Nearly 70% of medical school graduates have student loan debt. Many nurses and other medical professionals have monthly student loan payments as well. If you’re a healthcare worker who has federal loans, you may be able to qualify for loan forgiveness.
There are special repayment assistance options available for professionals in the medical field. In this article, we cover the top loan repayment forgiveness options for these workers, and provide more information about bringing down and reducing your monthly payments by seeking out student loan repayment assistance.
Let’s get started.
What are Federal Student Loans for Healthcare Workers?
Federal student loans for healthcare workers include Federal Perkins Loans, Pell Grants, and Direct Loans, among others. These loans originate from the federal government and are designed to make higher education accessible for healthcare professionals who wish to attend a health professions school.
There isn’t a difference in the loans that are available for health professionals like nurse practitioners and doctors. The same federal loans that are available to the general public are available for these workers as well.
How Does Student Loan Forgiveness for Healthcare Workers Work?
There are many different types of student loan help available for healthcare professionals who are willing to work in underserved areas and specialties.
For this type of loan assistance, the professional needs to spend a certain amount of time working in the under-served practice area or region. Then, once they’ve reached the specified time period, they can apply to have their loans forgiven or a portion of their loan balance reduced.
But these workers can also access the same student loan forgiveness options that other college graduates have available to them. For example, you can enter into a loan repayment program based on income and have your debt wiped clean after 20-25 years. There’s also public service loan forgiveness available for healthcare professionals who work in public service for at least 10 years.
How Could Healthcare Workers Apply for Student Loan Debt Forgiveness?
Applying for student loan forgiveness requires first having an understanding of the student loan forgiveness programs that you want to take advantage of. Once you know that, you can navigate to the organization’s website and apply for forgiveness there.
For example, the public service loan forgiveness application is available through the federal student aid website. But if you’re entering into a loan repayment program designed specifically for a certain kind of healthcare worker, you may need to visit that organization’s website.
Some loan repayment program options require you to apply well in advance of when your student debt can be forgiven. While others provide student loan forgiveness with an immediate loan forgiveness process.
We cover the different types of loan assistance options for healthcare workers in a later section. Review these, select the one that works best for you, and then look up the application requirements for it online.
Which Kind of Healthcare Workers are Eligible for Student Loan Forgiveness?
All healthcare professionals are eligible to receive loan assistance in one form or another. This is because all individuals with c debt are eligible for income-driven repayment forgiveness and public service forgiveness.
However, there are certain types of student loan forgiveness that are only available to doctors, certified nurse midwives, advanced practice nurses, and graduates of an eligible nursing school. There’s also the Frontline Health Workers Act designed for nurse practitioners, doctors, and other healthcare professionals who work on the front lines of major events.
The bottom line is that all medical with federal loans are eligible for at least the standard loan cancellation options. But some workers will have more types of loan repayment assistance available to them as well.
Best Loan Forgiveness Programs for Healthcare Workers
So now that we’ve covered some basic loan forgiveness information let’s take a look at some of the specific options available for healthcare workers. Here are six that you may want to look into if you have a student loan and work in this industry.
National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Programs
The first option you may have is run by The National Health Service Corps. They have three different forgiveness options for workers in health professional shortage areas.
The first is the NHSC Loan Repayment Program. This provides loan repayment assistance for professionals who work for at least 2-3 years in an area with a healthcare worker shortage. Professionals can receive up to $50,000 in assistance and potentially more if they spend longer working in the underserved community.
There’s also the NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program. This program provides repayment assistance for medical workers who work at an NHSC-approved substance abuse disorder treatment site in an underserved area. You can have up to $75,000 in loans forgiven over three years.
The final option under this category is the NHSC Rural Community Loan Repayment Program. It
Provides up to $100,000 in forgiveness for healthcare workers who spend at least three years treating substance abuse and opioid addiction treatment in an underserved area.
As you consider these loan repayment programs, keep in mind that you can only apply for one at a time, even if your monthly payments are eligible for each type of loan forgiveness.
NHSC Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program
The next option on our list is the NHSC Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program. The Corps Loan Repayment Program can pay off up to 85% of outstanding nursing school debt for nurse practitioners and psychiatric nurse specialists.
