Student Loan Forgiveness for Nurses
Updated On January 21, 2022
Editorial Note: This content is based solely on the author's opinions and is not provided, approved, endorsed or reviewed by any financial institution or partner.
If you’re interested in student loan forgiveness for nurses, the good news is there are several options for student loan forgiveness. From public service loan forgiveness to the Nurse Corp Loan Repayment Program, this guide will help you navigate the best options for you.
Top Picks For Student Loan Refinancing
Here’s how to get student loan forgiveness for nurses:
- Public service loan forgiveness
- National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment
- Nurse Corps Loan Repayment
- Income-driven repayment plans
- Perkins Loan Cancellation
- Student loan forgiveness for nurses: state programs
- Student loan refinancing
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
If you want to get student loan forgiveness for nurses, then the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is a popular option. Created in 2007, public service loan forgiveness helps nurses and other public servants get full federal student loan forgiveness.
To qualify for public service loan forgiveness, nurses will need to work full-time for an eligible public service or non-profit employer while making 120 monthly federal student loan payments.
Learn more: Public Service Loan Forgiveness Guide
Nurses need to meet certain requirements in addition to making 120 monthly student loan payments. For example, you will need to enroll in an income-driven repayment plan. You must make at least a majority of your federal student loan payments while enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan such as IBR, PAYE, REPAYE or ICR. Once you meet the requirements for public service loan forgiveness, your remaining federal student loan balance will be forgiven.
This public service loan forgiveness calculator shows our new monthly student loan payment and how much student loan forgiveness you can get when you enroll in public service loan forgiveness.
How to apply: To get public service loan forgiveness, contact your student loan servicer or visit the U.S. Department of Education website.
National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment
The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment program provides student loan forgiveness to nurses who work for two years in a Health Professional Shortage Area.
The NHSC Loan Repayment Program is made available for both federal student loans and private student loans. In comparison to public service loan forgiveness, you don’t have to work full-time. NHSC Loan Repayment is available for both full-time and part-time nurses. That said, part-time nurses must work at least 20 hours a week for 45 weeks per year. Nurse practitioners are eligible as well.
Here’s how much student loan forgiveness nurses can get:
- Full-time nurses: You can get student loan forgiveness ranging from $30,000 to $50,000.
- Part-time nurses: You can get student loan forgiveness ranging from $15,000 to $25,000.
- How to apply: To get student loan forgiveness through NHSC Loan Repayment, nurses can apply directly on the NHSC website.
Nurse Corps Loan Repayment
Another option for student loan forgiveness for nurses is Nurse Corp Loan Repayment. The Nurse Corp Loan Repayment program pays up to 85% of unpaid student loans for nurses. This includes:
- 60% of your unpaid nursing student loans, including both private student loans and federal student loan, in exchange for two years of full-time employment in a Critical Shortage Facility or in an eligible nursing school as nurse faculty; and
- 25% of your unpaid student loan balance if you work full-time for a third year.
Nurse Corp Loan Repayment is available for licensed registered nurses (RNs), advanced practice nurse practitioners (APRNs) and nurse faculty. Under the program, you must work two years, but you also have the option to work a third year.
How to apply: To apply for the Nurse Corp Loan Repayment, submit an application on the Nurse Corp Loan Repayment website.
Income-driven repayment plans
Income-driven repayment plan are a helpful option to get student loan forgiveness for nurses. An income-driven repayment plan sets your monthly federal student loan payment based on your discretionary income and family size. Through an income-driven repayment plan, you pay a portion of your discretionary income, such as 10-20%, each month as your federal student loan payment. Make sure to update your income and family size each year because it can impact the amount of your student loan payments.
There are four income-driven repayment plans:
- Income-Based Repayment (IBR)
- Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
- Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE)
- Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR)
Nurses can get student loan forgiveness through an income-driven repayment plan after 20 years of monthly student loan payments for an undergraduate degree, while a graduate degree will take 25 years of monthly student loan payments to get student loan forgiveness.
How to apply: To apply for an income-driven repayment plan, contact your student loan servicer.
Perkins Loan Cancellation
Perkins Loan Cancellation is another way to get student loan forgiveness for nurses. Perkins Loans were federal student loans for student loan borrowers in financial need that were disbursed as part of a federal program that ended in 2018. Through Perkins Loan Cancellation, eligible nurses who still have Perkins Loans can get total Perkins Loan Cancellation.
Through Perkins Loan Cancellation, nurses can have their student loans cancelled over five years. While working full-time as a nurse, you can also defer making student loan payments on your Perkins Loans. This means that you won’t have to make payments on your Perkins Loans during the deferment period and potentially can get more student loan forgiveness.
How to apply: Since Perkins Loans were disbursed by colleges and universities, you can apply for Perkins Loans cancellation directly through your school.
Student loan forgiveness for nurses: state programs
Most student loan forgiveness for nurses is through federal programs, meaning they are offered through the federal government, including the U.S. Department of Education. Nurses can also explore options for student loan forgiveness through state governments.
Some states may offer student loan forgiveness for nurses if you commit to work in an under-served area in public service, for a non-profit or as nurse faculty for a minimum period of time such as two years.
How to apply: you can check with your state to determine if there are opportunities to get student loan forgiveness for nurses.
Student loan refinancing
An alternative to student loan forgiveness for nurses, or if you don’t qualify for student loan forgiveness, is student loan refinancing.
Student loan refinancing is the process of combining your current student loans into a new private student loan with a lower rate. The goal of student loan refinancing is to save money by getting a lower interest rate, a lower monthly payment or both.
Learn more: Student Loan Refinancing Guide
Nurses can qualify for student loan refinancing with a minimum 650 credit score, steady monthly income and a low debt-to-income ratio. You can choose a fixed interest rate or variable interest rate as well as a student loan repayment term between 5 and 20 years.
This student loan refinancing calculator shows you how much money you can save when you refinance student loans.
For example, let’s assume that you have $70,000 of student loans from nursing school at a 7% interest rate and a 10-year repayment term. Let’s assume you refinance student loans at a 3% interest rate and a 10-year repayment term. You would save $137 each month and $16,420 overall on your nursing student loans.
How to apply: Compare the latest rates for student loan refinancing and apply with each lender.
Here are some helpful resources for student loan refinancing: