Nursing school graduates have many opportunities to get student loan forgiveness based on their employment as nurses, particularly if they work in high-need areas.
That often means it’s best to start out by getting federal student loans, which can be discharged tax-free after 120 monthly payments via Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Nurses qualify for PSLF if they work full-time for nonprofit organizations or government agencies. PSLF is typically the most generous forgiveness program to participate in, since you won’t pay income taxes upon forgiveness and there’s no cap on the amount that can be forgiven.
But if you need to borrow more money than you’ll receive from federal loan programs, there are some ways nurses can get private loans forgiven. For example, the federal Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program will help nurses repay up to 85% of their loan balance (either federal or private) over three years while working in underserved communities. Many states also offer nursing loan repayment programs that private loan borrowers can qualify for.
Finally, the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) offers several school-based loan and scholarship programs that nursing students can qualify for. Depending on your income, you may be able to receive a government-funded Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students or a Nursing Student Loan. Your school must participate in these programs for you to be eligible. Check with your school’s financial aid office or the HRSA representatives for more information.
Between these programs and your federal loan options, it’s best to limit private loan borrowing, especially if you’re not planning to work in a high-need community and your private loans can’t be discharged through a forgiveness program.