Student Loan Forgiveness for Nurses
The work a nurse does on a daily basis, comforting patients and delivering treatments, is absolutely vital. Without nurses, it’s safe to say that some patients simply wouldn’t have the opportunity to heal. Becoming a nurse is no easy task, though, and requires a lot of education and that education comes with a high price tag.
Given the expense of nursing school, combined with the importance of nurses, the federal government has developed student loan forgiveness programs for nurses. While not all nurses can qualify for a nurse forgiveness student loan, those that can may escape from a significant amount of debt.
There are a variety of federal loans available to students at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Nursing students may have used one or several of these loan types to finance their education, including the following options:
- Direct subsidized student loans
- Direct unsubsidized student loans
- PLUS loans
- Perkins loans
Having debt from any of these federal loans, including federal consolidation loans that originally contained one or more of these loans, can make a nurse eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. This program allows students who have made 10 years of on-time payments to forgive any balance that might still be outstanding.
Nurses may also be eligible to participate in Income-Based Repayment, which provides a 15 percent discretionary income cap on monthly payments. After 25 years of payments, the balance of the loan might be forgiven entirely. The Pay as You Earn Program might also be an option, as students who participate in this plan are provided with payments that don’t exceed 10 percent of their discretionary income, and the balance is forgiven after 20 years of on-time payments.
These programs can be helpful, but the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau suggests that of all eligible beneficiaries, very few actually enroll. That’s a shame, as nurses mired in debt might see a significant amount of relief, as well as a light at the end of the tunnel, if they do enroll and obtain student loan forgiveness for nurses.
Private Loan Forgiveness for Nurses
Some former students believe that they’re not qualified for student loan forgiveness for nurses, simply because they have loans from private sources. Students like this can struggle on a day-to-day basis, simply because they’re trying to pay back a mountain of debt on a meager salary. A nurse profiled by NPR, for example, racked up $140,000 in student loans, and she expects to pay the loans until she’s in her 50s. In reality, this nurse might qualify for private loan forgiveness for nurses.
Federal programs, such as the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program, can help registered nurses working with underserved populations. By enrolling in these programs, nurses agree to pitch in and assist with some of the most needy communities in the nation for at least two years, and in return, they’ll have 60 percent of their unpaid loans paid off in two years, with an additional 25 percent paid for an optional third year.
Some facilities also have such a need for nurses that they’re willing to wrap up loan help in an offer of employment, as long as the nurse agrees to put in a specific amount of years in service in the facility in question.
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