 10,000 if you work in a designated health professional services area for one year. You can get this prize up to three times.
- Idaho: If you work in a designated health professional service area, you can get help repaying your loan through a federal grant, matched dollar for dollar by your employer. You can receive between $ 10,000 and $ 25,000 per year, depending on the amount your employer receives. You must work for two years full time.
- Iowa: Nurses in Iowa may be eligible for the health care loan repayment program. The maximum annual grant is the lesser of $ 6,000 or 20% of your total eligible student loans outstanding. You must work or teach in specific underserved areas for five consecutive years.
This list is not exhaustive, and you should check with your state to see what programs are available to you. Keep in mind that loan forgiveness and repayment programs are not the only option for managing your debt. If you’re struggling to keep up with your federal loans, you can try an income-based repayment plan, which bases your monthly payments on your income and family size.