by Drew Cloud
Nurses play a critical role in our healthcare system. However, the education to become a nurse comes at a cost, which has made the topic of student loan forgiveness a hot topic among nurses. They want to be able to offset the cost of their educations somehow so that they aren’t sinking a large amount of their hard-earned paychecks into the repayment of student loans.
With an aging population, nurses work very hard, so they deserve something that helps them navigate the student debt landscape. Fortunately, there are federal- and state-based student loan forgiveness programs that can help nurses. The programs that are offered to nurses are some of the best loan forgiveness programs, making them worth exploring.
Loan Forgiveness Qualifications
Regardless of which state you reside in, you are practically guaranteed to have a chance at loan relief through federal or state programs. There is no indication that this will change anytime soon. The student loan forgiveness benefits available to nurses are determined by their position, location, degree, and work duties. The good news is that there is usually some kind of loan forgiveness offered to nurses. Those offered to nurses tend to match or exceed the student loan forgiveness benefits offered to military personnel, teachers, nonprofit employees, and government workers.
Federal Loan Forgiveness
Federal loan forgiveness can take the form of the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program (NHSC), the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, or the Perkins Loan Discharge or Loan Cancellation Program.
The NHSC program is for nurses that work in underprivileged communities in a facility that is underserved. The idea behind this program is to encourage nurses to work in communities that need more nurses. Most nurses don’t want to work in such communities because the job can be more stressful, but doing so can result in a great deal of financial relief.
The second program is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. This program can forgive all of a nurse’s student loan debt regardless of the amount of the loan. All you have to do is serve in a qualifying public service role and make your monthly Direct Loan payments for 10 years.
Both the NHSC and Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs are competitive because the level of loan forgiveness is substantial. To receive approval, you have to submit an application, and you are subject to a selection process. Don’t let the selectiveness frustrate you because you could be the one to receive the relief.
Another type of federal loan forgiveness is the Perkins Loan Cancellation for Nurses & Medical Technicians. Teachers also benefit from this loan cancellation program. The downside to this is that there aren’t many Perkins loans out there. If you are one of the nurses that took out a Perkins loan to pay for your education, then you should pursue this program because the amount of loan forgiveness is substantial. To have the entire balance of your Perkins loan forgiven, you have to work in your field for five years. This program also allows for incremental forgiveness, which means you can have a percentage of your loan forgiven each year you work in the field.
Private Student Loans for Nurses
While not specifically related the nursing industry, many private lenders and banks offer student loans to aspiring nurses, like any other student. Taking out a loan with these lenders could help you get the finances you need, but there are some catches to this solution.
If you have one of these private student loans, loan forgiveness is much more difficult to achieve. This is because student loan forgiveness is only offered for federal student loans – not private student loans. You can learn more about this at my site, The Student Loan Report. You may want to check with your employer to see if there is a student loan repayment program. Some medical facilities will reward their nurses with such programs if they provide a certain amount of service. The facility may not advertise the program, which is why it doesn’t hurt to ask.
When searching for a nursing job, it could pay to apply at medical facilities that offer student loan repayment programs. This can increase your chance of having at least a percentage of your student loans paid for you.
If there are no employer programs, you can consider other options, like refinancing your student loan for a lower rate. Refinancing can benefit nurses with private loans a great deal when the interest rate is too high. A lot of money can be saved over time by refinancing, so it is worth looking into if there are no loan forgiveness or other repayment programs out there for you to benefit from.
Drew Cloud is the Founder of The Student Loan Report – a site dedicated to keeping student loan borrowers and their families up-to-date with the latest student loan news and information.