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Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert Nurse Verified

Loan Forgiveness for NPs

Nurse Beth   (242 Views 6 Comments)
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Dear Nurse Beth,

I saw you on AllNurses and you seemed so supportive, so I thought I'd reach out. I wanted to see if you knew anything about HRSA for PMHNPs. I was hoping to connect with someone who had received a scholarship or loan forgiveness via a HRSA program (NHSC or Nurse Corps). If this person was a PMHNP, that would be ideal!

Dear Reaching Out,

Thank you for the kind words!

There's opportunity in Medically Underserved Areas (MUA). MUAs meet certain criteria:

  • Ratio of primary medical care physicians per 1,000 population
  • Infant mortality rate
  • Percentage of the population with incomes below the poverty level
  • Percentage of the population age 65 or over

People living in designated MUAs suffer from lack of access to preventative care, and many have worsening chronic conditions. In some clinics and critical access hospitals, NPs are offered loan reimbursement as a recruiting strategy.

There are also Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA)

HPSAs are so designated when the HHS Secretary determines a provider shortage

A geographic area, population group or health care facility can be designated as an HPSA.
Here are the eligibility requirements:

  • Be a licensed registered nurse (nurse practitioners and other advanced practice nurses are encouraged to apply) or nurse faculty
  • Have completed your training (diploma, associate, baccalaureate or graduate) an accredited educational program
  • Be employed full time (at least 32 hours per week) at a critical shortage facility
  • Be a U.S. citizen (born or naturalized) or National and Lawful Permanent Resident
  • Have graduated from an accredited school of nursing located in a U.S. State

Also check out Nurse Corps and National Health Service Corps.

National Health Service Corps (NHSC)  clinicians must serve at approved HPSA sites.

Millions of dollars are awarded to expand primary health coverage. Funding preference is based on the facility you work and and your financial need. HPSAs with a score of 14 or higher signify greater need.

It can be very rewarding to serve in a  MUA  and there is funding to help you do it.

Best wishes, 

Nurse Beth

Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!

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I work for the VA in a county with an Mental Health Catchment area score of 18, any chance I would qualify for any kind of reward?

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I have been a PHMNP for 15 years in an area that should be considered underserved. I have known several people who have applied, but no one who has ever gotten any loans forgiven. There is not even a friend of a friend who has had their loans forgiven. One friend worked multiple sites over the years and was repeatedly told the employment might qualify, but it never did. 

Not trying to be Debbie Downer here, just relating my experience that loan forgiveness is usually akin to a Bigfoot sighting.

If people have had substantial sums forgiven, I would love to be proven wrong. Please write with your story, including specifics of how it worked for you.

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Employers sometimes offer NPs loan forgiveness as a recruiting tool. I have seen this in clinics in underserved areas. But that's the employer's choice.

 

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16 hours ago, Oldmahubbard said:

I have been a PHMNP for 15 years in an area that should be considered underserved. I have known several people who have applied, but no one who has ever gotten any loans forgiven. There is not even a friend of a friend who has had their loans forgiven. One friend worked multiple sites over the years and was repeatedly told the employment might qualify, but it never did. 

Not trying to be Debbie Downer here, just relating my experience that loan forgiveness is usually akin to a Bigfoot sighting.

If people have had substantial sums forgiven, I would love to be proven wrong. Please write with your story, including specifics of how it worked for you.

Is your area an MUA or HPSA? I did know a nurse who worked an Indian reservation for loan forgiveness.

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I am truly glad to hear someone did. One friend chased it all over the rural Northeast and it never happened in 15 years. Another friend was denied it when she moved within the same agency to a slightly different assignment, less than a mile away.

My advice is to stop borrowing huge amounts of money you will never pay back. In particular, never borrow living expenses as an adult. You'll never dig out of that hole.

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