The NHSC Loan Repayment Program offers up to $50,000 in Student Loan Forgiveness benefits to eligible Primary Care Medical, Dental or Mental/Behavioral Health Clinicians willing to work at an NHSC approved facility in a high-need, underserved area.
This program offers some of the best student loan forgiveness benefits around, and because it’s open to all sorts of different healthcare workers, it goes above and beyond the typical Nursing Loan Forgiveness Programs I’ve already covered elsewhere on the site.
The best part about the $50,000 in forgiveness benefits available is that they’re released after just two years of service (that’s way faster than the typical Student Loan Forgiveness Program), and that they’re NOT taxed, so you won’t lose 20-30% of the benefit from having to pay the IRS!
This page outlines the NHSC Loan Repayment Program in detail, going through all the important details like eligibility rules, options that let you qualify for partial awards, application requirement and frequently asked questions.
If you have any questions after having read through this material, please feel free to post them in the Comments section below.
But Before We Get Started…
Before I outline all the specific details of this program, let me give you a quick word of advice: if you’re having trouble making your monthly payments, or if you can’t figure out what to do with your loans, then it’s time to consider paying an expert for help.
Student loans are complicated, and many of my readers simply can’t figure out what they need to do to get rid of their debt, but the Student Loan Relief Helpline can walk you through your loans, explain which benefits programs you qualify for, determine which will be the fastest, cheapest way to get rid of your outsanding balance, then help you fill out the required applications and other paperwork.
The Helpline is staffed by true experts in debt consolidation, resolution, negotiation, and especially forgiveness, and they’ll make sure that you do everything correctly with your applications and loan management processes, to ensure that your debt will be wiped out as fast as possible.
Your first call is free, and you’ll only be charged if you agree to let the Helpline work on your loans for you, so you’ve got nothing to lose but a few minutes of your time.
Call the Helpline now at 1-888-906-3065.
NHSC Loan Repayment Program Eligibility Requirements
To qualify for the NHSC Loan Repayment Program (NHSC LRP), you’ve got to meet all of the following criteria, including:
- You must be a U.S. Citizen or U.S. National
- You must be an eligible provider in Medicare, Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program
- You must be fully trained and licensed to practice in teh NSHC-eligible primary care medical, dental or mental/behavioral health field in which you’re trained, and applying to serve within
- You must have unpaid student loans taken out before you applied to the NHSC Loan Repayment Program,
which were used to pay for your undergraduate or graduate education program related to the primary care area you plan on serving within
- You must be working at or have received a job offer to start employment at an NHSC-approved service site
In addition to the above requirements, you have to make sure that you’re serving in a discipline that qualifies for the NHSC LRP program.
Eligible Primary Care Specialties & Disciplines
You’ll only qualify for the NHSC LRP Program if you are “fully trained and licensed” in one of the following Primary Care Specialties or Disciplines:
- Medical Primary Care: Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Geriatrics, Mental Health
- Allopathic and Osteopathic Physicians (MD, DO)
- Physician Assistants (PA)
- Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM)
- Nurse Practitioners (NP)
- Dental Primary Care: Family/General, Pediatric, Geriatric
- Doctors of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD)
- Doctors of Dental Surgery (DDS)
- Registered Dental Hygienists (RDH)
- Mental and Behavioral Health Primary Care
- Allopathic and Osteopathic Physicians – Psychiatry (MD or DO)
- Psychiatric Nurse Specialists (PNS)
- Nurse Practitioners – Mental Health (NP)
- Physician Assistants – Mental Health (PA)
- Health Service Psychologists (HSP)
- Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC)
- Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW)
- Marriage & Family Therapists (MFT)
Once you’ve determined that you meet the general eligibilty requirements, and the training and licensing requirements outlined above, then you need to make sure your loans are eligible for the program, because there’s rules around that too!
Eligible Student Loans
The nice thing about the NHSC LRP program is that almost all loans will qualify for participation, including both Federal and Private student loans, which is a big deal because most programs only offer assistance for Federal debt.
- Eligible Loans Must Be:
- Obtained to cover actual school costs, like tuition, fees, etc., or some other costs associated with attending school, like living expenses while you were earning your degree
- Provided by a Federal, state, or Local Entity, or Commercial Institution (can’t be a casual loan from a parent, a friend, etc.)
