search facebook-square linkedin-square twitter envelope android-arrow-forward

Nursing can be an extremely rewarding career, but the educational requirements to get there can often leave nurses in a lot of student loan debt. 

Fortunately, nurses have a lot of options when it comes to student loan relief, including student loan refinancing. There are several loan forgiveness programs for nurses on the state and federal level that can bring huge relief to nurses struggling to balance work, life and personal finances. 

These loan forgiveness programs, of course, are not applicable to every profession — they’re specifically designed to help nurses with their student loans. Over the next few sections, we’ll zero in on these programs and provide valuable information that can lead to freedom from student debt.

Major federally-funded nurse loan forgiveness programs

  • The NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program (NHSC)
  • Perkins Loan Discharge or Loan Cancellation for Nurses
  • The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

Check out the tables further below for a list federal and state student loan forgiveness programs that help nurses pay back their student loan debt, along with brief descriptions.

Another option: Student loan refinancing for nurses

For nurses with private loans who don’t qualify for federal loan forgiveness programs, refinancing is a viable option. Check your rates with Credible and you’ll see how fast, rewarding and life-changing it is — it takes just 2 minutes. Nurses who refinance through Credible save an average of $17,673.

Start Saving Now

Federal student loan forgiveness programs for nurses

NURSE Corps Loan Repayment ProgramNURSE Corps is a highly competitive program dedicated to providing care in underserved communities across America. Registered nurses from accredited schools commit to a two-year service agreement at a defined critical shortage facility.

Participants will receive 60% of their existing loans paid for and have the option to extend for a third year with an additional 25% forgiven during that term. Funding is based on facility as well as financial need. A minimum service of 32 hours per week is required to be eligible for repayment.

Federal Perkins Loan Discharge/CancellationAvailable to graduating nurses with federal Perkins loans who submit an application through their respective university.

100% forgiveness is available after five years of qualified nursing employment. Awards will be distributed incrementally over the duration of the discharge. Nurses must be registered and licensed to participate.
The National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program (NHSC)Program provides full-time and part-time commitment options for primary care providers to serve within a Health Profession Shortage Area at a NHSC approved site. Depending up the HPSA score, recipients can receive up to $50,000 in loan repayment in exchange for at least a two-year service commitment.

Additional repayment can be extended for a third year and the program usually requires a minimum 32-hour weeks commitment. Part time workers can receive up to $25,000 depending on the service site.
Federal Public Service Loan ForgivenessEligible candidates must be employed by a public service organization defined by the program conditions and be a full-time employee (30+ hours per week).

Loans under the Direct Loan Program are eligible for forgiveness after 10 years of repayment. The repayment timeline began in 2007 so only payments made after this date will contribute towards the 120 payments needed to ensure forgiveness.

State student loan forgiveness programs for nurses

Nearly every state has student loan forgiveness options for nurses. Use the following table to find your state and see if there’s a program in place to help you repay your student loans.

AlaskaSupporting Healthcare Access through Loan RepaymentOffers loan repayment assistance in exchange for a minimum of two years in a Health Professional Shortage Area in Alaska. Up to $20,000 per year is awarded and the recipient can be licensed in any state. New guidelines for require a 25% employer match to participate.

ArizonaThe Primary Care Provider Loan Repayment ProgramThe aim of the program is to promote work by healthcare professionals in underserved areas. The program qualifies a service site that is public or private, non-profit located in a federally designated HPSA region. Depending on the sites priority rank, different loan amounts will be awarded (between $10,000 - $15,000) for the initial two-year award.

ArizonaRural Private Primary Care Provider Loan Repayment Program The program is designed to promote healthcare professionals working in underserved areas. The program requires service at a private practice service site located in a rural area as defined within an Arizona Medically Underserved Area (AzMUA). Depending on the sites priority rank, different loan amounts will be awarded (between $10,000 - $15,000) for the initial two-year award.

