Student Loan Forgiveness for Nurses Working in Rural Areas

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The demand for health care professionals is always considered high, especially in the rural areas with limited primary care. The world “rural” is used to describe all the programs. However, it does not mean that these areas are completely remote. The need for nurses, as well as doctors, in these kinds of areas is hard to be fulfilled knowing it is hard to even complete the study due to the financial aspect. It is not an uncommon case when the likes of students who are studying to become nurses get medical school debt.

In order to fix the issue and to combat the need of the nurses, there are a few kinds of rural medicine loan forgiveness programs that are intended to help with recruitment and retention. These programs are best to attract the health professionals to areas that are far from the cities and are a bit more remote. Every single program requires service in a certain area that is based on a shortage.

Student Loan Forgiveness for Nurses Working in Rural Areas

  • Loan forgiveness

Loan forgiveness is the term that is widely used to refer to removing student loan debt in general. However, it also refers to certain loan forgiveness rural health programs for students who are currently finishing their degree. The loans that are provided to the students are for education expenses.

As the exchange of the loan forgiveness, it will be needed for the student to sign a contract to work at a facility that is located in a rural area. After fulfilling their service obligation, their loans will then be forgiven.

  • Loan repayment

The rural health loan repayment programs are the kinds of programs that offer the student loan debt relief. These are for professionals who have already finished their degrees. Not only that, it is also a must for them to meet the eligibility requirements and to complete the required years of service. In exchange for this loan repayment, they will be able to earn money that can be used to either eliminate or cut the medical student loan debt.

  • Scholarships

There are a number of scholarship programs offered to the students as long as they want to fulfill the obligation service. By taking any of these scholarship programs, they will have to serve in an area with a high need of medical professionals or the one that has a limited number of medical professionals. These programs can be applied only after enrollment in a medical program.

Talking about the number of years they have required to serve and the amount of student loans will be forgiven, they vary depending on the scholarship program.

If you are a nursing student who wants to need rural medicine loan forgiveness, how can you find the locations? Apparently, the areas of need are determined by the federal government. Keep in mind that it is a must for the site where you agree to complete your service to be classified as either a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or Medically Underserved Area/Population (MUA-P). If you want to know about the locations, you can go to the official website of the National Health Service Corps or NHSC at https://nhsc.hrsa.gov/sites/eligibility-requirements. For those who have no idea about National Health Service Corps, which is also more known as NHSC in short, it is the name of a federal program that is housed under the Health Resources and Services Administration or HRSA. The job of this one is to connect the primary care medical professionals to the areas that need them. There is a list of all sites that have been approved by the federal government in the online database of NHSC.

There are a total 7 major rural medicine loan forgiveness programs for the students offered by both National Health Service Corps and Health Professional Shortage Area, as follows:

  • The NHSC Scholarship: This one is the kind of program that is made for primary care health profession students who agree to serve in a rural or urban Health Professional Shortage Area after completing a degree.
  • The NHSC Loan Repayment Program: This one is the kind of program that gives student loan forgiveness to licensed primary care professionals. Feel free to apply for this program if the student already serves or is applying at a site that has been approved by the National Health Service Corps.
  • The Nurse Corps Scholarship Program: This one is the kind of program that is overseen by the Health Professional Shortage Area. The ones who are eligible for this program include students who are working toward a diploma, associate, baccalaureate or graduate nursing program. These students will have to sign a two year contract to serve in an Health Professional Shortage Area after completing a degree.
  • The Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program: This one is the kind of program that is run by the Health Professional Shortage Area. It is available to nurses who agree to serve in a Critical Shortage Facility that is located in a Health Professional Shortage Area. It is a must for nurse faculty to commit to work full time at an accredited school of nursing.
  • The Faculty Loan Repayment Program: This one is the kind of program that is offered to faculty at eligible health professions schools assistance with repaying their student loans. However, these people have to commit to teaching for at least two years.
  • The NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program offered by the HRSA: This one is the kind of program that is offered by Health Professional Shortage Area to medical professionals who serve substance use disorder patients. It is a must for them to serve at an Health Professional Shortage Area for a minimum of three years.
  • Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program: This one is the kind of program that is available to a lot of different kinds of health professionals who are eager to fulfill two years of service. During the period, they will have to work full time at an Indian Health Service Facility or the one that is approved by the Indian Health Program.

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