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Guide to Student Loan Forgiveness for Nurses

Nursing is a profession that can be rewarding, and nurses are needed across the country. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, nursing jobs are growing “faster than average.” However, nursing education can be expensive. The median debt of graduate nursing students is between $40,000 and $54,999.  Fortunately, student loan forgiveness for nurses is available from several programs. Many of them require a commitment to service for a length of time. 

Continue reading to learn more about student loan forgiveness for nurses!

Learn more: Best student loan repayment plans

Public service Loan Forgiveness

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 57% of nurses plan to have their loans forgiven through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). This program is offered by the U.S. government for federal direct loans. Nurses must work full-time for a state, national, or non-profit healthcare facility to be eligible for PSLF. They must also make 120 payments toward their loan balance before receiving forgiveness. 

Nurses seeking PSLF must enroll in an income-driven repayment program. On the standard 10-year repayment plan, the loan balance would be paid off by the 120th payment. 

Submit an application for PSLF through the Department of Education. Nurses can use the PSLF Tool to determine if they’re on track to receive loan forgiveness through this program.

National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program

Licensed Nurse Practitioners, Psychiatric Nurse Specialists, and Certified Nurse-Midwives can apply for The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) loan repayment program. To be eligible for this program, nurses must be employed at a facility in a designated Health Professional Shortage Area. To learn more about designated need areas, visit the Health Resources & Administration Website.

Nurses can choose to work two years full-time or two years half-time. Full-time service will receive up to $50,000 in funds to repay loans; Half-time service will receive up to $25,000. It’s important to note that if nurses who work in a private practice aren’t eligible for the half-time option.

This program requires an application. In 2022, the application is projected to be due in May. Submit your application at their application portal.

Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program

The Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program is available to licensed Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners who work in an area with a designated health professional shortage. Nurse Faculty who work full-time at an accredited school of nursing are also eligible.

This program provides funds to repay up to 85% of nursing education loans. After two years of work, nurses qualify for 60% of funds. Nurses may be eligible for a third year of service and receive 25% of their loan balance. 

This loan repayment program requires an application. Learn more about the program and apply on the Health Resources & Administration website. This program gives preference to those who need the most help financially.

U.S. Army Nurse Loan Forgiveness

The United States Army offers funding for loan repayment to its nurses.

Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment Program

This program offers up to $120,000 to repay nursing student loans. This is a three-year program. Nurses can receive up to $40,000 annually.

Healthcare Professionals Loan Repayment Program

Nurses who serve in the U.S. Army Reserve healthcare team can receive up to $50,000. This is a two-year program that offers $20,000 annually. Nurses can receive $10,000 for a third year of service.

State Nurse Loan Forgiveness

Individual states offer their own programs for nursing school debt forgiveness. 

For example, nurses in Michigan can be awarded up to $200,000 to repay their nursing school loans. This award is in exchange for a two-year commitment to working in a Health Professional Shortage Area. 

Most state loan repayment programs require a commitment to service in an underserved area. Research your state’s nurse loan forgiveness programs to learn more about your options!

Also read: How to lower student loan payments

Perkins Loan Cancellation

The government no longer offers Federal Perkins Loans, but there are still nurses with Perkins Loan debt. Nurses can have up to 100% of their Perkins Loan debt cancelled. Nurses can work to have their Perkins Loan debt cancelled over the course of one to five years. Learn more about Perkins Loan Cancellation on the FSA website

As you can see, nurses have many opportunities to have their student loans forgiven or repaid. If you don’t qualify for the programs shared above, maybe our post on how to lower student loan payments will help. If you want to dive deeper, check out our guide to student loan forgiveness. Nursing school may be expensive, but that shouldn’t stop you from pursuing the career!

Keep reading: Student loan consolidation vs refinancing