3 Ways Nurse Practitioners Can Deal with Student Loan Debt

3 Ways Nurse Practitioners  Can Deal with Student Loan Debt

There has been a lot of attention in the media about student loan debt and the affect on the economy. While policy makers develop solutions for the unfolding student loan debt drama, students are still responsible for repaying their loans. Nurse Practitioners may have more student loan debt than average due to the additional time, education, and training that is required beyond a four year nursing degree. Determine if these student loan debt payment options are applicable to your situation:

1. Employer Based Loan Repayment

Some healthcare organizations have assistance programs to help their employees repay their student loans. Some programs only pay for tuition as an employee progresses through their program and won’t assist in loan repayment. Many employer based programs have strict rules such as application deadlines, and will only cover certain programs or schools. Additionally, some organizations require a time commitment in return for loan or tuition assistance that is subject to repayment or legal action if that commitment is not fulfilled. Know the rules of the program and be cautious in evaluating those terms before accepting assistance.

2. NURSE Corps Loan Prepayment Program

Registered Nurses and Advanced Practice Nurses working at certain critical shortage facilities may be eligible to receive a large portion of their nursing loan balance repaid for a two year commitment at an

approved place of work. A third year of commitment may also be possible for an additional balance. The full loan repayment is taxable. Here are just a few types of places included on the Critical Shortage Facilities list:

  • Public Hospitals

  • Health and Human Services Departments

  • Rural Health Clinics

  • Nursing Homes

  • Skilled Nursing Facilities

  • Many More (see complete list)

3. National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment

Primary Care Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse Midwives, and Psychiatric Nurse Specialists may be eligible for assistance if working at a NHSC approved facility. There are two levels of funding depending upon the facility worked at. It is potentially possible for some people to be eligible to receive all their loans repaid. This would be determined by the time served and what type of facility you obtained a job at. This loan repayment award is not taxable. This loan repayment program may offer different types of facilities than listed on the NURSE Corps approved sites list. Here are a few types of facilities that may be a NHSC approved facility:

  • Critical Access Hospitals

  • Free Clinics

  • Health Departments

  • School Based Health Programs

  • State or Federal Correctional Facilities

Be sure and compare both programs for differences, rules, regulations,  shopbust  and requirements as they apply to your personal situation. Additionally, as with any of these types of programs, understand there are serious potential legal consequences if you fail to meet your commitment. When initially applying to a program, make sure all paperwork is thoroughly completed and all the requested documents are submitted. From a logistical standpoint, incomplete applications would be a great starting point in reducing applications when there are more applicants than available spots. Lastly, if you don’t get accepted this year, be sure and try again next year.

Have you been accepted into one of these programs? Do you have words of wisdom for other potential applicants? Leave your comments below.


Erica MacDonald

Erica RN, BSN, MSN's nursing clinical experience has been in neonatal intensive care (NICU) and Labor & Delivery. She currently works as a nurse educator and nurse writer. In her writing business, she saves educators and businesses time while supporting their mission.

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