Updated May 1, 2018

Loan Forgiveness for Nurses

Read more about Student Loan Forgiveness

Nurses can get loan forgiveness. This beginner's guide to student loan forgiveness programs can help you wipe away nursing student loan debt.

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Loan Forgiveness for Nurses: What You Need to Know

Did you rack up a lot of debt as a nursing student? A nursing job might pay you well right out of school, but tackling that debt may feel impossible.

Don't worry, there are ways to get help. Both the federal and state governments offer forgiveness programs to nurses.

If you want to kiss those student loans goodbye, keep reading to learn the programs available to you.

Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program

The Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program offers repayment up to 85% of your unpaid nursing student loans. Nurses, RNs, APRNs, and nurse educators are eligible.

To qualify, you must:

  • Work in an eligible Critical Shortage Facility in a high need area. Or teach in an eligible public or private nonprofit school of nursing.
  • Commit for a minimum of 2 years.
  • Work at least 32 hours a week as a RN or APRN. Or work full-time as a nurse faculty member at an eligible school of nursing.

After 2 years of service, you may receive payment up to 60% of you unpaid debt. If you work an additional year, you can receive another 25% of loan repayment.

Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge

If you obtained a Federal Perkins Loans (no longer disbursed) before September 30, 2017, you can be eligible for the Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge program. You may get up to 100% of your Federal Perkins loans forgiven.

You get a fixed percentage of loans forgiven for each year of service. The interest is also forgiven. They are as follows:

  • 15% for the 1st year
  • 15% for the 2nd year (total 30%)
  • 20% for the 3rd year (total 50%)
  • 20% for the 4th year (total 70%)
  • 30% for the 5th year (total 100%)

You must work as a full-time nurse providing direct care to patients. You must apply through the school supplying the Federal Perkins Loan or the loan servicer. It's up to your school to determine if you're eligible or not.

National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program (NHSC)

The NHSC program provides loan repayment for health professionals working in medically underserved areas. This includes nurse practitioners and certified nurse-midwives.

You must work in a NHSC-approved service site in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) for at least 2 years. Here's what you can receive:

  • Full-time with service site HPSA score 14 or higher: up to $50,000.
  • Full-time with service site HPSA score 13 or lower: up to $30,000.
  • Half-time with service site HPSA score 14 or higher: up to $25,000.
  • Half-time with service site HPSA score 13 or lower: up to $15,000.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

The PSLF offers federal student loan forgiveness to those working in the public service sector. This applies to any health care provider working in a public health agency. You must:

After 10 years of payments, your loan balance will be forgiven.

The loan forgiveness pertains to Direct Student Loans. If you have any Federal Perkins Loans or Family Education Loans, they may qualify if you refinance them into a Direct Consolidation Loan.

Military Forgiveness Options

Army:
The Army offers loan repayment for nurses in both active duty and in the Reserves.

  • Active duty nurses are eligible to receive up to $120,000 in nursing education loan repayment. You can receive up to $40,000 per year for each year of service.
  • Reserve nurses can work in their community while serving when called. You may receive up to $20,000 per year for the first two years of service. You can get an additional $10,000 for the third year of service.

Navy:
Nurses in the Navy may be eligible for the Health Professions Loan Repayment Program. This program provides up to $40,000 per year paid directly to your loan servicer per year.

Indian Health Services Loan Repayment Program

The Indian Health Services Loan Repayment Program is for nurses serving in the Indian and Alaskan Native communities in high need areas. You may receive up to $40,000 after 2 years of consecutive service. You must work as one of the following nurse professionals:

  • BSN
  • Advanced Practice Nurse
  • Physician Assistant

If you still have a balance after 2 years, you may extend your service until you no longer have outstanding student loans.

Nurse Loan Forgiveness and Repayment by State

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  • Alaska
    The SHARP-3 program offers loan repayment to nurses serving anywhere in Alaska. In this program, the entire state of Alaska is considered "high need." Nurses are considered a "Tier 2" for loan repayment options. Any type of nurse, including RNs, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, may qualify.

    Nurses in "regular fill" positions may receive up to $20,000 per year. Nurses in "very hard to fill" positions may receive up to $27,000 per year. Nurses working half-time may receive half of each award.

  • Arizona
    The Arizona Loan Repayment Program rewards nurses working in underserved areas. Nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and nurse midwives may qualify if they work full-time in an underserved area for 2 years. Qualified nurses working full-time may receive between $40,000 and $50,000 per year for the first two years of service.

    You may elect to extend your service if you still have outstanding debt. You may receive between $8,000 and $25,000 per year for each subsequent year.

  • California
    The Bachelor of Science Nursing Loan Repayment offers loan repayment to RNs with at least a BSN degree. You can get up to $10,000 in exchange for 1 year of service. You must work in an underserved area, California prison, or facility for veterans.

    The California State Loan Repayment Program helps staff qualified nurses in high-need areas in California. You must be a nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or certified nurse midwife to qualify. You can receive up to $50,000 in exchange for a 2-year service commitment (depending on the availability of funds each year).