Qualifying payments are only available for workers in critical shortage facilities who have graduated from an accredited nursing school.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Loan Repayment Programs
There are also student loan forgiveness options for clinical researchers in the medical field who work on biomedical and biobehavioral research topics. These professionals can receive up to $50,000 in loan balance forgiveness.
To qualify, you have to have a doctoral degree, and your student loan debt has to equal or exceed 20% of your annual salary. Additionally, you must either work for an NIH lab or for an external servicer who conducts research that the NIH deems “critical”.
Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program
Next on our list is the Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program. This provides up to $40,000 in loan balance cancellation for healthcare workers who are employed by clinics focused on serving native populations.
Many different healthcare professionals can qualify for this program, including an advanced practice registered nurse, psychiatric worker, and doctor seeking loan assistance with the federal government as the loan servicer.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Epidemic Intelligence Service Program
You can also try to qualify for a two-year postgraduate fellowship from the CDC. One of the benefits of this program is up to $50,000 per year in student loan repayment assistance. But you have to be working for the CDC on either disease outbreaks, natural disasters, or other public health issues to qualify.
Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation
There are also ways that you can qualify for Perkins loan cancellation for your federal direct loans. The repayment plan that you choose can impact this.
For example, there’s an income-based repayment option that’s available to everyone with eligible loans. This offers Federal Perkins Loan cancellation after you complete the loan repayment plans in question and satisfy other financial and professional regulation requirements. Income-driven repayment plans and graduated repayment plans typically take 20-25 years to get loans canceled.
Frontline healthcare workers and others can also make 120 qualifying payments while working in a public service job. This public service loan forgiveness program and repayment plan is not only available for healthcare workers, but it could be the best option for you if you participated in a direct loan program or direct consultation loans and work in a public service setting.
In addition to an income-driven repayment plan and public service loan forgiveness program, there may be other ways to get student loans like Perkins Loans canceled as well. This include:
- School closure
- Bankruptcy (only in some situations)
- Total and permanent disability
Whether you have direct consolidation loans or private student loans, there’s likely a repayment plan available to help with your payments.
Whether that means pursuing a graduated repayment plan or applying for a special faculty loan repayment program for your direct consolidation loan, there’s likely a good loan forgiveness program available that meets your needs.
We hope this guide helps you find the best option for your situation, and we wish you the best of luck with both your public and private loans moving forward.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What kinds of loan forgiveness options are available for healthcare workers?
Healthcare workers have many loan forgiveness options available for them to choose from, including public service loan forgiveness, income-driven repayment forgiveness, and special kinds of loan forgiveness available to healthcare workers in underserved communities.
Which healthcare workers are eligible for student loan forgiveness?
Which healthcare workers are eligible for student loan forgiveness?
How long does student loan forgiveness take for healthcare workers?
This depends on the program that the healthcare worker decides to pursue. Some types of loan forgiveness may begin taking effect within the first 1-2 years of work. Others, like public service loan forgiveness and income-driven plans, can take 10 years or longer to reach the point of loan forgiveness.
Can healthcare workers participate in more than one loan forgiveness program at once?
This depends on the two plans in question. A healthcare worker may be eligible for loan forgiveness through both their employer and the federal government. But there are also some restrictions, so it’s important to research the two specific kinds of forgiveness you’re interested in applying for.
Are all student loans taken out by healthcare workers eligible for forgiveness?
No, if you have private student loans that were taken out through an organization that’s not the federal government, then these typically won’t qualify for the majority of loan forgiveness programs for healthcare workers.
Student Loan Forgiveness Under IDR Account Adjustment
According to the Education Department, borrowers who receive enough credit to reach or surpass the 20- or 25-years of credit needed for student loan forgiveness “will begin to see their loans forgiven in spring 2023.”
Student Loan Forgiveness Programs for Healthcare Workers
When the relief period is over and they have made 120 qualifying payments, healthcare workers may qualify for Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).
June 30, 2023
Student loan debt relief has been on pause and under review of the Supreme Court since Nov. 2022. If the program is approved or a decision isn't made by the Supreme Court before June 30, 2023, then payments will resume to those who are entitled to them 60 days after that.
