For a lot of us, the biggest downside to becoming a nurse is the thousands of dollars of debt that it costs to get our education. According to the Federal Reserve, more than half of students in 2018 took out some sort of student loan. And a recent CNBC.com report indicated that about 69% of students in 2018 took out student loans, graduating with an average debt of $29,800.
Thankfully, there are lots of loan forgiveness programs available to nurses. Not all nurses will qualify, but for those that are lucky enough, they are definitely worth applying for.
The top 3 student loan forgiveness programs for nurses are:
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF)
- Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program (NCLRP)
- State-Level Loan Forgiveness
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF)
The most common Loan Forgiveness program is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). We’ll dig into what it is, who qualifies for it, and some things you need to consider before applying for it.
What is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program?
This program forgives the remaining balance of all federal loans after the borrower has made a minimum of 120 qualifying monthly payments. So, after ten years of loan payments, you could get the rest of your student loans paid off.
The two caveats are: You must not default on your loans, and you must be using a qualifying repayment plan while working for a qualifying employer.
A qualifying employer means that you work for:
- Government organization at any level (federal, state, local, or tribal)
- Not-for-profit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
- Other types of not-for-profit organizations that are not tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
- AmeriCorps or Peace Corps serving as a full-time volunteer
It is very important to note for this loan forgiveness that the owner of the healthcare system must be a not-for-profit organization. At times, a hospital will be not-for-profit or serve an underprivileged population but will be owned by a larger for-profit corporation.
What are the eligibility requirements?
- To be considered for PSLF, nurses must work full-time (as defined by their employer) or work at least 30 hours per week.
- Some nurses have more than one job, so hours can be combined, but paperwork must be completed by all places of employment. Furthermore, all jobs must be qualifying organizations for hours to be included.
- Applying for the PSLF can be confusing so the federal government has developed a specific tool to aid individuals in the application process. The tool accomplishes the following,
- Help you understand more about the PSLF Program and what you need to do to participate and possibly have your loans forgiven
- Help you assess whether your employer qualifies for PSLF
- Help you assess whether your loans qualify for PSLF
- Help you decide which PSLF form to submit
Use the information we have about your federal student loans to explain other actions you should or must take if you want to receive PSLF