Student Loan Forgiveness for Nurses

How to Get Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness
Whether you are just beginning your nursing school education or have already graduated, you can probably use the information on student loan forgiveness for nurse programs.  Forgiveness of a student loan means that you no longer have to pay back the loan.  Of course, there are conditions on forgiveness.  The most common condition is an agreement to work in a specific location, often one that has a significant nursing shortage. Rural locations often do not have sufficient healthcare workers.

The following below are examples of how you can secure loan debt forgiveness on your nursing student debts.

Federal Loan Forgiveness for Nursing Students

The federal government strongly supports loan forgiveness for nursing students who receive federal loans and are willing to work in communities with high nursing shortages which the government designates as Health Professional Shortage Areas.  Following are examples of federal loan forgiveness opportunities.

The U.S. Department of Education

Through the Department, nursing students may be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Unlike other programs discussed here, this program does not include 100 percent forgiveness of a student loan.  Rather, only individuals who have made at least 120 repayments on an eligible federal student loan can apply. Qualifying loans include the Stafford loan, both subsidized and unsubsidized, as well as the Perkins Loan and specific nursing and health professions loans. You must be a full-time employee of a public service organization to be considered. For nurses, this includes a public health department, a public school, or a nonprofit healthcare organization.  To apply for this loan forgiveness program, you need to contact your original loan servicer (for example, the Stafford loan program). This is one of the best places to start if you are looking for student loan forgiveness for nurses

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Nursing students may be eligible for the Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program which the Department administers. Students who agree to a two-year service agreement can receive payment or forgiveness of up to 60 percent of their nursing school loan balance.  If they work a third year, an additional 25 percent will be paid or forgiven.  In addition to the repayment or loan forgiveness, nursing students and students, in general, receive a salary from the participating employer which must be an approved Critical Shortage Facility as identified by the Department.  Only students who graduate with specific nursing degrees qualify for this program. The Department accepts applications once annually.  For additional information, you can contact the Department at (800) 221-9393. This is also a very good place to continue your efforts for nursing student loan forgiveness.

State Loan Forgiveness for Nursing Students

Some states may include nursing student loan forgiveness opportunities with state-funded nursing scholarships.  The student loan forgiveness for nurses program will require the nursing student to commit to work for a predetermined period of time, often one year of service for one year of financial assistance.  Once the service commitment has been satisfactorily completed, the associated loan will be forgiven in full.  Generally, state forgiveness programs require the students to commit to service at the time the loan is approved.  Following are examples of state education loan programs that offer forgiveness in exchange for service.

Ohio Nurse Education Assistance Loan Program

Ohio nursing students attending accredited nursing programs in the state may be eligible for a loan through this program.  Students must be enrolled for a minimum of half-time and plan to work as a nurse upon graduation to qualify for assistance.  The typical award is $1,500 per year of study. Awards are based entirely on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) calculated from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Applications are due by mid-July annually. The loan is forgiven in its entirety as long as the student works on a full-time basis as a licensed practical nurse or a registered nurse in Ohio for at least five years after graduating from college.  To learn more, students can call the Ohio Board of Regents at (614) 466-3561.

Tennessee Graduate Nursing Loan-Forgiveness Program

Graduate nursing students who are residents of Tennessee and attend an accredited graduate nursing program in the state can apply to this program.  Students receive a student loan to pay for their graduate education.  Upon graduation, the student must be employed full-time for four years in a nursing education program in a teaching or administrative capacity. Once your employment commitment is satisfied, your education loan is forgiven in full.  Applications are due by the end of February annually to the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation located at 404 James Robertson Parkway, Nashville, TN 37243.  If you have questions, you can contact the Corporation at (615) 741-1346.

University & College Student Loan Forgiveness for Nurses

Some educational institutions like colleges and universities may administer loans directly to students as part of the overall financial aid package.  Nursing students who receive supplemental loans in this manner may be eligible for loan debt forgiveness.  Nursing schools may forgive loans if nursing students enroll in work-study programs.  Students can learn more about these loan forgiveness options by contacting their school’s office of financial aid.

Employer-Sponsored Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness

A healthcare employer who provides student loans to nursing students may forgive the loans as long as the students work for the employer for a specified period of time upon graduation.  Employers do this to secure a quality nursing staff. You can find out about available loan opportunities from local employers by contacting their human resources or education departments.

Community-Based Student Loan Forgiveness for Nurses

Foundations are the primary type of community organization that provides loans to local nursing students.  Several loans include forgiveness provisions if the student remains in or returns to the community to work as a nurse after graduating from college.  This is most likely to occur in areas facing a critical nurse shortage.  The following is an example of a foundation that offers loan forgiveness to qualified nursing students.

The Van Buren Foundation, Inc.

The Foundation administers the Van Buren Loan Program for nursing students.  Students who receive loans from the Foundation can have one-third of the loan forgiven for each year of nursing service in Van Buren County. If students work as nurses for three years in the county after graduation, the entire loan will be forgiven. Only graduating high school seniors who live in the county and attend either Harmony High School or Van Buren Community High School are eligible for these loans. Loan amounts vary. To learn more or get an application, contact the Foundation, c/o Bank of the West, P.O. Box 130, Keosauqua, IA 52565 or by calling (319) 293-3794.

Nursing students have many options when applying to student loan forgiveness for nurses programs.  It is important to fully understand each option prior to beginning your nursing education and accumulating student credit card and personal loan debts.