Student loan forgiveness options for nurses

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According to data from the National Student Nurses’ Association, about 70% of nursing students use student loans to help pay for their education, NerdWallet reported. Data also shows that the average cost many expect to borrow is between $40,000 and $55,000.

Recent graduates and current nursing students may find that number costly, and seek student loan forgiveness. The best student loan forgiveness options depend on what degree was earned, the type of student loans that occurred, and the location of nursing practice.

Here are a few options for student loan forgiveness and alternative options for nurses to consider:

Federal Perkins Loan cancellation

This federal program is commonly used by teachers as a loan forgiveness program, but nurses can be eligible too. A full-time nurse can be eligible for up to 100% forgiveness if they received Perkins loans before 2017 and have five years of eligible services.

Nurses should contact the school that issued their Perkins Loan or the school’s Perkins Loan servicer to apply.

National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program

The National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program repays federal and private student loans for nurses who work in underserved areas. To be eligible for forgiveness, you must have worked as a registered nurse or nurse practitioner for at least two years at a clinical practice in a Health Professional Shortage Area or at a qualifying nursing school.

Nurses can apply now on the NHSC website.

Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program

The Indian Health Service offers this loan repayment program in exchange for a two-year commitment to working at an IHS facility that serves American Indians and Alaska Natives. Students can receive up to $40,000 in loan forgiveness.

Use the IHS website to apply.

Military student loan forgiveness for nurses

Some branches of the military offer student loan forgiveness programs to those who become a nurse in the army or another branch of the military. The Army Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment Program is one of the more well-known options.

Nurses seeking more information should contact the branch of the military they wish to join or visit

State-level loan forgiveness for nurses

Loan forgiveness options for nurses are available in each state, but the requirements, eligibility, and work commitment vary.

In Georgia, one of the options for loan forgiveness is through the Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce. The GBHCW offers loan repayment programs for physicians, dentists, physician assistants, and advanced practice registered nurses

“The programs assist in paying any debt incurred for tuition, fees, and other expenses associated with the completion of the aforementioned degrees for practitioners who agree to practice full-time in an underserved, rural county in Georgia with a population of 50,000 or less,” GBHCW states on its website.

Nurses should visit this website to learn more about the programs offered.

For those nurses who don’t think they’ll qualify for student loan forgiveness programs or assistance, consider refinancing or income-driven repayment plans.

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