Nursing school can cost up to $104,000 to get a bachelor’s of science in nursing, according to the Nurse Journal.
If you graduated from school with student loans, you’re likely feeling overwhelmed by your debt. Thankfully, there are several student loan forgiveness programs for nurses that may be able to help.
In this post:
- National student loan forgiveness programs for nurses
- State forgiveness programs
- If you’re not eligible for loan forgiveness
National student loan forgiveness programs for nurses
There are five loan forgiveness programs for healthcare workers available at the national level.
1. National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment
Nurse practitioners and nurse midwives can receive up to $50,000 in loan repayment assistance through the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment program. In exchange, you’ll have to serve for two years as a full-time employee at a National Health Services-approved site.
Both federal loans and private student loans are eligible for loan forgiveness through this program.
2. Nurse Corps Loan Repayment
The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration operates the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment program. If eligible, you could have up to 85% of your federal and private student loans discharged through this program.
Registered nurses, advanced practice registered nurses, and nurse faculty may qualify. As part of the program, you must agree to work for at least two years in a critical shortage facility.
Learn More: Private Student Loan Forgiveness
3. Public Service Loan Forgiveness
If you work for a nonprofit organization or government agency, you may be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). With PSLF, select federal loans can be discharged if you work for an eligible employer for 10 years while making 120 qualifying monthly payments.
Payments made under an income-driven repayment plan, such as Pay As You Earn, will qualify. If you still have a balance after 10 years of making payments, PSLF will discharge the remaining balance. The forgiven amount isn’t taxable as income.
4. Perkins loan cancellation
If you have federal Perkins loans, you could have 100% of your loans discharged after working for five years for an eligible employer as a nurse. To see if you qualify, contact the school that handled your loan or your loan servicer.
5. Income-driven repayment forgiveness
Another option is income-driven repayment forgiveness. If you have federal loans and can’t afford your payments, you can sign up for an income-driven repayment plan. With this approach, your payment term is extended to 20 to 25 years, and your payments are capped at a percentage of your discretionary income.
After 20 to 25 years of making payments, the remaining loan balance is forgiven. While the forgiven balance is taxable as income, it can still be a valuable benefit.
State forgiveness programs
If you don’t qualify for one of the national loan forgiveness programs, you may still be eligible for a state program. To recruit and retain top talent to work in underserved areas, some states will help you repay some or all of your student loans in exchange for a service commitment.
For example, Colorado has the Nurse Faculty Loan Repayment program. If you have a master’s degree in nursing and are working as a nurse faculty member, you could receive up to $40,000 in loan repayment assistance if you make a two-year service commitment.
In Louisiana, certified nurse practitioners and nurse midwives could qualify for the Louisiana State Loan Repayment program. If you agree to a three-year service commitment, you could receive up to $15,000 per year in loan repayment assistance for your federal and private student loans.
Check with your state to see if it offers a loan forgiveness program for nurses.
See The Full List: Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
If you’re not eligible for loan forgiveness
Unfortunately, not everyone will qualify for a loan forgiveness program. If you aren’t eligible for loan discharge, another option to consider is student loan refinancing. With this approach, you work with a private lender to take out a new loan for the amount of your current debt. The new loan has different repayment terms, including interest rate and monthly payment.
In some cases, you could qualify for a lower rate, which might help you save money over the length of your loan. Credible allows you to compare rates from multiple refinancing lenders at once, so you can pick the one that works best for you.