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Perkins Cancellation for Nurses & Licensed Medical Technicians

It may not be the best Student Loan Forgiveness Program for Nurses, but the Perkins Loan Cancellation Program is definitely useful!

As of 2016, this program allows full-time Nurses and Licensed Medical Technicians to receive student loan debt forgiveness benefits for each year of service they complete in the field.

Officially called the Perkins Loan Cancellation Program, the reality is that “loan cancellation” operates the same way as all the other Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Programs: once you satisfy the eligibility conditions of the program, some part of your student debt gets wiped out.

Perhaps the biggest benefit to Perkins forgiveness for nursing is that you’re able to receive debt forgiveness for both the original principal amount of your loan, as well as the interest that’s been accumulating on your debt.

Which Nurses Are Eligible?

The Department of Education sets the rules about which nurses are eligible for Perkins loan forgiveness, and in 2016, all of the following positions may take advantage of this program:

  • Registered Nurses (RNs)
  • Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)
  • Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs)
  • Medical Assistants (MAs)
  • American Registered Nursing Practitioners (ARNPs)

But that’s not all, because Perkins Loan Cancellation benefits are also available to Licensed Medical Technicians!

Which Licensed Medical Technicians Are Eligible?

Licensed Medical Technicians and Allied Health Professionals working in healthcare fields like therapy, medical technology, dental hygiene, and others, may also take advantage of the Perkins Loan Cancellation Program.

To qualify for the benefits, Licensed Medical Technicians must be certified, registered, or licensed by a state agency under which they provide health care services, and they must fit the definition of being someone who “assists, facilitates, or complements the work of physicians or other healthcare specialists”.

Here’s an example list of Licensed Medical Technicians who would qualify for Perkins loan forgiveness benefits:

  • Occupational Therapists
  • Occupational Therapist Assistants
  • Physician Assistants
  • Physical Therapists
  • Physical Therapist Assistants
  • Dental Hygienists
  • Dental Assistants
  • Dental Lab Technicians
  • Respiratory Therapists (Entry Level)
  • Respiratory Therapists (Advanced)
  • Perfusionists
  • Anesthesiologist Assistants
  • Medical Assistants
  • Orthostists / Prothetists
  • Speech Language Pathologists
  • Clinical Lab Technicians with Associates Degrees or Certificates
  • Medical Lab Technicians with Associates Degrees or Certificates

That’s a pretty good percentage of the healthcare industry right there, meaning that far more people than just nurses are available for these excellent benefits.

How Much Debt Gets Cancelled?

Unlike some of the other Student Loan Debt Relief Programs on offer, this one doesn’t cap your benefits by a dollar amount, but with a percentage of your total debt.

Under the Perkins Loan Cancellation Program, a percentage of your loan gets cancelled for each year of service you complete in one of the fields listed above, according to the following schedule:

  • 15% of the Principal Loan + Interest Cancelled after 1 and 2 Years of Full Time Employment
  • 20% of the Principal Loan + Interest Cancelled after 3 and 4 Years of Full Time Employment
  • 30% of the Principal Loan + Interest Cancelled after 5 Years of Full Time Employment

That’s not bad! The way the numbers break down is that you’ll receive total cancellation benefits (with 100% of your loans forgiven) after just 5 years of medical service!

I’m not aware of any other program that offers total student loan forgiveness for just 5 years of service.

In fact, even the excellent Military Student Loan Forgiveness Programs are capped by a set dollar amount, and may not completely wipe out student loans like this one does.

How Does Cancellation Work?

Here’s where things get a little tricky – technically, it’s up your school to determine whether or not you’re entitled to have your loan (or some portion of it) cancelled.

You will have to apply for cancellation benefits through your school, by obtaining, completing and submitting whatever forms your school requires (and this varies depending on where you went).

What you’ll want to do is get in touch with your school’s Student Accounting Department or Billing Service to request the required forms for Perkins Loan Cancellation, and they should guide you through the process from there.

You’ll need to provide documentation to prove that you’re working in the medical services field, either as a Nurse or Licensed Medical Technician, but once you can prove that you’re doing that, and that you’ve completed a year of service, your school should start the process of cancelling the appropriate portion of your outstanding student loans.


If you’ve got further questions about how Perkins Loan Forgiveness for Nurses and Licensed Medical Technicians works, please contact your school’s billing department to get an official response.

Alternatively, feel free to ask away in the comments section below, and I’ll do my best to get you a researched response in 24 hours.

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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.