Forgiveness Program

Nurse Loan Forgiveness

The health profession is predicted to grow rapidly over the next two decades as the Baby Boomer generation reaches retirement age. With the largest population group in the US in greater need of health care services, there will be an increased need for doctors, nurses and all types of health professionals. It is no wonder that the nursing profession has enjoyed a huge increase in the number of students seeking to become Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses and the like.

However, many of these same students face large tuition bills from their respective colleges, universities and technical schools, which in most cases require loans to help them pay for their education. In these cases, nurses fresh on the job market are saddled with large student loans that they have to pay off, meaning a lower standard of living and a large debt hanging over their heads for years to come. There are ways however, of gaining nurse loan forgiveness to allow these students to have part or sometimes all of their loans removed rather than paying them off with their salaries. A student considering the nursing profession may want to look into the nurse’s loan forgiveness programs and see if this is the best way to handle their potential debt.

NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program puts registered nurses (including advanced practice nurses and nursing faculty) on a rewarding career path while paying off 60 percent of their unpaid nursing student loans in just 2 years – and an additional 25 percent of the original balance for an optional third year.

In return, NURSE Corps members fulfilling a service obligation at any one of thousands of nonprofit hospitals, clinics and other facilities located in designated primary medical care or mental health Health Professional Shortage Areas across the U.S.

NURSE Corps members enjoy the same the competitive pay and benefits negotiated with their employer as non-members.

To be eligible to apply, you must be a licensed registered nurse (nurse practitioners and other advanced practice nurses are encouraged to apply) or nurse faculty, have completed your training (diploma, associate, baccalaureate or graduate), and be employed full time (at least 32 hours per week) at an eligible critical shortage facility.

You must be a U.S. citizen (born or naturalized) or National and Lawful Permanent Resident and your education must be from an accredited school of nursing located in a U.S. State.

Funding preference is based on your financial need and the facility where you work.
Nurse Corps members work at many different types of Critical Shortage Facilities.

For nurse faculty, any accredited public or private not-for-profit school of nursing located in a U.S. State is a Critical Shortage Facility and an eligible place of employment for Nurse Corps members. Applicants working at schools where at least half of enrolled students come from disadvantaged backgrounds receive funding preference.

For all other registered nurses, including advanced practice nurses, any public or private not-for-profit private organization located in a designated primary medical care or mental health Health Professional Shortage Area that is one of the following types is a Critical Shortage Facility (facilities marked with * receive funding preference) and an eligible place of employment for Nurse Corps members:

  • Federally Qualified Health Center*, Indian Health Service Health Center*, Native Hawaiian Health Center*, Rural Health Clinic*, Public Health Clinic*
  • Any public* or private nonprofit acute care or rehabilitation hospital, including Disproportionate Share Hospitals* and Critical Access Hospitals*
Inpatient Nursing Facilities
  • Skilled nursing facility*, nursing home
Outpatient Facilities
  • Ambulatory surgical center
Service Providers
  • Home health agency, hospice, State or local public health or human services department*

Before You Apply

Applications are accepted once each year. Before you apply, please read the Application and Program Guidance (PDF - 33 pages) (updated annually) carefully.

The application includes a contract that obligates you to serve 2 years at the critical shortage facility listed in your application if you are selected to participate in the program. If you are selected and you do not fulfill that obligation, you will face serious financial consequences.

Volunteer work (PSLF)

Peace Corps is an American volunteer program run by the United States Government offering working for twenty-seven months period on work related to international development, such as education, business, information technology, agriculture, and the environment. If you travel with the Peace Corps, you will get to defer most of your student loans until after you leave the program, may get some of your loans reduced by as much as 70%.

Volunteers in Service to America. VISTA is a national service program created in 1965 and incorporated into AmeriCorps in 1993. It aims to fight poverty, homelessness, and illiteracy in the United States. You will get $4,725 to pay off your loans if you join in on their cause for at least 1,700 hours

Find out if the loan forgiveness is taxable.