If you are a Registered Nurse and you have received an Associate’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, or Master’s Degree in nursing, there are programs available that will allow you to satisfy a portion of your student loan debt.
However, you need to follow special guidelines and enter into a legally binding contract that states that you will not be able to have your student loans repaid unless you follow the criteria listed on the contract.
Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program
The Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program is a federally funded program that allows a rather large portion of your loans to be repaid provided you work in a hospital or other facility that has a shortage of nurses.
You sign paperwork that says you are legally obligated to serve in the facility for a specified amount of time.
They do this to encourage people to work in places where registered nurses are desperately needed, which ends up being a winning situation for both parties.
For the hospitals, they are getting the much-needed staff to assist their patients, and for the nurses, they are getting a big part of their debt wiped out.
They have a website specifically for their program which further details the criteria necessary to qualify, including the types of facilities you can work in and how long you are obligated to stay.
While the Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program is a federal program, there are also state-funded programs available to help Registered Nurses as well. These are available on a state-by-state basis and have their own guidelines separate from the ones in the federal program. T
hese programs are similar to the federal program, in that they allow a portion of your student loan debt to be forgiven if you work as a Registered Nurse in a qualified area.
The NELRP is specifically for Registered Nurses, but some state programs allow for others who work in the health care field such as LPNs or ARNPs.
This is a good option for someone who is not a Registered Nurse but would still like to take advantage of any options available to help them pay off their student loans.
Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program
This is an example of one of the state programs available to nurses who would like to have a portion of their student loan debt satisfied in exchange for service in a qualified health care facility. The Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program is a program for nurses in Florida.
The terms of this program differ slightly from the federal program, but the basic idea is still the same. The Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program allows up to $4,000 per year to be repaid, up to a maximum of four years. They make payments based on the qualifications of the applicants and whether or not funding is available.
Other State Loan Forgiveness Programs
State loan forgiveness programs are more likely to be underfunded than the federal program, so you should use the federal program before trying for the state programs.
It is also important to note that your student loans can only be forgiven if they were incurred specifically for your nursing degree.
For example, if you were an engineering major before you figured out that you wanted to become a nurse, the portion of your debts that you incurred for the engineering degree will not be forgiven unless they counted for some part of your nursing degree.
It is also important to note that you cannot be enrolled in a federal program and state program at the same time. Most likely, it is in your best interest to pursue the Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program, as the funding is better than most of the state programs available.
Once you have exceeded the maximum time frame for receiving federal loan forgiveness, you may then qualify for state-funded programs, depending on the terms and guidelines of the programs available for your state. Here are some sample state benefits:
Maryland residents that earn less than $40,000 per year working as a nurse may be eligible for loan repayment assistance.
For more information about this program, contact the Maryland State Scholarship Administration.
The Bachelor of Science Nursing Loan Repayment Program (BSNLRP) offers registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree in nursing education a loan repayment of up to $19,000. Nurses are obligated to serve two years in direct health care in a medically under-served area of California.
The Iowa Registered Nurse and Nurse Educator Loan Forgiveness Program will forgive a maximum of 20% of a nurse’s total federal loan. A maximum of five years of loans may be forgiven. Nurses must be employed in Iowa. Nurses and nurse educators must not have been employed as a nurse prior to July 1, 2007.
The Tennessee Graduate Nursing Loan Forgiveness Program was created to encourage registered nurses to pursue advanced degrees in nursing and careers in nurse education or administration.
Recipients of the Tennessee loan forgiveness program must be enrolled in a master’s degree program or higher. A service obligation of four years as faculty or administration at a college or university in Tennessee is required to receive loan forgiveness. The service obligation must be started immediately following graduation from the higher education program.
Student loan forgiveness is an excellent way to get rid of student loan debt. Not only will you be serving your community, but you will satisfy a large portion of your debt in exchange for work you would have been doing anyways. The only disadvantage would be that you would have to work in one of the specified sites, and you would be obligated to stay for a certain length of time.