CaliforniaBachelor of Science Nursing Loan RepaymentBachelor of Science in Nursing recipients may receive up to $8,000 in qualified nursing loan reimbursement. The agreement is a two-year service obligation, and entails practicing direct patient care at a qualified facility in California. Facilities are directed at providing care in Medically Underserved Area (MUA), HPSA sites, County, State, prison, or Veteran's facility. You may be awarded a second time for up to an additional $11,000.

ColoradoColorado Health Service CorpsNurses may be eligible to receive repayment of qualified student loans if practicing in a Health Professional Shortage Area or delivering primary health cares services in a public or nonprofit clinic. The program awards recipient up to $25,000 for a 3-year term at an approved site.

FloridaNursing Student Loan Forgiveness ProgramProgram encourages qualified personnel to seek employment in areas of the state where critical nursing shortages exist in exchange for nursing loan repayment assistance. The program may make nursing education loan repayments of up to $4000 per year, per nurse enrolled in the program, for a maximum of four years. Nurses must be licensed as an LPN, RN, or ARNP in the state of Florida.

IllinoisNurse Educator Loan Repayment ProgramProgram is intended to pay eligible loans to add an incentive to nurse educators in maintaining their teaching careers within the State of Illinois. The annual awards to qualified nurse educators may be up to $5,000 to repay their student loan debt for a maximum of 4 years. To be eligible, you must have worked for the past 12 consecutive months as a nurse educator prior to the application date.

IowaIowa Registered Nurse and Nurse Educator Loan Forgiveness ProgramRepayment assistance to registered nurses employed in Iowa and nurse educators teaching at eligible Iowa colleges and universities. To be eligible, you must be a nurse educator who holds a master's, specialist's, or doctorate degrees and is employed by eligible Iowa colleges or universities; or a registered nurse who is employed as a nurse in Iowa. Preference will be given to nurse educators for a maximum award offering of $6,658.

KansasThe Kansas State Loan Repayment ProgramFederally supported program that provides loan repayment assistance to health care providers with qualifying educational loans. Repayment assistance is awarded in exchange for a minimum two-year commitment to provide health care services at an eligible practice site in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area. Program awards nurses up to $20,000 per year in repayment support.

Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program
Program is designed for the recruitment and retention of professional nurses who are dedicated to providing health care to underserved populations. Nurses who are selected to participate in the program must enter into a contractual agreement to provide full-time clinical care in an approved facility located in a shortage county. Recipients will be awarded up to 60% (maximum $30,000) of payment towards qualifying loans in exchange for 2 years of service commitment.

KentuckyThe Kentucky State Loan Repayment ProgramFederally backed program that provides 50/50 matching (federal and state) for qualified educational loans. As repayment service, recipient must agree to a two-year commitment to practice full-time at an eligible sponsoring organization in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area. Repayment maximum can be up to $35,000 a year for two years for a total of $70,000 (this includes the federal and health organization’s matching amounts).

LouisianaLouisiana State Loan Repayment ProgramProgram’s mission is to encourage primary care practitioners to serve in Health Professional Shortage Areas to overcome the maldistribution of primary care health professionals in rural and inner city areas. Nurses can be awards up to $15,000 annually for a three-year initial commitment to aid in loan forgiveness. To be eligible, you must be licensed in the state of Louisiana, work full-time, and have no other health service obligation.

MarylandJanet L. Hoffman Loan Assistance Repayment ProgramAwarded to Maryland residents who provide public service in Maryland State or local government or nonprofit agencies in Maryland to low income or underserved residents. You must have earned a degree from a college in Maryland and have full-time employment with a gross salary under $60,000. Awards are distributed over a 3-year period and depending on total debt amount, yearly payment award will be between $1,500 and $10,000.

MassachusettsThe Massachusetts Loan Repayment ProgramRepayment program provides educational loan repayment as an incentive for health professionals to practice in communities where significant shortages of health care providers and barriers to access have been identified. Applicants must be licensed to practice in Massachusetts and commit to practice two years full-time or the equivalent extended commitment part time (e.g. a 20-hour practice per week will mean a 4-year contract) providing services in an eligible facility or setting. Nurses are eligible for a total award of $40,000 over the 2 years.