As long as borrowers received at least one Pell grant, they are eligible. The Biden administration has said that eligible borrowers who have received Pell grants will automatically receive the additional debt relief.How to confirm if you qualify for student loan forgiveness? ›
The income limits are based on your adjusted gross income (AGI) in either the 2020 or 2021 tax year. People who earned less than $125,000 annually (or $250,000 if filing taxes jointly) are eligible. If you qualify in either of those years, you can get forgiveness.Has the Supreme Court made a decision on student loan forgiveness? ›
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed a roughly $6 billion legal settlement to go forward that will cancel student loans for hundreds of thousands of borrowers who say they were misled by their schools.Who is no longer eligible for student loan forgiveness? ›
What student loans are not eligible for forgiveness? Private student loans, by definition, are private and are not eligible to be forgiven. These are loans the borrower owes to student loan providers and not the federal government.Are nurses student loans going to be forgiven? ›
After the 120-month repayment period, the federal government will forgive any remaining loan balances. The forgiven balance will not be taxed. Eligible nurses who have both federal and private loans can have their federal loans forgiven through PSLF, but not their private loans.Are nurses included in student loan forgiveness? ›
Do nurses qualify for the PSLF waiver? Yes — though you'll need to meet several requirements in order to be eligible, which could make obtaining debt forgiveness challenging: You'll need to work in the public sector. You'll need to work full time and make at least 120 student loan payments.Who are qualifying employers for student loan forgiveness? ›
Only U.S. federal, state, local, and tribal government organizations, agencies, or entities are qualifying employers for purposes of PSLF.
A refund check is money that is directly deposited to you by your college. It is the excess money left over from your financial aid award after your tuition and additional fees have been paid. Your college may send you a check or the money may be deposited into your checking account.Do I have to fill out an application for student loan forgiveness? ›
After you make your 120th qualifying monthly payment for PSLF, you'll need to submit the PSLF form to receive loan forgiveness. You must be working for a qualifying employer at the time you submit the PSLF form and at the time the remaining balance on your loan is forgiven.Will I be able to have my student loans forgiven? ›
You may be eligible for discharge of your federal student loans based on borrower defense to repayment if you took out the loans to attend a school and the school did something or failed to do something related to your loan or to the educational services that the loan was intended to pay for.Do I qualify for Biden's student loan forgiveness if I am still in school? ›
The federal student loan relief plan announced on Aug. 24, 2022, by the Biden administration won't just apply to former students with college loan debt — if it is enacted at all. Loan forgiveness may also become available to students who are still in school.Does Biden student loan forgiveness include private loans? ›
Biden's three-part student debt relief plan also focuses entirely on tackling federal student debt. Because private student loans are managed by private companies, they are exempt from the debt relief plans and proposals currently in place.What tax year is student loan forgiveness based on? ›
Background: Student Loan Forgiveness Can Be Taxable
The form is issued during tax season for the prior year when the cancellation event occurred. So if you had a debt forgiven in 2022, you might receive a Form 1099-C in early 2023.
If you apply for student loan forgiveness and your application is rejected, the U.S. Department of Education will typically notify you of its decision and explain what made you ineligible for debt relief.How long does it take to verify student loan forgiveness? ›
Forgiveness may come within weeks
The Education Department says that after a borrower applies for forgiveness, they will get the relief within six weeks.
The Education Department recommends submitting your application by Nov. 15 to receive forgiveness before student loan payments resume in January. Once you submit your application, you can expect relief within 4-6 weeks if approved.What is the latest update on student loan forgiveness? ›
The Supreme Court has denied a request to delay student loan debt relief under a landmark settlement agreement that will provide billions of dollars in student loan forgiveness. The ruling hands borrowers a victory, and gives the Biden administration a green light to continue implementing relief under the agreement.
