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Student Loan Forgiveness for Nurses

What’s new in Nursing student loan forgiveness programs for 2016. Not much, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!

Student loan forgiveness programs for nurses do remain widely available via a series of Federal and State-based financial assistance programs, even though budgets have been cut elsewhere, making this one of the last vestiges of incredible forgiveness benefits for people suffering under excessive student loans.

No matter where you live in the United States, as a nurse, you are virtually guaranteed to have access to at least some form of student loan relief, whether that comes through the federally-funded nursing loan repayment program, or a state-funded nursing loan forgiveness program.

Benefits available to any specific nurse are determined by the area in which they live, their actual position (RN vs. Nurse Practitioner, etc.), and their level of education.

As a nurse, you are virtually guaranteed to have access to some form of debt forgiveness in 2016, so make sure that you read this article in its entirety before giving up!

Federal Loan Forgiveness for Nurses

In 2016, there are three major federally-funded programs currently offering nursing loan forgiveness benefits. These programs include:

  1. The NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program (NHSC)
  2. Perkins Loan Discharge or Loan Cancellation for Nurses
  3. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

Here’s a basic introduction to how each of these programs work (for additional details, check out the individual program pages linked below):

The NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program

Abbreviated the NHSC Program, and previously referred to as the Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program (NELRP), this program was created to help finance education costs for Registered Nurses (RN’s) who work in underserved hospitals and clinics.

What Is the Official Definition of “Underserved”?

It means that the Federal Government is willing to pay RN’s to work in poor urban or rural communities in need of additional nurses (typically because most nurses simply don’t want to work there).

This program is similar to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, in that it pays well-trained Americans to go to work in a bad area (where most people would not want to work).

But this program is no joke, in fact, the benefits are so substantial that it’s become extremely competitive, requiring applications and a selection process to receive approval for benefits.

How Do You Qualify for the Benefit?

  • For 2 years of nursing service at a qualifying facility, the Federal Government will pay off 60% of your qualifying nursing loans
  • For 1 additional year of nursing service, the Federal Government will pay off another 25% of your original loan balance

That makes this far and away the most valuable nursing loan repayment program around, so be sure to get your applications in early, because the application season only runs for three months (from January to March).

For additional details, please visit our page about the NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program.

Perkins Loan Cancellation for Nurses & Medical Technicians

Since it’s more widely known as the “Teacher Loan Cancellation Program“, many people don’t realize that Federal Perkins Loans can also be discharged by Nurses and Licensed Medical Technicians!

There’s only one downside to the Perkins Loan Cancellation Program – there aren’t too many people with Perkins loans in the first place!.

However, if you’re one of the lucky few that took out a Perkins loans, and works as a Nurse, or Licensed Medical Technician, then you should definitely take advantage of this program!

If you qualify for Perkins loan forgiveness benefits, then you’ll be eligible to have your entire Perkins loan discharged after serving in your field for just five years!

But better yet – this is one of the only loan forgiveness programs that offers incremental forgiveness, meaning that you’ll get some portion of your student loan debt forgiven for each individual year of service.

For additional details, please visit our page about Perkins Loan Cancellation for Nurses and Licensed Medical Technicians.

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

Ever since the introduction of President Obama’s new Student Loan Forgiveness Program, the PSLF program has been in a bit of a flux.

Initially, the PSLF program got significantly better, with a lower minimum number of years that had to be served before you could qualify for forgiveness benefits, but more recently, it’s gotten worse, with a cap on how much loan forgiveness you’re able to qualify for.

No one is sure what the actual benefits will end up looking like in late 2014, because that depends on whether or not the Obama Administration’s proposed 2015 Fiscal Year Budget is approved by Congress without any modifications, but here’s how the program currently works:

  • The program is available to anyone working a full-time position in public service jobs (health care, federal and state employees, education, etc.)
  • Once you’ve made 120 monthly payments toward your Direct Loans, you’ll receive total forgiveness for whatever balance remains due

As it stands now, there’s still no limit to how much loan forgiveness you can qualify for, meaning that even if you’ve still got $100,000 in student loan debt after you’ve made those 120 monthly payments, you’ll have it all forgiven.

To get the latest details on these potential changes, and to find how to qualify for and use PSLF benefits, please visit out page about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

State-Funded Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness

As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, many states offer specific nursing loan forgiveness programs, created to encourage people to start working in the industry.

However, these aren’t universal, and while some states have excellent programs, others don’t offer any financial assistance at all.

To find out if you’ll have access to any benefits, find your state from the list below and read up about what’s on offer.


California isn’t just the most populous state in the union, it’s also one of the most generous!

For those looking to get into higher positions within the field of nursing (especially management or lead roles), California’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing Loan Repayment Program is an excellent opportunity.

This program offers up to $8,000 the first time around, with a secondary qualification possible that includes up to $11,000 in additional compensation.

That’s $19,000 in loan forgiveness for nurses, which is certainly worth going after. To get the details on this program, visit our page about California Bachelor of Science Nursing Loan Repayment.


Those from the Sunshine State have access to an awesome program called the Florida Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program (NSLFP), which offers up to $4,000 per year in loan repayments, for a maximum of four years.

That’s $16,000 in potential loan forgiveness, and it’s eligible to anyone licensed as an LPN, RN, or ARNP in the state of Florida.

For details on these benefits, please view our page about Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness in Florida.


If you need nursing loan forgiveness in Illinois, then you’re in luck as well!

Their Nurse Educator Loan Repayment Program offers some excellent benefits, including up to $5,000 in annual student loan repayment assistance, with a maximum of four years of eligibility.

That’s $20,000 in loan forgiveness available to anyone who has a qualifying outstanding balance (a Federal student loan that was used to pursue their nursing education expenses), but it’s limited in who qualifies for the benefit because you’ve got to be a nurse educator to qualify.

For details, check out our page about the Illinois Nurse Educator Loan Repayment Program.

New York

Nurses from the Empire state have access to some awesome loan forgiveness programs as well!

The Nursing Faculty Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program was created to increase the number of nursing faculty members teaching in New York State, and these benefits are absolutely gigantic!

This is an annual award offering up to $8,000 per year, with a maximum lifetime payment of $40,000, offered to New York State residents who are licensed registered nurses with graduate degrees and who have taught in the field of nursing.

For details on applying to this program, check out our page about the New York State Nursing Faculty Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program.


Sorry to those in the Lone Star State, because while Texas does a lot of things bigger and better than other states, apparently they haven’t got a single program offering loan forgiveness to nurses.

What Do You Think?

Have you qualified for and  received loan forgiveness under any of the programs mentioned on this page? Are you trying to receive it, but having problems?

If you’ve experienced any of these benefits packages, we would love to hear from you (and so would your fellow nurses).

Let us know what you think about the available loan forgiveness programs, or about your experiences in using them in the comments section below!

If this page helped you to better understand the benefits available to you, please email it to friends, share it on Facebook, tweet about us on Twitter or post us up to Reddit.

Thank you for visiting, and be sure to check back soon for updates, including more individual state-sponsored forgiveness programs.


Tim's experience battling crushing student loan debt led him to create the website Forget Student Loan Debt, where he offers advice on dealing with excessive student loans and advocates a cautious approach to funding education costs via borrowed money.