Many nurses use loan forgiveness as their primary strategy for paying off their loans. A 2017 survey from the American Association of College Nursing reported that 57 percent of nursing students said they planned to use the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program to pay off their student debt. While the PSLF is one of the most popular paths nurses take to pay off their student loans, there are other advantageous programs nurses can leverage to repay their student loans.
If you are a nurse in Arizona wondering what your options are for repaying your student loans, it could be helpful to consult with a skilled student loan lawyer who can explain your options. The best program for you will depend on the type of loans you have and where you want or plan to work. Here are several loan programs nurses can use to repay their student loans in Arizona.
What to Know about Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness
The PSLF program is only eligible for individuals with federal loans and offers tax-free forgiveness of your federal loans once you make 120 qualifying payments while working for an eligible employer. It’s important to note that your employer is what qualifies you to be eligible for forgiveness from the PSLF.
This means that the kind of nurse you are does not affect your eligibility for the PSLF. Whether you are a nurse practitioner or registered nurse (RN), you won’t qualify for the PSLF unless you work for an eligible employer. Qualifying employers usually include government jobs or eligible non-profits.
In order to make the most of the PSLF, nurses should enroll in an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan, which will cap monthly payments at a percentage of their income while extending the payment period to 20–25 years.
The Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program
If you are a nurse with private student loans, the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program may be a great repayment path to pursue. This program offers repayment of your loans of up to 60% in exchange for two years of full-time employment. If you work a third year, you may be eligible to receive an additional 25% of your balance paid off.
Through this program, you can pay off your debt faster than the PSLF. However, you will have to pay taxes on any money you receive from the program, and you are only eligible if you are an RN or advanced RN. Additionally, you must be working in a qualifying hospital, which usually qualifies due to a critical nursing shortage.
The National Health Service Corps Program
The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Program mimics a similar structure to the Nurse Corps repayment program. The National Health Service Corps offers three different loan repayment plans:
- The NHSC loan repayment program. This program offers forgiveness in the form of loan payments between $50,000 (for full-time nurses) and $25,000 (for part-time nurses) in exchange for two years of employment at an NHSC-approved site.
- The NHSC SUD. This is a substance abuse–specific loan repayment program that recruits health professionals needed in underserved areas to expand SUD treatment. This program offers forgiveness in the form of loan payments between $75,000 (for full-time nurses) and $37,500 (for part-time nurses) in exchange for three years of work. Nurses must work at NHSC-approved SUD sites.
- The NHSC rural community loan repayment program. This program recruits nurses to provide care in rural communities to combat the opioid epidemic. This program offers forgiveness in the form of payments between $100,000 (for full-time nurses) and $50,000 (for part-time nurses) in exchange for three years of work. Nurses must work at rural NHSC-approved sites.
It’s important to note that you cannot take advantage of forgiveness from any NHSC loan repayment program and Nurse Corps program at the same time. You cannot use both the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program and the NHSC Loan Repayment Program at the same time. A great advantage of programs offered by the NHSC is that they are tax-free.
Options for Nurses With Perkins Loans
Perkins loans are low-interest federal loans for students who have exceptional financial needs. Unfortunately, the government no longer offers these loans. However, if you are a nurse who has Perkins loans, there are still ways to take advantage of the forgiveness these loans provide.
Despite their discontinuation, Perkins loans can still be forgiven in tax-free increments over a five-year period. In order to take advantage of this, you will need to defer your loans while working full-time as a nurse. The incremental forgiveness on these loans usually means that when the deferment period is over, you’ll have nothing left to repay.
Consult a Skilled Student Loan Lawyer
If you are a nurse struggling to figure out the best strategy for paying off your student loans, learn about the various programs you can take advantage of. Working with a skilled student loan lawyer is a great way to understand all your options and pick the best repayment plan for your situation.
At McCarthy Law, our attorneys are dedicated to helping students navigate the complexities of the student loan system. Under our student loan debt settlement program, our licensed attorneys negotiate with lenders to ensure our clients pay only a fraction of their original loan balance. To schedule a consultation with one of our skilled student loan settlement attorneys, call (855) 976-5777 or fill out our online contact form.