The exciting career of the nurse drives many young professionals to pursue this path but the first years of practicing may be connected to some financial burdens. Apart from having to deal with a student loan, the majority of young nurses don’t earn a particularly high salary.
A registered nurse earns an hourly payment ranging between 20.36 and 37.63 dollars, PayScale.com reports. While experienced nurses that have between 10 and 20 years of professional practice can expect to earn an annual salary of 64,000 dollars, the ones that are just getting established in the field will see an average payment of 42,000 dollars per year.
Student loan forgiveness is a viable option that professionals in the field can pursue. It will decrease the financial burden but candidates have to correspond to certain conditions and requirements.
Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Opportunities
Nursing students that have used a direct subsidized student loan, a direct unsubsidized student loan, a PLUS loan or a Perkins loan may be eligible for a federal student loan forgiveness program.
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program is available for all of the nursing professionals that have made at least 10 years worth of on-time payments. The program can be used to forgive the outstanding balance for the coming years.
In order to qualify for PSLF loan forgiveness, a nurse will also have to be employed full-time in a public service job at a federal or state healthcare facility or an educational institution. There’s no limit in terms of loan forgiveness amount under the program.
Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program
Nurses can opt for alternative possibilities that enable student loan forgiveness. The Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program (NELRP) was created especially for the purpose of helping young individuals pursue the career of a registered nurse.
In order to qualify for the program, registered nurses need to be employed by underserved hospitals and medical facilities. Such medical facilities are usually located in poorer communities, rural areas or these are clinics that are understaffed (because medical professionals don’t find the employment opportunity lucrative enough).
Though the conditions may seem a bit tough for some young registered nurses, the program does offer substantial financial benefits.
For the first two years of working as a registered nurse, the Federal Government will cover 60 percent of the student loan repayments. For an additional year of working in any underserved medical facility, the Federal Government will cover 25 percent of the student loan payments.
According to many professionals, NELRP offers the best student loan repayment opportunities and conditions. The application season is from January to March and the competition is rather intense – keep these facts in mind when filling out your documents.
Perkins Loan Cancellation
Registered nurses that have taken a Perkins loan will benefit from some loan cancellation opportunities, as well.
This program is commonly seen as a student loan cancellation opportunity for teachers. It, however, is also available for professionals that work as registered nurses or medical technicians.
Individuals that qualify for the program can have the entire student loan amount forgiven. The problem with the opportunity is that only a chosen few individuals have had the chance to obtain a Perkins loan.
The program is also one of the few that offers an incremental student loan forgiveness plan. The incremental plan means that a portion of the student loan program will be forgiven for each year of employment.
Other Opportunities for Student Loan Forgiveness
Apart from the federal programs, registered nurses may also rely on state opportunities for student loan forgiveness. These vary in the different parts of the US and preliminary research will be needed to figure out what kinds of state opportunities are available.
California is one of the states that offer the most beneficial student loan forgiveness programs for registered nurses. Lead nurses and the individuals employed as managers can apply for an initial 8,000-dollar student loan forgiveness. Up to 11,000 dollars of additional compensation may be available under the program.
In Illinois, registered nurses can apply for 5,000 dollars of student loan assistance on an annual basis. The maximum duration of the program is five years, which means that up to 20,000 dollars of student loan can be forgiven through the state financial assistance possibility.
Other states that have excellent student loan forgiveness opportunities for registered nurses include Florida (up to 16,000 dollars of loan forgiveness) and New York (40,000 dollars of student loan forgiveness for registered nurses with graduate degrees). Online research will provide a lot of information about the possibilities, their conditions and the maximum student loan forgiveness amount under each.