  • Colorado
    The Colorado Health Service Corps Repayment Program rewards nurses working in health professional shortage areas. Nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, or physician assistants are eligible. Full-time positions may receive up to $50,000. Part-time positions can get up to $25,000. Qualified applicants must agree to work for 3 years at the approved site.

  • Delaware
    The Delaware State Loan Repayment Program provides loan repayment options for nurses in the following areas:

    • Nurse practitioner
    • Certified nurse midwife
    • Psychiatric nurse specialist
    • Physician assistant

    Qualified participants may receive between $30,000 and $100,000 per 2-year contract for service in a high-need area.

  • Florida
    The Florida Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program provides loan repayment for nurses serving in high-need areas. LNs, RNs, and ARNPs are eligible. You may receive up to $4,000 per year in loan repayment. You may reapply for the program for up to 4 years, for a total of $16,000.

  • Georgia
    The Physician Assistant Loan Repayment Program (PALRP) rewards physician assistants working in rural areas of Georgia. You can get up to $10,000 per year. You may apply for renewal up to 3 times after the first year.

    The Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Loan Repayment Program rewards advanced practice nurses working in rural areas of Georgia. You can get up to $10,000 in loan repayment for one year of service. You may apply for renewal up to 3 times after the first year.

  • Hawaii
    The Hawaii State Loan Repayment Program provides loan repayment for nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and physician assistants working in health professional shortage areas. You must commit to 2 years of service if you work full-time, or 4 years for half-time work. The funds are on an "as available" basis.

  • Illinois
    The Nurse Educator Loan Repayment Program provides funds for nurse educators throughout Illinois. Recipients may receive up to $5,000 per year in exchange for 12 months of consecutive service. You may receive the funds for a total of 4 years.

    The Illinois National Health Service Corps State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) offers forgiveness to nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and physician assistants working in high-need areas. You can get up to $25,000 per year in exchange for 2 years of full-time service. If you still have outstanding loans after the two years, you may reapply for a 3rd and 4th year.

  • Iowa
    The Iowa Registered Nurse & Nurse Educator Loan Forgiveness Program offers loan repayment to nurse educators and registered nurses. You may receive up to 20% of your outstanding federal student loan balance. The maximum award may not exceed the average tuition rate for in-state residents for the year. You may reapply every year as long as you have outstanding federal student loans.

  • Kansas
    The Kansas State Loan Repayment Program offers nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and physicians assistants with up to $20,000 per year in loan repayment. You must work for 2 years in a Health Professional Shortage Area in Kansas.

  • Kentucky
    The Kentucky State Loan Repayment Program provides a unique program for registered nurses, nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and physician assistants. You may receive between $20,000 and $40,000 for 2 years of full-time service. The difference, however, is the employer must match the state's contribution 50/50.

  • Louisiana
    The Louisiana State Loan Repayment Program provides up to $15,000 per year for up to a 3-year full-time commitment. You may work as a nurse practitioner, physician assistant, certified midwife, or psychiatric nurse specialist. If you still have a balance, you may extend your service an additional 2 years.

  • Maryland
    The Janet L. Hoffman Loan Assistance Repayment Program (LARP) provides loan repayment to registered nurses working full-time in Maryland. Your gross salary may not exceed $60,000 and you must work full-time in a low-income area. You may receive between $1,500 and $10,000 per year for a total of 3 years. The amount of your award depends on your total debt.

  • Massachusetts
    The Massachusetts Loan Repayment Program offers loan repayment to those working in a health professional shortage areas. Nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, physician assistants, and psychiatric nurse specialists may apply. You can get up to $50,000 in exchange for a 2-year commitment. The amount you may receive depends on your area of work.

  • Michigan
    The Michigan State Loan Repayment Program provides up to $200,000 for a 2-year service in a high-need area. You must work at least 40 hours a week for at least 45 weeks a year. How much you receive depends on your job type and the amount of outstanding debt. Nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, physician assistants, and psychiatric nurse specialists may apply.

  • Minnesota
    The Minnesota Nurses in Nursing Homes Program provides nurses in a nursing home setting with up to $5,000 in loan repayment per year. You must serve at least 2 years. You can extend your contract for an additional 2 years.

    The Minnesota Rural Public Health Nurse Loan Forgiveness Program offers registered nurses up to $5,000 per year in change for 3 years of service. You may extend your contract for a 4th year, if necessary.

    The Minnesota State Loan Repayment Program offers certified nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and psychiatric nurse specialists up to $20,000 per year for service in rural/shortage areas.

    The Minnesota Nurse Faculty Loan Forgiveness Program offers nurse educators up to $9,000 per year for 3 years of service. You may participate in the program for up to 4 years as long as you have outstanding student debt.

  • Missouri
    The Nurse Loan Repayment Program offers RNs working in Missouri up to $10,000 for a 2-year service agreement. Advanced practice nurses may receive up to $20,000 for a 2-year service agreement.

  • Montana
    The Montana NHSC Student Loan Repayment Program rewards up to $15,000 per year for 2 years. Nurses of many specialties may apply. This includes RNs working for a primary care doctor.

