Being a nurse in these trying times can take its toll mentally and physically. For those who have spent their university lives pursuing this career path, the financial toll is undeniable.
Indeed, the student loans nurses need to pay back often seem steeper. Luckily, the Federal Government under the Biden administration is quick to recognize the contributions of healthcare workers. Under the CARES Act, borrowers can expect respite from paying back their student loans. The same is true for nurses.
Of course, loan forgiveness is the gold standard of debt relief nowadays. The good news is that this option is also available for nurses, especially now.
Read on to learn more about student loan forgiveness for nurses!
Do All Student Loans for Nurses Qualify for Loan Forgiveness?
Not all student loans are eligible for loan forgiveness — even for nurses. Under the CARES and HEROES Acts, only federal loans are eligible for loan forgiveness.
When it comes to loans that are eligible for loan forgiveness, there are nationally issued loans and those issued at the state level. If you have taken out student loans under federal and state programs, you can expect to be eligible for loan forgiveness.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF)
You are eligible for loan forgiveness under the PSLF program if you have taken out a direct Federal loan after October 2007. Another criteria for eligibility is employment with a government or non-profit organization, according to Forbes. The employment must be on a full-time basis, not being less than 30 hours per week.
As well, you should already have made 120 payments towards your loan to qualify. To apply for loan forgiveness under this program, Federal Student Aid has a PSLF Self Help tool that guides the application process.
National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program
If you do not qualify for the PSLF, you can try the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program. This program is open to nurses who work in areas where there is a nursing shortage. These areas need to be designated as shortage areas by the HRSA.
The best thing about the NHSC Loan Repayment program is that it is available for both private and public student loans.
Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation
If you have Perkins student loans, a Perkins loan cancellation can be the right option for you. To qualify, you need to have worked as a nurse for at least five years. The place of employment does not need to be a public healthcare facility.
To apply, use the Perkins Loan tool by Federal Student Aid.
Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program
This loan forgiveness program is open not only to nurses working in a healthcare setting but also to nurse faculty. The loan repayment program allows borrowers up to 60% forgiveness of their outstanding student loan balances.
You can apply for the loan repayment program here. If you are eligible to be a recipient, you will be required to work in a facility that has a shortage of nursing staff. The duration of work is two years full-time.
Final Word: Know Your Eligibility
There are different loan forgiveness programs available for nurses. As with any type of loan, you will need to see if you meet eligibility requirements.
Knowing your eligibility is crucial to the success of your loan application.