Getting your student loans forgiven sounds like a pretty good deal, right? Perhaps, it even sounds too good to be true. But we assure you that medical professionals, like nurses, often have access to loan forgiveness. It’s not just a dream!
That said, student loan forgiveness for nurses has its challenges and, of course, benefits. If you are about to start your education for this career, you’re in the best position possible. That’s because the first step to getting your loans forgiven is getting the type of loans that can be forgiven.
Nursing school can indeed expensive, but if it’s your dream to help others and work in this field, we know you’ll make it happen. We’re here to help you achieve your goals. Let’s get into the details about some of the most popular loan forgiveness programs in the United States and what they entail.
What are student loan forgiveness programs?
Student loan forgiveness programs eliminate specific debt for eligible borrowers. The U.S. Department of Education offers low-interest, direct federal student loans that will eventually be eligible for income-based repayment plans that include a forgiveness stipulation. In this case, after you make an approved amount of income-based payments, you can apply for loan forgiveness.
Other forgiveness programs specifically support healthcare professionals, especially those that do remote, high-demand work or are part of a public service or governmental organization.
Tip: Keep in mind that private student loans do not qualify for federal loan forgiveness.
Five nurse student loan forgiveness programs in the U.S.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF)
After making a minimum of 120 qualifying payments while working full-time for a governmental organization or non-profit, you can apply for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF). You’ll have to be on an income-driven repayment plan when you apply. After making 120 payments over 10 years, you could say goodbye to your remaining loan balance thanks to the PSLF program.
Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program (NCLRP)
Work where you’re needed most, and you could be eligible to receive educational loan forgiveness. Through the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program (NCLRP), registered nurses (RNs) or advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) working in critical shortage settings can have up to 85% of their student loan debt forgiven. To be considered, you’ll need to be working full-time at a public or non-profit facility that meets the critical shortage stipulation.
National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program
The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program rewards medical professionals working in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). To qualify, you must be working in a critical shortage facility or an HPSA-approved site that provides services through Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. The NHSC offers payments that could cover all your remaining student debt or at least some.
Perkins Loan Cancellation
The Perkins Loan Cancellation program is available to public-service workers like teachers and nurses. Full-time nurses are eligible for total loan forgiveness after working for five years in an area experiencing a shortage of healthcare workers. To apply, contact the nursing school you attended and your lender, as each will have different paperwork for you to fill out.
Army Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment Program (ADHPLRP)
If you’ve served in two ways—as a registered nurse and as a member of the military—you may be eligible for up to $120,000 in loan forgiveness through the Army Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment Program (ADHPLRP). This loan forgiveness program also comes with other perks like sign-on bonuses when you join. The United States Navy and Air Force have similar programs. You can learn more by contacting a recruiter for either branch.
Other loan forgiveness options
Find out if your state offers loan forgiveness programs—Iowa, Florida, Alaska and many others all offer assistance programs. Also, be sure to ask your employer if they have loan repayment assistance plans.
The pros and cons of nursing student loan forgiveness programs
Now that you know about some of the popular loan forgiveness and repayment options for nurses, it’s clear that most of the eligibility terms are quite specific. While you may have discovered a way to get out of debt through these programs, perhaps along the way, you also found yourself working in a setting that wasn’t your top choice.
Let’s go deeper into some of the pros and cons.
- The obvious one: loan forgiveness
- Not having student debt can help you access a higher standard of living and save money
- You may have to work in a remote, underserved area
- You’ll likely still have to make several loan payments, which can be difficult when you’re just starting your career
- Some loan forgiveness payouts are taxable, so be sure to read up on the forgiveness program you’re pursuing before assuming you’ll be debt-free
Other options to pay off student loans
As if taking out money to cover the cost of your tuition wasn’t enough, there’s also interest to worry about. You can lessen your financial burden by refinancing your loans and trying to get a lower interest rate. Just make sure that you understand the terms and that they work for you. If a private company refinances your loans, you won’t be eligible for income-based repayment plans and other perks that initially came with your federal loans.
Income-driven repayment (IDR) plans
The U.S. The Department of Education offers income-driven repayment plans, which you may be eligible for if your loan payments are high in relation to your earnings. Some of these nursing loan repayment plans form part of forgiveness programs in the long term. After 20-25 years of making payments this way, you may be eligible for forgiveness.
Your nursing education may be expensive and demanding, but it will all be worth it when you finally achieve your dreams. We know how hard you have worked to get here, which is why we make premium, affordable scrubs that work hard for you. Reach for the stars! We’re here to support you literally and figuratively—with clothing and content that helps you make the right career choices.