What Is Your Career Trajectory
Does Lauren want to work for a private practice or a non-profit employer? This could be the most important decision as it relates to her student loans. If PSLF is on the table, then wed talk about the best repayment plan to go for it.
If she could go either way, then wed crunch the numbers to see how much more in salary shed have to make in a private job to give up the PSLF benefit.
Additional Loan Forgiveness Programs For Aprns
Beyond the options we’ve listed here, there are loan forgiveness programs that are specific for advanced practice nurses only, including nurse practitioners, certified midwives, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and nurse educators.
If you are interested in becoming an APRN, it is worthwhile to both check with your school as well as your current and prospective employers to see what kind of loan forgiveness may be available.
And for nurses who don’t qualify for loan forgiveness, refinancing your student loans to a lower interest rate may be an option. The new loan replaces your old one, leaving you with a lower payment and/or a shorter payoff time frame. You can learn more about refinancing in our guide to refinancing nursing school student loan debt.
Other Ways To Repay Student Loans
Student loan forgiveness programs can be a huge help to many nurses who are trying to juggle their educational debt after graduation. But in reality, not everyone will qualify for this type of financial assistance.
If you cant qualify for student loan forgiveness or you dont want to be tied down to a specific nursing job for several years, some other strategies that could potentially save you money on your educational debt include:
- Refinancing or consolidating your student loans: If you have good credit and steady income, you might be able to qualify for a lower interest rate on your student loans through a private lender. Just be aware that if you refinance federal student loans with a private lender, youll give up a number of benefits, including federal forbearance and income-driven repayment options.
- Repaying your student loans faster: While you wont have any of your loan balance forgiven, you could reduce the total amount you pay by making extra payments on your loans. This will help you get out of debt sooner and will cut down on the amount of interest tacked on to your loans.
- Income-driven repayment plans: If your student loan payments are high compared to your income, the Department of Education offers several income-driven repayment plans that might help you. In addition to potentially helping you lower your monthly student loan payment, these plans feature loan forgiveness for qualifying borrowers after 20 to 25 years.
Ways Student Loan Repayment Is Offered To Nurse Practitioners
Its the season of giving but capturing the intended spirit of the holidays may be tough if youre a nurse practitioner saddled with student loan debt. It may seem like all the giving you can do this year is to keep up with loan payments. Paying down student debt and incorporating payments into your familys budget isnt easy. So, this holiday season, give yourself the gift of making sure youre maximizing your loan repayment assistance potential.
The first step in securing help repaying your nurse practitioner student loans is to understand how your loans might be repaid, other than with your hard-earned dollars. For nurse practitioners, there are three general categories loan repayment opportunities fall into.
1. State Student Loan Repayment Programs
Several states have adopted loan repayment programs for healthcare providers including nurse practitioners. Lawmakers in Texas, for example, recently created a program to help pay off mental health professionals student loans seeking to alleviate the states shortage of psychiatric providers. The Pennsylvania Primary Care Loan Repayment Program awards nurse practitioners up to $60,000 towards student loans for two-years of service practicing in a medically underserved area.
2. Employer-Based Loan Repayment Assistance Programs
3. Federal Student Loan Repayment Programs
Are you planning to apply for student loan repayment assistance programs?
Application Cycle : Closed#
The Bachelor of Science in Nursing Loan Repayment Program increases the number of appropriately trained Registered Nurses providing direct patient care in a qualified facility in California.
I was still paying a student loan from when I obtained my BSN degree, and I did not want to put myself in further student loan debt until my current loan was paid off. I applied for the BSNLRP and was blessed with the award in 2018. I am currently in school pursuing my next career and cannot express enough how grateful I am to have received this award from this incredible foundation.
Angelica Verduzco, 2018 BSNLRP Awardee
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How Loan Repayment Works Under Nhsc Lrp
Loan repayment for those chosen for the initial two-year service contract works as follows:
- Full-time clinical practice up to $50,000 over two years
- Part-time clinical practice up to $25,000 over two years
If an NP decides to renew beyond the initial two-year contract, loan repayment occurs as follows:
- Full-time $20,000 per year
- Part-time $10,000 per year
Funds are distributed only up to the point where they repay qualified eligible loans. If an NP fails to meet the requirements of NHSC LRP, they will have to return all funds to the program.
Student Loan Repayment Strategies For Nurses
Paying off student debt is complicated especially for nurses and advanced practitioners.
