The Definitive Student Loan Forgiveness Guide for Nurses

In Education
September 7, 2017

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As if completing an advanced nursing degree weren’t hard enough, dealing with the post-graduation student loan debt can be a handful in and of itself. Luckily there are several options for student loan forgiveness that you can take advantage of right now!

National Student Loan Forgiveness Programs for Nurses

NURSE Corps Loan Repayment

Eligibility requirements for the NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program including (1) being a licensed registered nurse, advanced practice nurse, or nurse faculty member, (2) have received a formal education from a nursing school in the U.S. or a territory of the U.S., and (3) work full0time in an eligible Critical Shortage Facility in a high-need area or for an accredited nursing school.

The program pays for up to 85% of debt owed but largely depends on financial need.

Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge

Although not necessarily loan forgiveness programs, there are many different circumstances in which your loans can be discharged. A few of these include the borrowers permanent disability, school closings and others.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

The Public Loan Forgiveness programs states that applicants must make 120 consecutive, on-time payments while working for a non-profit or government agency. This only applied under certain payment plans.

NHSC Loan Repayment Program

The National Health Service Corps loan repayment program offers licensed health care providers up to $50,000 toward student loan debt in exchange for a two-year commitment. Additionally, medical or dental students may earn up to $120,000 in their final year of school.

Student Loan Forgiveness by State

Alaska

Supporting Healthcare Access through Loan Repayment

The SHARP program is a recruitment tool used by Alaska to exchange a work commitment for loan repayment for physicians, dentists, pharmacists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, physical therapists, clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, and dental hygienists.

Arizona

Primary Care Provider Loan Repayment Program

The Arizona State Loan Repayment program consists of the Primary Care Provider Loan Repayment Program and the Rural Private Primary Care Loan Repayment Program. In order to be eligible applicants must be a U.S. citizen, be an allopathic or osteopathic physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, pharmacist, dentist, or behavioral health provider, and must have completed the final year of an accredited course of study.

California

Bachelor of Science Nursing Loan Repayment

To be eligible for this program applicants must be a licensed registered nurse living in California, be practicing as an RN providing direct patient care in a Medically Underserved Area, Health Professional Shortage Area, County, State, prison, or Veteran’s facility.

Applicants must have outstanding student debt from a commercial or U.S. lending institution, be free from any other service obligation, and be willing to work in an underserved area for a year. The award is up to $10,000 of your loans repaid.

Colorado

Colorado Health Service Corps

In order to be eligible for the Colorado Health Service Corps loan forgiveness program applicants must be employed at an approved site by the first day of the application cycle and be one of the following:

  • Osteopathic or allopathic physician
  • Clinical pharmacist
  • Dentist
  • Licensed clinical or counseling psychologist
  • Licensed clinical social workers
  • Licensed professional counselor
  • Licensed marriage or family therapist
  • Certified nurse-midwife
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Physician assistant
  • Psychiatric nurse specialist
  • Registered dental hygienist

Award amounts vary based on applicant positions and obligation:

  • $90,000 full-time & $45,000 for part-time physicians and dentists
  • $50,000 full-time & $25,000 for part-time physician assistants, advanced practice nurses, clinical pharmacists, and licensed mental health providers.
  • $20,000 full-time & $10,000 for part-time dental hygienists

Florida

Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program

In order to be eligible for the Florida Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program, applicants must be a licensed LPN, RN, or ARNP in the state of Florida, have loans outstanding toward nursing education, and work full-time at a designated employment site.

Depending on funding, the program makes up to $4,000 per year in loan payments for a maximum of 4 years.

Illinois

Nurse Educator Loan Repayment Program

Awards for Illinois’ Nurse Educator Loan Repayment Program are up to $5,000 per year and is contingent on available funding. Applicants must legal U.S. citizens and residents of Illinois, have outstanding nursing school debt, be a nurse educator who needs licensing requirements of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, and have worked as a nurse educator at an approved Illinois institution for at least the past 12 consecutive months.

Iowa

Iowa Registered Nurse and Nurse Educator Loan Forgiveness Program

In order to be eligible, applicants must be a nurse educator holding a master’s, specialist’s, or doctoral degree and employed by eligible Iowa institution; or a registered nurse who is employed as a nurse in Iowa. Applicants must also have outstanding student loan debt, be employed at least quarter time with a minimum of 520 hours over the course of the year, and be in good standing with all federal student lenders.

The maximum amount of this award is 20% of the recipients total student loan balance, including interest.

Kansas

Kansas State Loan Repayment Program

The Kansas State Loan Repayment Program offers loan repayment in exchange for a two-year commitment to provide health care services at an eligible practice site. Eligible professions include allopathic and osteopathic physicians, dentists, oral surgeons, certified nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, clinical dental hygienists, clinical or counseling psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatric nurse specialists, clinical professional counselors, clinical marriage and family therapist mental health counselors.

