Depending on your nursing program, repayment status, and where you end up working — there are several potential options for student loan forgiveness.
Since there are so many programs to consider regarding student loan forgiveness for nurses, let’s break them down one by one.
Here’s a shortlist of the forgiveness and discharge options that we’ll be discussing. If you know which one you’d like more information, click on the link to jump to that section.
- Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge
- Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
- State-Funded Student Loan Forgiveness
Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge
Although the Federal Perkins loan expired, some individuals still might be paying it off.
If that’s the case, there is a possibility you could get your student loan canceled or discharge entirely. To get your Perkins Loan discharged, you need to be a registered nurse and currently employed full-time.
To apply, you should contact the school that disbursed the loan or your current loan provider. They should be able to instruct you on how to apply for student loan cancellation or discharge. Keep in mind that the loans take about 5 years until they are discharged.
While it might not be an immediate payoff, knowing that you have some relief coming and the timeline for payoff is a huge help.
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program for Nurses
Another program designed to help nurses in the public service sector is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. The program will fully forgive the remaining balance on your loans once you’ve met the requirements.
To qualify for loan forgiveness, you must be working in the public sector full-time and have made consecutive payments to your student loan for 10 or more years. Forgiveness is for Direct Student Loans only, and they must not be in default (or have been in default at any point).
You need to submit the Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness form to apply for the program. With these types of forgiveness programs, the government is particular about the kinds of payments you’ve made toward your loan, when your payments were made, and your employment status. Be sure to read through all the guidelines before applying and submit all the required information.
If you have any questions, it would be best to contact the U.S. Department of Education for clarification before submitting your form.
NURSE Corps Loan Repayment
If you’re currently a nurse working in an underserved community at one of their Critical Shortage Facilities, NURSE Corps Loan Repayment could be an option for you.
This repayment program encourages those with a nursing license to help out in areas currently experiencing a nurse shortage. There are some requirements to be eligible for the repayment plan, which pays off up to 60% of student loans over two years.
You need to apply directly to the NURSE Corps repayment program and ensure that you meet all the requirements and guidelines. To start, you need to work at least 32 hours a week in one of the CSF facilities and maintain employment in that facility for two years.
If you stay on for the third year, you could get another 25% of your loan paid off through the program.
There are a few other guidelines to get enrolled in the program. To learn more about what you need to do, click here.
State Forgiveness and Repayment Options for Nurses
Depending on the state you live in, there might be additional programs that will help you pay off your student loans. The best way to find out if there are student loan forgiveness programs for nurses in your area is to contact your state education board directly.
However, here are some known state programs that assist with student loan forgiveness.
Student Loan Forgiveness: Up to $27,000 per year
Program: Arizona Loan Repayment
Student Loan Forgiveness: Up to $50,000 per year
Program: Bachelor of Science in Nursing Repayment program
Student Loan Forgiveness: Up to $11,000
Program: Colorado Health Service Corps
Student Loan Forgiveness: Up to $50,000
Program: Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program
Student Loan Forgiveness: Up to $4,000
Program: The Hawaii State Loan Repayment Program
Student Loan Forgiveness: Varies
Program: Idaho State Loan Repayment Program
Student Loan Forgiveness: Between $5,000 and $25,000 each year
Program: The Veterans’ Home Nurse Loan Repayment Program
Student Loan Forgiveness: Up to $5,000/yr for 4 years
Program: Iowa Registered Nurse & Nurse Educator Loan Forgiveness Program
Student Loan Forgiveness: Up to 20% of student loan balance
Program: The Kansas State Loan Repayment Program
Student Loan Forgiveness: Up to $20,000 over 2 years
Program: The Kentucky State Repayment Program
Student Loan Forgiveness: 50/50 Employer match
Additional up to $40,000 assistance program
Program: The Louisiana State Repayment Program
Student Loan Forgiveness: Up to $15,000/yr for 3 years
Program: Janet L. Hoffman Loan Assistance Repayment Program
Student Loan Forgiveness: Up to $10,000 (salary maximum applies)
Program: The Michigan State Loan Repayment Program
Student Loan Forgiveness: Up to $200,000 over 8 years
Program: The Minnesota Nurse Loan Forgiveness Program
Student Loan Forgiveness: $5,000-$20,000 over 4 years
Program: The Montana Institutional Nursing Incentive Program
Student Loan Forgiveness: Varies each year and pays over 4 years
Program: The Nebraska Loan Repayment Program
Student Loan Forgiveness: Up to $20,000 each year
Program: The New Hampshire State Loan Repayment Program
Student Loan Forgiveness: Up to $46k over 3 years, $20k for an additional 2 years
Program: Primary Care Practitioner Loan Redemption Program of New Jersey
Student Loan Forgiveness: Up to $120,000 over 4 years
Program: The New York State Nursing Faculty Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program
Student Loan Forgiveness: Up to $40,000
Program: Nurse Education Assistance Loan Program
Student Loan Forgiveness: Up to $1,500 per year or 100% forgiveness after 5 years working full-time
Program: Oregon Partnership State Loan Repayment
Student Loan Forgiveness: Percentage of Loan Balance over 2-4 years
Program: Pennsylvania Primary Care Loan Repayment
Student Loan Forgiveness: Up to $60k for 2 years
Program: Rhode Island Health Professional Loan Repayment
Student Loan Forgiveness: Up to $5,000 for 4 years
Program: Graduate Nursing Loan Forgiveness
Student Loan Forgiveness: Loan Forgiveness after 4 years of educating
Program: Rural Communities Health Care Investment Program
Student Loan Forgiveness: Up to $10,000
Program: Vermont’s Educational Loan Repayment Program for Nurses
Student Loan Forgiveness: $10,000 for 1-2 years
Program: The Virginia State Loan Repayment Program
Student Loan Forgiveness: $25k per year for 2 years
Additional $35k extension options
Program: Health Professional Loan Repayment Program
Student Loan Forgiveness: Up to $75k for 3 years
Program: West Virginia State Loan Repayment
Student Loan Forgiveness: Up to $40k for 2 years
Additional $25k for another 2 years
Program: Health Professions Loan Assistance Program
Student Loan Forgiveness: Up to $100k for 3 years
Program: The Wyoming State Loan Repayment Program
Student Loan Forgiveness: Up to $20k for two years
There are many student loan forgiveness programs available through state, federal, and private organizations (like for employees of hospitals and other companies). If you’re hoping to have a portion or all of your student loans forgiven, look into the programs in your immediate area to see what might work for you.
Keep in mind that eligibility can change depending on the year. Something relevant this year may not be the next. Be sure to continuously check back in with programs to determine if you’re meeting the requirements.