While 43% of college graduates nationwide already carry student loan debt from a four-year undergraduate degree, college graduates in nursing a field that is increasingly requiring advanced degrees typically have some of the highest rates of student loan debt. The median student debt for nurses with graduate degrees is almost $49,817, according to the Department of Educations College Scorecard.
Given that nursing is one of the largest and fastest growing professions in the country, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting that over 200,000 new registered nurse positions will be created each year through 2029, many RNs will be faced with the challenge of managing student loan debt for the next decade and beyond.
How can busy RNs meet the challenge of paying off student loan debt while managing a busy work schedule and enjoying a fulfilling lifestyle outside of work? Lets explore a few strategies.
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Widening Access To Higher Health Care Education
Health care professionals like nurse practitioners are essential members of our communities and education for the next generation is more important than ever as demand continues to rise.
Beyond AANPs Grants and Scholarship Program, many other opportunities exist to connect students in need with funding to help them complete their education and begin a career as patients partner in health.
NP students can figure out what types of loans they have by either calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID, logging in to their studentaid.gov account or by checking their credit report.
What Are The Repayment Obligations
Program participants who, for any reason, fail to begin or complete the required period of obligated service shall be liable to the Department for an amount equal to the number of months of obligated service not completed multiplied by $7,500 and interest on the above amounts at the maximum legal prevailing rate, as determined by the Treasurer of the United States from the date of breach. Except that the amount the Department is entitled to recover will not be less than $31,000. Any amount the Department is entitled to recover shall be paid within one year of the date the Director determines that the applicant is in breach of the written contract. Failure to pay the Department by the due date has the following consequences:
- The debt will be reported to credit reporting agencies. Any loan repayment debt more than 60 days past due shall be reported to all appropriate credit reporting agencies.
- The debt will be referred to a debt collection agency and the Illinois Attorney Generals Office. Any loan repayment debt past due for three months shall be referred to a debt agency. If the debt collection agency is unsuccessful in receiving payment in full, the debt will be referred to the Illinois Attorney Generals Office for enforced collection.
- State payments due to the grantee may be offset by the Illinois Department of Revenue to repay a delinquent loan repayment debt.
National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program
The National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program is another student loan forgiveness option offered through the Health Resources and Services Administration.
Full-time nurse practitioners, psychiatric nurse specialists and nurse-midwives may be able to wipe out up to $50,000 of both federal and private student loan debt through the program. Part-time nurse practitioners and nurse-midwives may receive up to $25,000 in loan forgiveness.
In exchange for loan forgiveness, you must commit to at least two years of service at a NHSC-approved facility. The facility must be located in an area with a critical need for more health care professionals .
Note: You can apply for this program along with the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program. However, youll be able to use only one repayment option, even if you qualify for both.
Best for: Federal and private student loan borrowers who are nurse practitioners , psychiatric nurse specialists or nurse-midwives and who will serve for at least two years in an area with approved critical need for health care professionals.
How to apply: Visit the Bureau of Health Workforce Customer Service Portal.
Repay Nursing School Loans On Your Terms
No matter what type of nursing degree you hold or how much student loan debt you have, nurses can pay off student loan debt faster using one or more of the above strategies. Talk with a financial professional to determine the best strategy for paying nursing school debt based on your unique situation. Having good credit and a low debt-to-income ratio could make refinancing a good strategy. Learn more about refinancing nursing school student loan debt with Laurel Road here.
In providing this information, neither Laurel Road or KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, financial, accounting, or legal advice.
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The Bottom Line: Loan Repayment Under The Nclrp
Because of the intent of the program, funding preferences are given to CSF applicants with the highest debt-to-salary ratios and those who are working in the highest need regions. Someone with a lot of debt and a lower-end salary working in the highest-need regions would be the most likely to be chosen for the program.
For those going into nurse education, participation priority will be given to those with a high debt-to-salary ratio teaching at a school of nursing where 50 percent of students come from a disadvantaged background.
Because NCLRP is focused upon diminishing the primary and mental health care gap, 50 percent of all funding is allocated to NPs: 20 percent to PMHNPs and 30 percent to all other NPs. Only 10 percent of funding is allocated to nursing faculty.
Between 2016 and 2020, on average 7,156 nurses applied for this program. This number includes both new and returning applicants. On average 831 awards were disbursed each year, which is roughly 12 percent of applicants.