Kentucky

Kentucky State Loan Repayment Program

The Kentucky State Loan Repayment Program offers loan repayment to physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, licensed mental health professionals, dental professionals, registered dental hygienists, pharmacists, and registered nurses.

This program works on a 50/50 match, meaning that every dollar the comes from the program must be matched from another source such as an employer or yourself, and funding is limited by how much is available for a given year.

Louisiana

Louisiana State Loan Repayment Program

Eligibility requirements for the Louisiana State Loan Repayment Program include work for a public or non-profit entity, work in a federally-designated HPSA, full time work in an outpatient facility, a sliding-fee scale for low-income, uninsured patients, must be a U.S. citizen with a license to practice in Louisiana, have no other obligation for health professional services, have not defaulted on student loans, and have not breached a health professional service contract.

Physicians and dentists can receive up to $30,000 annually for a 3-year initial commitment, while other healthcare professions can get up to $15,000 annually for a 3-year commitment.

Maryland

Janet L. Hoffman Loan Assistance Repayment Program

The Janet L. Hoffman Loan Assistance Repayment Program is limited to residents of  Maryland who provide services in state or local government, or nonprofit agencies to low income or underserved residents. Applicants must have earned a degree from a college in Maryland, or from any law school, or a resident teacher certificate from the Maryland State Department of Education, and must be employed full-time.

Eligible professions include attorneys, nurses, licensed clinical counselors, physical and occupational therapists, social workers, speech pathologists, and teachers.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Loan Repayment Program

Applicants to the Mass. Loan Repayment Program must be licensed to practice in Massachusetts and commit to practicing 2 years full-time providing services in an eligible facility. Healthcare professionals of a variety of fields are eligible for up to $50,000 in exchange for the commitment, but amounts vary based on the discipline.

Michigan

Michigan State Loan Repayment Program

The Michigan State Loan Repayment Program helps employers recruit and retain primary medical, dental, and mental healthcare providers by providing loan repayment in exchange for service obligations. MSLRP requires participants to provide full-time primary healthcare services in underserved areas at nonprofit health clinics for two years.

The minimum time to maintain eligibility is 40 hours per week and 45 weeks per year and funding is provided by the National Health Service Corps of the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Minnesota

Minnesota Nurse in Nursing Homes Loan Forgiveness Program

Eligible participants of the MN Nurse in Nursing Homes Loan Forgiveness Program must be either students in registered nursing or licensed practical nursing programs, or RNs and LPNs who are currently licensed and on the job.

A minimum of 2 years service obligation in nursing homes or Intermediate Care Facilities for persons with developmental disabilities or a hospital that operates a licensed nursing home is required. The program pays up to $5,000 per year.

Minnesota Nurse Faculty Loan Forgiveness Program

MN’s Nurse Faculty Loan Forgiveness Program offers up to $9,000 per year to eligible licensed health professionals studying to teach in allied health care or advanced nursing. Longer than the average tenure among forgiveness programs, this requires that candidates serve 3 years minimum, with a max of 4 years, as a postsecondary faculty member.

Montana

Montana Institutional Nursing Incentive Program

The Montana Institutional Nursing Incentive Program is a loan forgiveness program for nurses who are licensed to practice and are currently employed by either the Montana state prison or the Montana state hospital.

Applicants must have an existing loan balance of at least $1,000 in federal student loans. Private personal loans are not applicable.

Nebraska

Rural Health Student Loan Program

Nebraska’s healthcare student loan forgiveness program requires that students be enrolled in a medical, physician assistant, dental, or graduate-level mental health training program in Nebraska.

The award amount are determined primarily by funding provided by the state per year with the maximum annual student loan amount for a medical, dental, or psychology student being $30,000 for up to 4 years. Physician’s assistants or master’s level mental health students can get $15,000 up to 2 years.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire State Loan Repayment Program

New Hampshire’s loan forgiveness program provides funds to health care professionals working in areas of the State designated as being underserved. Those willing to commit a minimum of 3 years will receive loan payments contingent on the amount provided by the state for that year.

Healthcare professionals eligible for the program include physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, primary care physician assistants, psychologists, social workers, and others.

New Jersey

Primary Care Loan Redemption Program of New Jersey

As with others, New Jersey’s loan forgiveness program is meant to attract qualified healthcare professionals to areas of the state designated as underserved. Eligible applicants must agree to provide 2 years of services, at least, and may redeem up to $120,000 in loan payments over 4 years. This program is among the few that has no deadline as it is a rolling application process.

