Published Aug 9, 2016
Hi all, I am just about to start nursing school after going through a bachelors and masters program already, so I have a TON of student debt. I know I am going to have to consolidate my loans on IBR and work under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program in order to get rid of this debt as quickly as possible! I really want to do travel nursing though. I am wondering if there are any travel nurses out there working towards PSLF? Is it possible to take only assignments that will qualify for this (government, or 501c3 np) and are there many staffing agencies that have these kind of positions? Thanks for any insight!!
Typically, you cannot work as a traveler without two years experience after you graduate. So your question can be deferred for perhaps five years or more.
The VA has a travel nurse division that might qualify. If so, start your career with a VA staff job. Benefits and seniority will then follow you. But the PSLF administrators would be the place for that question, it is against all odds that someone here will have a definitive answer.
Five years from now after presumably fulfilling two years of employment towards your commitment, I would do a penalty/benefit analysis. See what the difference in pay is between your complying job and travel. If travel pay including any penalties result in a shortened time to clear your debt, then it would be the financially prudent choice.
Personally though, i don't think you should enter into a contract you don't want and may end up breaking.
Thanks for the response Ned. I know that I will need to work 1-2 years after school before being able to travel. I just wanted to go ahead and ask the question since I already know what kind of debt I'm going to be facing. I was just reading about the VA travel division yesterday, and from what I read from responses on here it is not the way to go! Apparently it's easier getting VA travel jobs through other staffing agencies that often have those contracts. Obviously I know working for the VA would count towards PSLF. My question was more of just asking if there are plenty of jobs/contracts out there, other than VA, for travel nurses who need to have qualifying work for PSLF? And does anyone know if there are any specific staffing agencies who have experience with placing nurses in these kinds of contracts?
I don't see how working for a private agency would qualify, even though the underlying jobs might fit the category. You would not be adding to the staffing versus another traveler filling the same spot and that would completely undermine the premise and your promise. I don't even know that the VA would qualify, they are not an understaffed needy nor rural agency but compete on a level playing field with private hospitals. In any case, my speculation nor yours is important, you know how to find the answers. The answers are irrelevant anyway as your situation may change in the next five years.
i have investigated this in the past. Travel does not make you qualified because they are for profit. You must make 120 consecutive payments while working full time at any non profit. For nurses, any non profit hospital qualifies. Which sucks because I have a high debt load I will die with! Atleast Sallie Mae won't come to Heaven to ask me where last month's payment is. I don't think.
It sounds like a great program to me! Working for any non-profit is very generous, but does little to solve staffing problems in underserved communities - which I thought was the point.
Thanks for the responses. I'm very new to this and don't know all the details of travel nursing. From what you guys are saying it sounds like when traveling, you are actually employed by the staffing agency? This I didn't know. I assumed you were employed by each hospital you take a contract at and the staffing agency is just the agency that helps place you. Good to know then. If this is the case, then yes I can see how travel nursing won't qualify for PSLF since they are not a government entity or non-profit.
Pink, just so you know, the payments made towards PSLF don't have to be consecutive:)
Ned, I appreciate your responses. If you are employed by the VA, it does qualify because they are a government agency. It doesn't have to be in an HPSA. I know I have a long time before I start working as a nurse, but this is something I am interested in knowing. I appreciate all the responses and I believe learning things in advance can better help me prepare if not just increase my awareness:)
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