- Eligible Loans Must NOT Be:
- Fully paid, or in default status
- Obtained to cover expenses by someone other than the applicant (like Parent PLUS Loans)
- Personal lines of credit, credit card debt, and debt related to relocation or residency programs
Options for Full or Partial Funding
Funding via this program is slightly complicated, because unlike your standard Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Program, you can qualify for the full benefit, or a half benefit, by working either full-time or part-time.
In addition, your funding level will be partially determined at least in part by where you work, because NHSC takes your job site’s HPSA score into consideration, using it to calculate the amount of money that you’ll receive.
Finally, after you’ve completed the first 2 year service commitment, you’ll also have the option of applying for extensions in your service contract, and some applicants will even qualify to continue receiving benefits until their entire loan balance is fully paid off!
Here’s how the funding processes work for Full-Time and Half-Time participants:
Funding for Full-Time Participants
To qualify for up to $50,000 in loan repayment benefits (or the full amount of your loans, if they’re under $50,000), you’ll have to work full-time at an NHSC-approved facility with an NHSC Jobs Center HPSA score of 14 or higher.
To qualify for up to $30,000 in loan repayment benefits (or the full amount of your loans, if they’re under $30,000), you’ll still have to work full-time, but it can be at any NHSC-approved facility, as they say the facility’s NHSC Jobs Center HPSA score can be 13 “or lower” (meaning anything counts…).
Now, the amount of funding available each year is limited, and the NHSC says that priority consideration will be given to candidates working at the highest need facilities, those with an NHSC Jobs Center HPSA score of between 14 and 26, so the more help your facility needs, the more likely you are to qualify for the full benefit amount.
The Definition of “Full-Time” Service
There are very specific requirements you’ll have to meet in order to count as working “full-time”, and it’s not cut and dry like with some other programs, where all you have to do is clock-in for 40 hours per week.
Instead, the full-time roles are determined by your actual job title, and the field you’re working within, and they’re different for people offering Direct Patient Care vs. Teaching, so you’ll need to look into these in detail to make sure that your position really qualifies for the benefit.
To view the details, check out the NHSC’s official “Full Time Clinical Practice Requirements” doc here.
Funding for Half-Time Participants
To qualify for up to $25,000 in loan repayment benefits (or the full amount of your loans, if they’re under $25,000), you’ll have to work half-time at an NHSC-approved facility with an HSC Jobs Center HPSA score of 14 or higher.
To qualify for up to $15,000 in loan repayment benefits (or the full amount of your loans, if they’re under $15,000), you’ll still have to work half-time, but it can be at any NHSC-approved facility, because the NHSC Jobs Center HPSA score can be 13 “or lower” here as well.
And again, just like we saw with the Full-Time requirements, there are also rules around what constitutes “Half-Time” service, meaning that it’s not just 20 hours of work per week.
To see exactly what you’ll need to do to qualify as working “Half-Time”, please view the official NHSC “Half-Time Clinical Practice Requirements” doc here.
How To Apply for the NHSC Loan Repayment Program
The most important consideration for potential applicants is to apply early, because the applications process is a little involved, and anything missing from your application will mean you aren’t eligible for the benefit.
And the easiest way to apply will be to follow the NHSC’s official Application Checklist, which they update each year, and which you can find here.
Before you start your application, you’ll want to make sure you’ve already figured out everything related to the program, like making sure that your skills and certification are all set, that you’ve identified an eligible facility to work at, etc.
NHSC LRP Application Checklist
- Here’s how to Apply to the NHSC LRP Program
- Read the full Application and Program Guidance document (here)
- Verify your eligibility based on the conditions I’ve outlined above (talking about service areas,
types of loans, etc.)
- Make sure that you understand what the service commitment actually entails (see the
official “Clinical Practice” links I posted above for details)
- Review the different types of NHSC sites to make sure that your place of employment qualifies, and has a score high enough to get the benefit level you want to receive (or look at the HRSA Health Workforce Connector to look for eligible open positions at approved sites)
- Collect all the documents you’ll need to submit as part of your application (stuff that verifies your credentials, employment location and job duties, etc.)