New Mexico

Health Professional Loan Repayment Program

New Mexico residents who are U.S. citizens are eligible for this program as long as they’re also licensed or certified in the state, employed full time, and among the following professions:

  • Advanced practice nurses
  • Allied health care providers
  • Allopathic physicians
  • Dentists
  • Optometrists
  • Osteopathic physicians
  • Pediatricians

Health professionals must commit to a 2-year service agreement but are rewarded with $25,000 per year toward their student loan debt.

Nursing Loan for Service Program

With the intent of increasing the number of nurses in areas of the state that are running short, New Mexico offers up to $12,000 to those willing to practice as a health professional in a designated shortage area. This award does not exceed $12,000 per year.

New York

Nursing Faculty Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program

Applicants are eligible for New York’s program if they are legal citizens of the state and have resided there for 12 continuous months, a registered nurse who’s professional licensed, possesses a master’s degree or doctoral degree in nursing for qualification as nurse faculty member, have prior clinical experience as a registered nurse, has outstanding student loan debt, and has not been in default.

The maximum lifetime amount that can be forgiven is $40,000 paid in the amount of $8,000 for each annual period of qualified service completed.

Ohio

Nurse Education Assistance Loan Program

The Nurse Education Assistance Loan Program provides financial assistance to Ohio students enrolled in at least half-time study in an approved Ohio nursing program. In order to be eligible, applicants must be Ohio residents, U.S. citizens, not be in default on any student loans, and maintain an academic record in good standing.

The annual reward is typically $1,500 and is based on the student’s EFC.

Oregon

Oregon Partnership State Loan Repayment

Oregon’s loan forgiveness program is similar to the others in that it requires healthcare providers to commit 2-years to practicing in an underserved area in exchange for loan forgiveness. However, awards are calculated on a tiered system based on the candidate and site eligibility. The amount awarded ranges from 10% of total debt to 20%, depending on the tier that the individual falls into.

Pennsylvania

Primary Care Loan Repayment Program

Pennsylvania’s forgiveness program offers physicians and dentists up to $100,000 for full-time and $50,000 for half-time work, and other practitioners up to $60,000 for full-time and $30,000 for half-time, while working in a designated underserved area.

Eligible participants include physicians, registered nurse practitioners, dentists, dental hygienists, nurse midwives, physician assistants, clinical social workers, professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, and psychologists.

Rhode Island

Health Professionals Loan Repayment Program

Rhode Island’s offering health professionals a portion of their loans repaid in exchange for a 2-year work commitment in an underserved area. Eligible applicants must be citizens of the U.S. and residents of the state.

Tennessee

Graduate Nursing Loan-Forgiveness Program

As with others, you must be a resident of TN in order to qualify for this program, as well as possessing a TN nursing license and be enrolled in an eligible master’s or post master’s degree program at an eligible institution.

In exchange for 4 years of full-time employment, TN will pay the full amount of your student loan debt.

Texas

Rural Communities Health Care Investment Program

Texas offers health care providers the opportunity to work in rural communities to practice in exchange for providing partial student loan forgiveness. Eligibility is contingent upon holding a Texas license, certificate, registration, or permit authorizing the practice, and they must be able to provide services to clients in at least one form of indigent care.

Applicants must agree to practice for a minimum of 1 year.

Vermont

Vermont Educational Loan Program for Nurses

Professions eligible for Vermont’s program include primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, physician assistants, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nurse educators.

Additionally, applicants must be residents of the state and the time requirement varies from profession to profession. See their site for more detailed information.

Virginia

Virginia State Loan Repayment

Physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists, dental hygienists, health service psychologists, clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, registered nurses, nurse midwives, and pharmacists are all eligible for Virginia’s program as long as they’re residents of the state.

The maximum award for a 4-year commitment is substantially more than others at $140,000.

Washington

Health Professional Loan Repayment

Washington’s program offers a maximum award of $75,000 to work in underserved areas for a minimum of 3 years with varying other requirements depending on specialty. Providers who are eligible for application include physicians, dental hygienists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, pharmacists, nurse midwives, psychologists, social workers, family therapists, and mental health counselors.

West Virginia

State Loan Repayment Program

West Virginia also requires a 2-year commitment to work in an underserved area for primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists, and nurse midwives. The initial 2 years will get you $40,000, and you can receive another $50,000 for two more years following. The maximum is $90,000 for 4 years.

Wisconsin

Health Professions Loan Assistance Program

Healthcare providers who are residents of Wisconsin can receive up to $50,000 in loan forgiveness if they’re willing to practice in a rural community designated by the state. These include psychiatrists, physicians, dentists, dental hygienists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and certified nurse midwives. Providers must agree to work for 3 years.

Wyoming

Wyoming Healthcare Professional Loan Repayment Program

Although this program is currently unfunded, it is expected to pick back up in 2018. Residents who are physicians, dentists, or other licensed healthcare professionals can receive up to $90,000 to put toward their student debt.

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