Nurses are a vital part of every healthcare facility; they are trained to monitor, assess, and manage patient conditions in order to provide optimum care. The past decade has been a troubling time for hospitals in regards to understaffing and funding issues. The number of qualified nurses has deteriorated and the government aims to do something about it. Thus, federal student loan forgiveness for nurses programs have been initiated nationwide to encourage more individuals to enter this field and fill the healthcare gaps found in many hospitals. In addition to receiving a full or partial loan cancellation, the borrower will also receive the negotiated salary and benefits available at their employing facility.
Eligibility Standards for Federal Student Loan Forgiveness for Nurses
As with most loan affecting policies, federal student loan forgiveness for nurses has a few standard requirements. These typically include:
- The borrower provides a two-year service commitment in a qualifying Critical Shortage Facility.
- If the borrower is a member of nurse faculty, he must be working full-time at an accredited school of nursing.
- The borrower must be either a registered nurse or advanced practice registered nurse.
- The borrower must be licensed, full-time employee at either a qualifying Critical Shortage Faculty or a non-profit school of nursing.
There are several factors taken into account to determine if a facility is considered to be in a critical shortage state. However, generally speaking there are a few institutions that will more than likely be approved as a suitable facility in which a borrower can work off their two-year service agreement. In regards to nursing faculty personnel, any accredited, non-profit school of nursing is acceptable; the school can be a public or private institution.
Registered nurses and advanced practice nurses can work in nearly any area, but only institutions that are designated as a Critical Shortage Facility will qualify the borrower for federal student loan forgiveness for nurses programs. These establishments may be public or private holdings and must primarily serve a region classified as a Health Professional Shortage Area; these may include:
- Public Hospitals
- Rural Health Clinics
- Critical Access Hospitals
- Disproportionate Share Hospitals
- State or Local Public Health Departments
- Human Service Departments
- Hospice Programs
- Nursing Homes
- Home Healthcare Agencies
This is a summarized list; other facilities and establishments will qualify under federal student loan forgiveness for nurses programs.
Federal student loan forgiveness for nurses is an incentive to increase the nurse to patient ratio within healthcare facilities. Taking this into account, the borrower must realize that there are several other candidates in search of the same loan cancellation perks. In order to be considered for such a program, the borrower must fulfill certain requirements. The applications are only accepted annually; there will not be a re-enrollment period or late-submission acceptance for any borrower. Understand that the application includes the two-year service contract at a qualifying facility and you are obligated to fulfill this section of the agreement; failure to do so will result in serious financial and possibly legal consequences.