Repaying student loan debt can be challenging. The amount of student loans that a nurse has can depend on the school attended and degree completed. According to Nurse.org, student loan debt ranges from $20,000 for an associate's prepared nurse to over $47,000 for a master's prepared nurse. Even into the six figures if you attended a non-traditional accelerated nursing program.
Fortunately, there are several options available at the state and federal level for nurses desiring loan forgiveness. If you are a nurse faced with the burden of student loans, read on to learn about different student loan forgiveness programs and how to apply for them.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF), you may have your student loans forgiven if you work at least 30 hours per week for a non-profit hospital or are employed by the government. Nurses will receive full forgiveness for any remaining balance after making 120 monthly payments toward their direct loans, which is generally equivalent to 10 years. Loans must also be in good standing. PSLF has been modified due to the current COVID-19 relief measures, so be sure to check for any changes.
To determine if you are eligible, use the PSLF Help Tool on the Federal Student Aid website.
Perkins Loan Cancellation
Depending on the type of loan and the date it was taken out, you may be eligible for a full or partial Perkins loan cancellation. Certain full-time nurses might qualify for 100% forgiveness with five years of service. Application for cancellation must be made by the school where the loan originated. More information can be found at studentaid.gov.
Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program
Nurses are eligible for up to 85% loan repayment through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) if they work at least two years in a critical shortage facility and typically within an underserved community faculty role in an eligible nursing school. Registered nurses are eligible if they work at least 32 hours a week at a required facility. They will receive 60% repayment during the first two years and an additional 25% off if they opt for a third year. Applications are accepted on a yearly basis. To find out if your facility is eligible and to apply, visit the HRSA website.
Military Student Loan Forgiveness
One of the most popular loan forgiveness options is the Army Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment Plan. In exchange for enlisting in the army, nurses may qualify for up to $120,00 for 3 years of service. There are also options for army reserve nurses. Applicants must be between 21 and 52 years of age with a BSN and valid RN license. You can find more information at goarmy.com.
State Loan Forgiveness Programs
Requirements for loan forgiveness programs vary from state to state. Check your state’s website to explore eligibility and work commitment obligations.
Is Loan Forgiveness Right for You?
Depending on your unique situation, there are several things to consider when entering into a student loan forgiveness program. A program may require you to take a lower-paying position, whereas remaining with a private institution with higher pay will allow you to pay off student loans sooner.
Let's take a look at some of the risks and benefits.
- Full or partial loan forgiveness
- Options for nurses who wish to serve underserved communities in shortage areas
- Financing for for nurses with limited financial resources
- Freeing up money for other expenses such as purchasing a home or saving for retirement
- Federal tax will be omitted on loans forgiven between now and 2025.
- The requirement to remain with the same facility or employer once entered into the program
- Limitations in areas where you may work
- Working with a non-profit or public employer
- Potential restrictions in earning potential when fulfilling your loan forgiveness obligation.
- Interest accrues while you wait for loan forgiveness and if you end up not qualifying, this can lead to a higher loan balance.
Lume is a bank created for nurses that offers a seamless integration with student loan servicers. Nurses have the ability to access and pay their loans from multiple servicers all from one interface, straight through their Lume account. Nurses with federal loans still have access to the autopay interest rate reduction but with the ease and convenience of managing their loan through Lume. Join the waitlist at Lume today!