The Government Will Help Pay Off Those Nursing Student Loans
Nursing is one of the most in-demand professions in the U.S. We've blogged about this many times over the years, most recently last fall when the government listed it among the 10 fastest growing jobs over the last decade.But the training can be costly. A 4-year B.S., which is what many employers now want, can leave a new nursing graduate with $30,000 or more in student loans.
Fortunately, there are literally dozens of programs that will cover all or part of that debt. Most have some sort of string attached, though they tend to be short ones. For example, the federal Health Resources and Services Administration has two loan repayment assistance programs that cover up to $50,000 in funding for the one program with a two year work commitment and up to 85% of the student loan balance for three years.
The military has its own programs with the Army's nursing program offering an especially generous $120,000 loan repayment for three years of active duty. The National Guard, Air Force and Navy each have programs. One Navy program pays a signing bonus and $1,000 a month for up to two years for enrolled nursing students pursuing a B.S. who agree to enlist after graduation.
Students with Perkins loans -- a needs based program, can get up to 100% of their loans forgiven if they are working as full-time nurses. There are also other federal forgiveness programs nursing grads can apply for, if they work for the government and some non-profits. The rules for these are not as generous, but they can certainly help.
Many states, too, have assistance programs. Most will contribute $10,000 or more in exchange for working in certain areas or filling specialized needs.
Besides these programs, an increasing number of employers are offering help with loan repayment. Sometimes these are limited to an area of specialization; often enough they are offered to everyone.
Taking the time to research these options can mean the difference between years of paying off those student loans, or earning student loan repayment credits while gaining valuable work experience working where the need for nurses is greatest.