While a nursing career can be exceptionally rewarding, the costs of preparing for it leave many new grads
reeling. Fortunately, several programs are available to provide student loan forgiveness for nurses. Depending on where you live and the type of loans you carry, you could potentially have some of your student loan balances wiped away. If you're a nurse who is struggling under the weight of student loan debt, consider these options:
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
Nurses may qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program after working in a qualified public service position and making on-time payments for 120 consecutive months (10 years). Once that requirement is met, U.S. Department of Education Direct Loans in good standing will be eligible for forgiveness. You must work at least 30 hours per week to qualify for this program, and only payments made after October 2007 are eligible.
NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program
The Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program
offers loan forgiveness for nurses who work at least 32 hours per week in a qualified facility. After 2 years of employment, up to 60% of loans may be forgiven. After 3 years, another 25% of loans may be forgiven. Certain
requirements and guidelines apply.
Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation
Nurses with Federal Perkins Loans may receive total loan balance forgiveness if they meet certain requirements. To qualify, you must register for this program and work full time. Once you're registered, your loans will be discharged over a period of 5 years. For more information, visit your university's website. These loans are discharged via the school that awarded the degree.
SEE ALSO: Congratulations, Graduate! Now, Pay Up
Student Loan Forgiveness by State
In addition to these national programs offering student loan forgiveness, nurses can find local relief through state programs. Below are examples of student loan forgiveness programs by state.
Alaska: Alaska's SHARP Program offers up to $27,000 per year in loan assistance for nurses who work in designated service shortage areas.
Arizona: Arizona's Loan Repayment Program offers up to $50,000 in repayment assistance for each year of qualified service in a designated and approved critical shortage area.
California: California's BSN Loan Repayment Program offers up to $11,000 in assistance.
Colorado: Colorado's Health Service Corps Program offers up to $50,000 for nurses who work at least 3 years at a qualifying organization.
Florida: Florida's Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program offers up to $4,000 per year for a maximum of 4 years.
Hawaii: Through the Hawaii State Loan Repayment Program, nurses can receive help with their student loans.
Idaho: Under the Idaho State Loan Repayment Program, nurses can earn between $5,000 and $25,000 of loan forgiveness for 2 years of service.
Illinois: In the Veterans Home Nurse Loan Repayment Program, Illinois nurses can earn up to $5,000 per year in loan assistance.
Iowa: Through the Iowa Registered Nurse & Nurse Educator Loan Forgiveness Program, nurses can have some portion of their student loans forgiven.
Kansas: NPs who work in shortage areas can earn up to $20,000 in repayment assistance.
Kentucky: In the Kentucky Loan Repayment Program, nurses can earn loan forgiveness through the program as well as a sponsor or employer match.
Louisiana: Nurses in Louisiana can earn up to $15,000 in loan assistance each year for 3 years through the Louisiana State Loan Repayment Program.
Maryland: Maryland's Janet L. Hoffman Loan Assistance Repayment Program offers varying amounts of loan repayment assistance to nurses who meet eligibility requirements.
Michigan: Through the Michigan State Loan Repayment Program, nurse practitioners who work in underserved communities can earn up to $200,000 over a period of 8 years.
Minnesota: The Minnesota Nurse Loan Forgiveness Program offers up to $5,000 in loan assistance per year to registered nurses.
Montana: The Montana Institutional Nursing Incentive Program offers varying amounts of loan assistance for nurses.
Nebraska: The Nebraska Loan Repayment Program may provide up to $20,000 in loan repayment assistance each year to nurses who work in a designated shortage area.
New Hampshire: The New Hampshire State Loan Repayment Program offers up to $45,000 in student loan assistance for nurses.
New Jersey: The Primary Care Practitioner Loan Redemption Program of New Jersey makes it possible for nurses to earn up to $120,000 in student loan forgiveness.
New Mexico: Through the New Mexico Health Professional Loan Repayment Program, APNs who work in a medical shortage area can receive $25,000 to $35,000 in loan forgiveness per year.
New York: Nurses in New York can earn up to $8,000 per year for 5 years through the New York State Nursing Faculty Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program.
Ohio: Ohio nurses can earn up to 100% loan forgiveness after working as a full-time nurse for at least 5 years.
Oregon: The Oregon Partnership State Loan Repayment Program offers varying levels of loan repayment assistance to nurses.
Pennsylvania: Through the Pennsylvania Primary Care Loan Repayment Program, nurses who work in designated shortage areas can receive up to $60,000 in loan forgiveness.
Rhode Island: Rhode Island nurses can receive loan assistance through the Rhode Island Health Professional Loan Repayment Program and Nurse Educators Loan Forgiveness Program.
Tennessee: The Graduate Nursing Loan Forgiveness Program offers loan forgiveness for nurses who also work as educators.
Texas: Through the Rural Communities Health Care Investment Program, nurses can receive as much as $10,000 in loan assistance after working for 12 months.
Vermont: The Vermont Educational Loan Repayment Program for Nurses offers up to $10,000 for nurses in underserved areas.
Virginia: The Virginia State Loan Repayment Program offers up to $25,000 per year in loan forgiveness for nurses.
Washington: Nurses in Washington can receive up to $75,000 in loan forgiveness after fulfilling a 3-year commitment.
West Virginia: Nurses who work in underserved areas can receive up to $40,000 in loan assistance after 2 years.
Wisconsin: Nurses in Wisconsin can receive up to $100,000 in loan assistance after working in a qualified shortage area for 3 years.
Wyoming: Through the Wyoming State Loan Repayment Program, nurses can earn up to $20,000 in loan assistance.
Earning a degree in the nursing field is an expensive endeavor, but it shouldn't stop you from achieving your career goals. Nursing skills will always be in demand, and many programs are available to help relieve the burden of college debt. If you are committed to working as a nurse and would like to have your debt cancelled, be sure to investigate both national and state programs.
Andy Josuweit is the CEO of Student Loan Hero (studentloanhero.com), a website and service that provides advice and resources for student loan repayment and forgiveness.