MichiganMichigan State Loan Repayment ProgramRequires two-year service obligations, which will begin October 1 following each application period. Applicants must have eligible debt sufficient to warrant an initial two-year, $15,000 loan repayment agreement to participate. Award amount is dependent on the level of education debt with a maximum of $50,000 over the two-year agreement.

MinnesotaMinnesota Nurse Loan Forgiveness ProgramProvides funds for repayment of qualified educational loans for licensed practical or registered nurses in exchange for service in needed/rural areas with the state. A payment of $3,750 will be made annually, for a four-year max of $15,000 as a service repayment. Participant must practice for a minimum 30 hours per week.

MinnesotaMinnesota Nurse Faculty Loan Forgiveness ProgramProvides funds for repayment of qualified educational loans for nurse educators. Participants are eligible to participate for up to four years in the program as nurse faculty in a post-secondary nursing program in Minnesota. Annual payments are made to the participant in the amount of up to $6,750, but not to exceed $27,000 total for the maximum four-year period.

MontanaMontana Institutional Nursing Incentive ProgramThe incentive program is a loan reimbursement program for individuals who are licensed to practice as a registered professional nurse and who are currently employed as a full-time registered professional nurse by either the Montana state prison or the Montana state hospital. Nursing educational loans must have an existing loan balance of at least $1,000 and reimbursement is limited to a maximum of $3,750 a year for 4 years.

NebraskaThe Nebraska Loan Repayment ProgramProgram is a local-state matching fund program to assist local entities serving shortage areas to recruit and retain health professionals. Requires a 3-year service agreement including service to Medicaid patients for a maximum benefit of $20,000 per year of loan repayment.

NebraskaNew Hampshire State Loan Repayment ProgramRequires a service obligation for service in federally designated shortage areas. Site must agree to implement a sliding-fee-schedule for low-income patients and accept assignment for Medicaid beneficiaries. The award grants $45,000 for a minimum service obligation of thirty-six months, with an opportunity of an extension for an additional twenty-four months at $20,000. Part-time service opportunities are also available in exchange for education loan repayment support.

New JerseyPrimary Care Loan Redemption Program of New JerseyDesigned to increase and improve the provision of primary care services by encouraging providers to serve in state-designated underserved areas and Health Professional Shortage Areas throughout New Jersey. Providers are required to work a minimum of two years (maximum of four years) on a full-time basis (40 hours per week), providing primary care in an eligible underserved area. A percentage of qualifying loans will be forgiven (between 18-28% of participant's student debt annually) over the course of service for a maximum allowable amount of $120,000.

New MexicoHealth Professional Loan Repayment ProgramThe program requires the recipient to make a two-year service commitment to practice full-time in a designated medical shortage area in New Mexico. The maximum allowable award is $25,000 per year or up to $35,000 per year for an HPSA area. Award amounts are determined by outstanding student loan debt on an individual basis. Applicant must be licensed within the state and be employed full-time.

New MexicoNursing Loan For Service ProgramThe purpose of the program is to increase the number of nurses in areas of the state of New Mexico. As a condition of each loan, the student accepted into a nursing program within the state must declare intent to practice as a health professional in a designated shortage area. For every year of service, a portion of the loan will be forgiven. The award is based on financial need of the student. The award may not exceed $12,000 per year and may be renewed for up to four years.

New YorkThe Nursing Faculty Loan Forgiveness Incentive ProgramOffered to increase the number of nursing faculty members and adjunct clinical faculty teaching in the field of nursing in New York State. Awards are made annually to licensed, registered nurses holding graduate degrees and who have taught in the field of nursing. The maximum lifetime award under this program is $40,000, paid in the amount of $8,000 for each annual period for the five-year commitment duration.

OhioNurse Education Assistance Loan ProgramProvides financial assistance to Ohio students enrolled for at least half-time study (or accepted for enrollment in an approved Ohio nurse education program. The most recent (2013) academic award was $1,500/year. To qualify for loan cancellation, recipients must be employed full-time as a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse in the State of Ohio for a minimum of five years after graduation.