- Participate in optional technical assistance phone calls or webinars, where the NHSC walks you through details of the program, outlining certain steps and answering questions
- Make absolutely certain that you meet the NHSC Clinical Practice Requirements (again, linked to above), and that you’ll start working at an approved NHSC facility on or before the official deadline (for 2017, it was July 18th)
- Submit your application before the deadline! For 2017, that was April 6th. As soon as the 2018 deadline is announced, I’ll update this page accordingly
It sounds like a ton of work, but the reality is that it may take you an hour or two, and you’ll end up qualifying for up to $50,000 in loan forgiveness, so it’s totally worth the effort.
When Is the Application Deadline for 2018?
The Application date for 2018 has not yet been released, but in 2017, applications were due by April 6, so I would imagine that we’ll see a similar time frame, and your application will be due some time in the Spring.
When Will I Receive Repayment Funds?
If you qualify for the program and are accepted to participate, you’ll receive the funds about 90 days after the beginning of your contracts start date, which is cool, because most loan forgiveness programs won’t give you any funds until after you’ve completed your contract.
Keep in mind that you’re not going to get a check for $50,000 addressed to you, however, as the money will be directed toward the financial institution you identify within your application, to ensure that funds are really used toward paying back your loans.
Can I Apply to Multiple NHSC Programs At Once?
Yes! Amazingly, NHSC allows you to double dip on their student loan benefits programs, as long as you meet the requirements for each of the programs that you want to apply to.
As an example, you could be participating in BOTH the NHSC Loan Repayment Program, and the NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program at the same time!
Can I Paritcipate AGAIN?
You can participate in multiple NHSC/HRSA student loan programs, as long as you satisfy the eligibility requirements of each program.
This means that even if you’ve already completed an NHSC Students to Service Loan Repayment Program contract, you can still still apply for the NHSC Loan Repayment Program as well.
Where Can I Eligible Job Openings at NHSC Approved Sites?
The best place to look for open opportunities that’ll let you qualify for NHSC and HRSA student loan relief programs is their official Health Workforce Connector website, which you’ll find here.
And be happy that you found this link, because in years past, nothing like this existed and people had to figure it all out on their own (it was a nightmare…).
How Can I Find Out If My Facility Qualifies?
That’s easy – you can find a list of site types, and review site scores, via the Health Workforce Connector.
Again, you should be ecstatic that this site exists, because it’s brand new, and making the process way easier for everyone who wants to participate.
Where Can I Go For Other Questions?
There’s an excellent official FAQ on the NHSC’s official program page, which you’ll find here: https://www.nhsc.hrsa.gov/loanrepayment/faqs/index.html.
Or, you can call the NHSC itself and ask questions, by dialing them at 1-800-221-9393.
Or, you can post comments in the Comments section below, and I’ll do my best to answer any questions within 24 hours.
What Other Medical-Related Student Loan Programs May Help?
I’m glad you asked, because Medical personnel have access to some of the absolute best student loan repayment and forgiveness benefits packages available.
To make sure that you’re fully utilizing available funds, I would recommend look into each of the following programs to see if you can qualify for their benefits.
- Student Loan Relief Programs for Medical Personnel
- The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
- Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
- The NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program
- The NHSC NURSE Corps Scholarship Program
- Perkins Loan Forgiveness for Nurses & Licensed Medical Technicians
- The NHSC Students to Service Loan Repayment Program
- Non-Profit Employee Student Loan Forgiveness
- Government Employee Student Loan Forgiveness
There’s a good chance that you’ll qualify for one or more of the programs listed above, so make sure to check them out and read through their requirements in detail, because doing so could help you save hundreds of thousands of dollars!
Please Help Out!
Now that you’ve learned everything you need to know about taking advantage of the NHSC Loan Repayment Program, it’s your turn to do a little good by giving back!
If this content was useful to you, then please consider sharing it with your friends, family and colleagues.
The more people who visit this site, the more time I can dedicate toward updating content, making sure that everything is accurate, and ensuring that people like you have access to all the student loan benefits that you deserve!
Disclaimer:Information obtained from Forget Student Loan Debt is for educational purposes only. You should consult a licensed financial professional before making any financial decisions. This site receives some compensation through affiliate relationships. This site is not endorsed or affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education.