Several programs offer student loan forgiveness for nurses, depending on where they work and the types of loans they have. As a healthcare professional with student debt, you may apply for student loan forgiveness through federal government programs or individual state programs. Here are some of your options to pay off your nurse student loans.
Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program
Registered nurses, advanced practice registered nurses, and nurse faculty members qualify for the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program. Qualified individuals must have worked at a critical shortage facility (CSF) or taught at an eligible nursing school full-time for at least two years.
You may get 60% of your nursing school loans paid off with at least 32 weekly hours at a CSF. You may also get an additional 25% off your loans for the third year in service.
National Health Service Corps
Licensed primary care providers of medical, dental, mental, or behavioral health may qualify for nurse student loan assistance through the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program. Qualified healthcare practitioners must have committed at least two years working full-time or part-time at a high-need and underserved location that the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) has approved.
Full-time nurses who meet the minimum requirements may get up to $50,000 in loan assistance. Meanwhile, part-time nurses may receive up to $25,000.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
The PSLF Program grants loan assistance to public sector workers, including nurses. A nurse must work full-time (at least 30 hours per week) at a government or nonprofit hospital to be eligible for this program.
In addition, public sector nurses must make 120 payments on their Direct Loans to qualify for this student loan forgiveness program. These payments may not be consecutive. The PSLF Program only accepts payments made after October 2007.
Nurses must also be repaying their student loans under a qualified repayment plan. All income-driven repayment (IDR) plans qualify.
Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge
Full-time nurses may qualify to discharge up to 100% of their federal Perkins student loans through Perkins Loan Cancellation. Only nurses with existing Perkins loans may seek student loan cancellation since no new Perkins loans are available.
Interested nurses may apply through their school that dispersed the Perkins loans or their loan servicer directly. Nurses must also be employed full-time to qualify for Perkins student loan discharge. This program cancels student loans in increments over five years.
State-Based Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
Most states offer student loan forgiveness for nurses who work full-time in qualifying Health Professional Shortage Areas. Most states require at least two years of service for nurses to be eligible for their state program.
Conclusion: Do Nurses Qualify for Student Loan Forgiveness?
Yes, nurses qualify for student loan forgiveness through multiple federal government and state programs. Generally, nurses must have been working full-time in an approved healthcare facility for at least two years while paying off their nurse student loans. Most approved facilities involve underserved areas.
Note that most student loan forgiveness programs are from the federal government. So, only federal student loans would qualify for forgiveness. Be sure to review the student loans you have as a nurse to determine whether they qualify for a forgiveness program.