OregonOregon Partnership State Loan RepaymentProgram requires a two-year service obligation in a HPSA designated service site. Sites decide how much they'll contribute, from $5,000 up to $35,000, and then program funds match the service site's funds.

PennsylvaniaPrimary Care Loan Repayment ProgramProgram provides grant funding for educational loan repayment to primary care practitioners serving medically underserved populations. Up to $60,000 of educational loan repayment for a full-time service commitment or up to $30,000 for a partial commitment. Applicants must be licensed within the state and commit to the two-year program that requires employment in a primary care employment site serving the underserved.

Rhode IslandHealth Professional Loan Repayment ProgramProgram to improve access to care, retain providers who provide healthcare services in underserved communities, and to address health professional shortages that cause disparities in health. Two-year commitment to practice in medically underserved communities as identified as Health Professional Shortage Areas is required. A total of $250,000 has been allocated to the State of Rhode Island for 8 - 10 awards across several health professions.

TennesseeGraduate Nursing Loan-Forgiveness ProgramProgram is designed to encourage Tennessee residents who are registered nurses to become teachers and administrators in Tennessee nursing education programs. Applicant must be a Tennessee resident with a nursing license and be enrolled in a higher education nursing program. Those recipients must agree to a four-year teaching commitment and 25% forgiveness will be awarded each year.

The Rural Communities Health Care Investment Program
Program offers loan repayment assistance to non-physician health care professionals who agree to serve in a medically underserved community of Texas. Recipients must agree to practice full-time for a 12-month period at an eligible health shortage area site. Applicant must have valid licensing and begin service in a shortage area. The program awards up to 30 grants of up to $5,000 each.

VermontVermont Educational Loan Program for NursesProgram offers repayment awards in exchange for service commitments by eligible health care professionals. Recipient must have outstanding educational debt acquired in the pursuit of an undergraduate or graduate degree from an accredited college or university that exceeds the amount of the loan repayment award. Program awards up to $10,000 in state funds per year for a minimum average of 20 clinical hours per week in a service shortage area.

VermontVermont Educational Loan Program for Nurse Educators/FacultyProgram offers repayment awards in exchange for service commitments by eligible health care professionals. Recipient must have outstanding educational debt and be employed as a nurse educator in Vermont. One year of teaching service for one year of funding. Awards are up to $20,000 per year with priority given to nurses in service needed areas.

VirginiaVirginia State Loan RepaymentLoans are repaid in return for a minimum of two years of full-time practice of the recipient's specialty in a federally designated HPSA of Virginia. The repayment program pays up to $25,000 a year toward the qualified educational loans of program participants. The minimum service obligation is 2 years and has a maximum payment of $50,000. Subsequent extensions of the loan repayment contract are entitled to annual loan repayments of up to $35,000. A 40-hour per week service obligation is required.

WashingtonThe Health Professional Loan RepaymentProgram encourages licensed primary care health professionals to serve in critical shortage areas within the state. Applicants agree to provide primary care health care in rural or underserved urban areas with designated shortages. Awards provide up to $35,000 per year in repayment for a minimum two-year ($70,000), full-time service obligation. Each additional one-year extension request amount is based on funds available.

West VirginiaState Loan Repayment ProgramProgram offers repayment of educational loans to nurse practitioners in return for an obligation to practice in rural underserved areas of West Virginia. Applicants must be licensed within the state and practice within a HPSA. Benefits include $40,000 in repayment for a two-year commitment. Contracts may be extended for two additional years at a rate of $25,000 per year.

WisconsinHealth Professions Loan Assistance ProgramProgram requires three years of service in a federally designated HPSA site. Nurses are awarded a maximum of $25,000 for the duration of the program and payment is distributed annually over the three year term. Nurses must have completed an approved program and must work full time (40-hour weeks) to complete the commitment.

WyomingWyoming State Loan Repayment ProgramThe federally backed program will fund two primary care physician assistant, nurse practitioner, and/or certified nurse midwife awards (up to $20,000 each) in exchange for two years of full-time service at an approved National Health Service Corps site in a designated primary care HPSA. Applicants must practice within adult, family, pediatrics, geriatrics, and women’s health departments.