    The Montana Institutional Nursing Incentive Program is for registered nurses working full-time in a state prison or hospital. You must prove you have a minimum of $1,000 in outstanding student loans.

  • Nebraska
    The Nebraska Loan Repayment Program rewards nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and physician assistants working in shortage areas. You can get up to $30,000 per year, up to 3 years. Half of the funds must come from a sponsor, such as an employer or other professional. The state matches the payment dollar for dollar.

  • Nevada
    The Nevada Health Service Corps offers loan repayment for advanced care nurses. You must have 2 years of service in a high-need area. The amount of the repayment is determined on a case-by-case basis and depends on the availability of funds for the year.

  • New Jersey
    The Primary Care Practitioner Loan Redemption Program of New Jersey encourages nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and certified nurse midwives to work in underserved areas of New Jersey. In exchange for your service, you may receive funds for loan repayment. You must commit to a 2-year service and work full-time.

  • New Mexico
    The Health Professional Loan Repayment Program offers advance practice nurses up to $25,000 per year. You must agree to work in a high-need area in New Mexico for 2 years. Registered nurses are not eligible for this program.

  • New York
    The NYS Nursing Faculty Loan Forgiveness (NFLF) Incentive Program is eligible for registered nurses with a master's degree working as nurse educators. Applicants may receive up to $8,000 per year for qualified loans. You can get it for up to 5 years, for a maximum of $40,000.

  • North Carolina
    The North Carolina Medical Society Foundation Community Practitioner Program rewards family nurse practitioners working in underserved areas. You must commit to a five-year service agreement. The loan repayment amount depends on your total debt and availability of funds.

  • North Dakota
    The Health Care Professional Student Loan Repayment Program offers repayment to advanced practice registered nurses working in health professional shortage areas. You may receive up to $22,000 in loan repayment. You must agree to work in the high-need area for a total of five years.

  • Oregon
    The Oregon Partnership State Loan Repayment (SLRP) offers repayment for registered nurses and advanced practice nurses. You must work at a non-profit entity or in a health professional shortage area. The amount of the award depends on the level of shortage in the area you work. You must serve for 2 years. You can extend the contract for an additional 2 years if a balance still exists.

  • Pennsylvania
    The Pennsylvania Primary Health Care Loan Repayment Program offers advanced practice nurses working in underserved areas up to $60,000. Part-time nurses can get up to $30,000. You must agree to a 2-year service agreement.

  • Rhode Island
    The Health Professionals Loan Repayment Program offers repayment to registered nurses and advanced practice nurses. You may work either full-time or half-time in a high-need area. The amount you receive depends on your level of service and your total outstanding debt.

  • South Dakota
    The South Dakota Recruitment Assistance Program offers repayment to advanced practice nurses for a 3-year service agreement. You must work in a rural setting and sign a contract with the South Dakota Department of Health. The amount you may receive depends on your outstanding loans and the average University of South Dakota tuition for physician assistants. The most you may receive is twice this average amount.

  • Tennessee
    The Tennessee State Loan Repayment Program (TSLRP) offers repayment to advanced practice nurses serving in high-need areas. You must work for 2 consecutive years. The amount you receive depends on your outstanding debt and availability of funds.

    The Graduate Nursing Loan Forgiveness Program encourages RNs in Tennessee to become nurse educators. You must be enrolled in an eligible master's degree in a nursing educational program at an eligible institution. You'll be required to sign a promissory note to enter a specific education program for 4 years. The loan will be forgiven after your 4 years of service.

  • Vermont
    The Vermont Educational Loan Repayment Program for Nurses provides RNs with up to $10,000 per year. You must work at least 20 hours a week for 45 weeks a year at a high-need facility.

  • Virginia
    The Virginia Loan Repayment Program is for RNs, midwives, and advanced practice nurses. You must work full-time at an eligible site in order to qualify. The amount of your award depends on your outstanding debt. You must commit to a 2-year service agreement.

  • Washington
    The Washington Loan Repayment Program offers up to $75,000 to registered nurses and advanced practice nurses. You must serve for 3 years in a high-need area. You must work at least 24 hours a week and take no more than 40 days of leave per year.

  • West Virginia
    The West Virginia State Loan Repayment Program offers up to $40,000 for a 2-year service agreement in a high-need area. You may also apply for an additional $25,000 per year for another 2 years. Only advanced practice nurses may apply.

  • Wisconsin
    The Wisconsin Health Professions Loan Assistance Program offers up to $50,000 to advanced practice nurses. You must work full-time in a shortage area for at least 3 years.

Bottom Line

You have many loan forgiveness options if you are a nurse. The type of nurse, where you work, and the amount of your debt will determine what you may receive. For a small commitment of 2-5 years, you can get a large chunk (if not all) of your loans forgiven. Make sure to exhaust all your options. Hopefully our guide can point you in the right direction for help.

More from CreditDonkey:


How to Get Rid of Student Loans


Best Student Loan Refinance


Pay Off Student Loans Fast

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May
27
2018

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