Do You Want To Get Rid Of Your Debt Quickly Or Go For Loan Forgiveness
With Laurens salary, she could go either way, so we would spend some time talking about the pros and cons from a financial and lifestyle perspective.
Many people would love to get their loans knocked out as quickly as possible but they struggle to come up with the money to commit to the refinancing payments. If she really wanted to get it done, we would talk through some simple and effective spending techniques to get her comfortable with it.
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Military Loan Forgiveness For Nurses
Nurses who agree to military service may see tens of thousands of dollars of their student loans forgiven. For instance, the United States Navy website says that nursing students who serve full time in the Navy can qualify for up to $34,000 in loan repayment to help pay for nursing school through the Nurse Candidate Program . This aid is given out as an initial grant of $10,000, plus a stipend of $1,000 per month for up to 24 months.
Meanwhile, nurses can participate in the Air Force Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment Program , which is available for eligible specialties within the Medical Corps, Nurse Corps and Biomedical Sciences Corps. This program offers up to $40,000 in loan repayment assistance, although taxes are assessed on forgiven amounts. Loan forgiveness can be used for principal and interest payments, as well as reasonable educational and living expenses.
Best for: New enlistees in a branch of the United States Armed Forces who plan to serve their country as a qualified health care professional for at least two years.
How to apply: Talk to your military recruiter for more information.
What Is The Army Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment Program
In exchange for enlisting in the Army, you can qualify for up to $120K to repay nursing loans in exchange for a minimum 3-year service to the Army. This loan repayment program is 3 years long, and you can receive $40K per year.
In addition to the repayment funds, you can also earn sign-on bonuses for enrolling in the program. There are also options for Army reserve loan forgiveness, which provides part-time, local options for Army Reserve nurses.
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Consider A Nursing Side Gig
Dont qualify for debt relief because youre not working at a nonprofit or an underserved location? Some programs only require a part-time commitment of 20 hours per week to repay your loans. If you can get a second job working an additional 20 hours per week for a couple of years, it may be worth the hassle. Weigh how much youll make working extra hours in your current position versus 20 hours per week through your states nursing loan repayment program to see which option makes more financial sense.
Loan Repayment For Clinical Researchers
The National Institutes of Health announces the availability of funds for educational loan repayment for qualified health professionals who agree to be clinical researchers for at least two years with the NIH.
The overall purpose of the extramural LRP is the recruitment and retention of highly qualified health professionals as research investigators to careers in research.
The NIH invites qualified health professionals who contractually agree to engage in NIH mission-relevant research for at least two years, and who agree to engage in such research for an average of at least 20 hours per week based on a 40-hour work week, to apply for participation in the extramural LRP. Extramural LRPs provide for the repayment of educational loan debt of up to $35,000 annually for qualified health professionals performing research within the mission of NIH at domestic, non-profit, or government entities.
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The Bottom Line: Loan Repayment Under The Ihs Lrp
The IHS LRP award is specific to the location where the NP is employed at the time of application. All work transfer requests must be approved in advance in order to stay in compliance with this program.
The IHS offers a job matching service for NPs who are interested in pursuing employment at an approved site. Inquiries can be sent directly to a recruiter who will work with an NP to find an appropriate placement.
Awards are issued based on a site score, which is based on the HPSA assessment. Once all applications are received for the fiscal year, IHS LRP staff start with the highest site score and make awards, working down the list till the funds have been exhausted or all completed applications have received an award.
Indian Health Services Loan Repayment Program
Nurse practitioners who provide at least two years of service to practice in health facilities serving American Indian and Alaska Native communities can be eligible for loan repayment through the Indian Health Services Loan Repayment Program. NPs can receive $40,000 for their first two years and $20,000 for each subsequent year until all eligible loans are repaid.
Details about this program are found on the Indian Health Services website.
Student Loan Forgiveness For Nurses By State
Besides the three federal government loan forgiveness options, most states are also willing to help nurses out with their nursing school debts. Eligibility requirements include working at designated facilities that have a shortage of licensed health care providers.
Below weve outlined how 30 of the 50 states measure up when it comes to debt forgiveness programs for nurses. If your state isnt on this list, do a Google search with the name of your state and the words nurse loan repayment program to see whats available.
This isnt a complete list of nursing student loan forgiveness programs offered by states, but this should offer a good idea of the many resources that are available across the country. Student loan forgiveness for nurses is more widely available than you might think.