How to apply for student loan forgiveness. The application to apply for student loan forgiveness is short and straightforward. In order to apply, first go to the official application: Studentaid.gov/debt-relief/application.Why do I not qualify for loan forgiveness? ›
The loan payments must have been made on time, within 15 days of the due date. Late payments do not count. Partial payments do not count. The borrower must not be in default on their federal loans.How do I know if my student loan is federal or private? ›
1. Check the top of your federal loan promissory notes, applications, and billing statements, as these state the name of the federal loan program at the top of the document. Federal loan programs include the William D.Why are people being denied student loan forgiveness? ›
The Biggest PSLF Errors That Cause Loan Forgiveness Denial
Failing to submit your Employment Certification Form (ECF) each year. Making mistakes on your ECF. Not consolidating your ineligible loans. Not being in an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan.
To be eligible, your annual income must have fallen below $125,000 for individuals or $250,000 for married couples or heads of households. If you received a Pell Grant in college and meet the income threshold, you will be eligible for up to $20,000 in debt cancellation.Will hospitals pay off student loans? ›
National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program
The Health Resources and Services Administration offers a student loan repayment program (among other assistance programs) to eligible health care professionals. To qualify for forgiveness, you'll need to be licensed and work in an eligible discipline.
“Our public servants work day in and day out on behalf of the people of California as our nurses, teachers, first responders, state workers, and more.How to get rid of student loans for nurses? ›
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program offers student loan forgiveness for nurses who are working full time for a government or nonprofit organization by paying off the remainder of their loans after the first 120 payments.What is the average student loan debt for nurses? ›
Nursing Student Loan Debt for BSNs
The average cost of a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) is between $8,000 and $55,000. The average student loan debt for a BSN is $23,711.
Experts expect students who graduated in 2021 to pay off their student loans between 8-19 years while paying $669 per month. Ultimately, how long it takes to pay off nursing school loans depends on the amount of money borrowed, the interest rate, and repayment habits.
Jobs with federal, state, local or tribal government organizations, public child or family service agencies, 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, or tribal colleges or universities should be considered “public service jobs.” Government employers include the military and public schools and colleges.Do all hospitals qualify for PSLF? ›
While this means private hospitals aren't an eligible workplace for PSLF, nonprofit and government-owned hospitals with a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status are. Luckily, the majority of hospitals fall under this category.What is the student loan interest deduction for 2023? ›
The largest amount you can claim for a student loan interest deductible is $2,500 for 2023, but that is limited by your income eligibility. You may have paid more interest than that during the year, but that is the limit of your claim.Will student loan forgiveness be retroactive? ›
Some borrowers will receive sufficient retroactive credit under the IDR account adjustment to allow them to cross the threshold for student loan forgiveness, which occurs after a borrower has made 20 or 25 years' worth of payments.When can I apply for the refund advance for 2023? ›
Apply between Jan. 3, 2023 and Feb. 28, 2023. If approved, a loan will be issued in one of five amounts ($250, $500, $750, $1,250, $3,500).What happens if you don't apply for forgiveness? ›
If you do not submit your PPP forgiveness application and the prescribed period of time passes, you will be required to begin repaying the loan — plus interest.How do I know if I received a Pell Grant? ›
Federal Pell Grants typically are awarded to undergraduate students with low or moderate income. Most borrowers can log in to StudentAid.gov to see if they received a Pell Grant. We display information about the aid you received, including Pell Grants, on your account Dashboard and your My Aid page.How long do you have to apply for Biden student loan forgiveness? ›
If you opt out now and later determine that you would like to receive one-time debt relief, you may still submit an application by Dec. 31, 2023.How to know if i qualify for Biden student loan forgiveness? ›
Eligibility for Biden's Student Loan Cancellation Plan
You must earn less than $125,000 a year for individuals, or $250,000 for married couples and/or head of households.
Second, high-income borrowers are generally excluded from receiving debt forgiveness. Individual borrowers who make less than $125,000 a year and married couples or heads of households who make less than $250,000 annually could see up to $10,000 of their federal student loan debt forgiven.
Are private education loans eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)? No. Private education loans aren't eligible for PSLF and can't be consolidated into a Direct Consolidation Loan.Will the IRS take my refund for student loans 2023? ›
The relief currently lasts through June 30, 2023, whether or not the Supreme Court decides the student loan debt relief program. This means that your tax return won't be taken to offset your outstanding federal student loan balance for the 2023 tax season.How do I know if my student loans are forgiven? ›
If you qualify for student loan forgiveness or discharge in full, you will get a notification and will no longer need to make payments. In some cases, you may even get a refund. If only some of your debt is canceled or discharged, you'll still be responsible for repaying the rest of what you owe.What are the requirements for student loan forgiveness? ›
- an in-school status,
- the grace period,
- a deferment, or.
- a forbearance.
Debt Relief Is Applied To Your Loans
If you have been approved for debt relief, it will be applied directly to your account by your loan servicer. It's important to be patient, because it may take some time for your account to update and reflect the debt relief adjustments.
When you submit a Student Loan Debt Relief application, you will receive an email confirmation. Keep in mind you will not be able to see the status of your application through your StudentAid.gov account. Once the application has been submitted, it will be reviewed to confirm you're eligible for debt relief.How long after submitting application for loan forgiveness? ›
The Federal Student Aid website says, however, that relief can be expected within four to six weeks of completing the application; the website also advises to apply before Nov. 15, 2022, in order to see your loans forgiven by the end of this year. Some qualified borrowers, however, may see their forgiveness sooner.Has anyone received approval for student loan forgiveness? ›
White House approves 16 million people for contested student loan forgiveness plan. Whether they see relief depends on Supreme Court decision. The Biden administration has approved more than 16 million people for student loan forgiveness, but whether they see the relief will depend on the Supreme Court's decision.Which years qualify for student loan forgiveness? ›
After making payments for 20 or 25 years, any remaining balance can be forgiven. Not all types of federal loans are eligible for every plan.What years apply for student loan forgiveness? ›
The balance of your Direct Loans can be forgiven after 20 years if your loans were for undergraduate study, or 25 years if you have graduate school loans.
New orders are being issued for loans that are not forgiven and that fall back into default. As a result, employers may not receive new federal student loan garnishment orders until later in 2023 or in 2024.What year will they use for student loan forgiveness? ›
These borrowers “will begin to see their loans forgiven [starting] in November 2022.” All other borrowers will see the benefits of the adjustment in July 2023. Direct loan borrowers may receive the benefits of the IDR Account Adjustment automatically.What happens if you don't pay off student loans in 25 years? ›
Any outstanding balance on your loan will be forgiven if you haven't repaid your loan in full after 20 years or 25 years, depending on when you received your first loans. You may have to pay income tax on any amount that is forgiven.Do old student loans qualify for forgiveness? ›
The answer: Yes! However, there are very specific eligibility requirements you must meet to qualify for loan forgiveness or receive help with repayment. Loan forgiveness means you don't have to pay back some or all of your loan.Who qualifies for $20,000 student loan forgiveness? ›
$10,000 or $20,000 in Student Loan Forgiveness
For both levels of loan forgiveness, borrowers must earn less than $125,000 per year in income, or $250,000 per year if they are married.
Will my student loans be forgiven? All federally owned student loans are eligible for forgiveness. If you have Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, Direct Consolidation Loans or FFEL Loans owned by the U.S. Department of Education, they're all included in the forgiveness plan.What is the average student debt 2023? ›
Average student loan debt
In a January 2023 report, their analysis showed that the average debt per borrower was over $37,000 for federal student loans and nearly $55,000 for private loans.
That being said, the statute of limitations on private student loans ranges from three to 10 years, but on average, it's six years. Keep in mind that, even if the statute of limitations on your student loans has passed, lenders and collectors can still contact you about paying off the debt.When was the last day to apply for student loan forgiveness? ›
Is there a deadline to apply? Borrowers have until Dec. 31, 2023, to apply for the forgiveness program.Will IRS take refund for student loans 2023? ›
The relief currently lasts through June 30, 2023, whether or not the Supreme Court decides the student loan debt relief program. This means that your tax return won't be taken to offset your outstanding federal student loan balance for the 2023 tax season.
Frequently Asked Questions About Student Loan Forgiveness
In August 2022, President Biden announced a plan to forgive student loan debt for close to 39 million borrowers. Pell Grant recipients would be eligible for up to $20,000 in student loan forgiveness. Other qualifying borrowers would get up to $10,000 forgiven.