Posted on August 6th, 2021
The biggest drawback of being a nurse for many nurses is the education debt that easily runs into thousands of dollars. As per the Federal Reserve, more than 50% of students in 2019 took some student loan for higher studies, and 17% of these students could not manage payment of the loan during 2020.
The debt a student takes to earn a nursing degree greatly differs from the school they select to which degree they take. For example, on average, ADN-prepared nurses take about $20,000 in debt, BSN nurses take nearly $23,711, and MSN-prepared nurses take more than $47K.
However, these debts must not be an obstacle to your dream of being a nurse. There are many loan forgiveness programs present for nurses. One such forgiveness program is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF).
Let us now see what this program is and who are eligible for this most common program amongst the student loan forgiveness programs.
It's a program aimed to do away with the outstanding amount of all federal loans after the debtor has paid a minimum of 120 qualifying monthly payments whilst working as a full-time employee for a qualifying employer. So, following 10 years of debt payments, a debtor will get the rest of the loans paid off.
The two requirements are:
A government association at any level (federal, state, local, or tribal)
A not-for-profit company that is tax exempted under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
Other kinds of not-for-profit businesses that are not tax exempted under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
A full-time volunteer of Peace Corps or AmeriCorps
The healthcare system should be a not-for-profit organization for this kind of loan exemption. Sometimes, a hospital will be not-for-profit or serve a deprived population but still can be under a bigger for-profit house.
To be deemed for PSLF, nurses should work full-time (as stated by their employer) or work a minimum of 30 hours per week.
A few nurses work in more than one job, and in such cases, working hours can be combined but, the hours of working should only be from qualified organizations.
To qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, one must be part of a qualifying repayment scheme. All income-driven repayment (IDR) plans are eligible.
To be more precise, payments that fall in the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan are eligible, however, by the time you make up the needed 120 qualifying payments required to be eligible for the PSLF, you would have paid off your loan--so you must switch to an IDR plan if you are presently on a regular 10-year repayment scheme.
Changing over might heighten your payments if you have a higher income, so you will have to sensibly check if modifying your payment method is profitable for you.
Standard Repayment Plan for Direct Consolidation Loans
Extended Repayment Plan
Alternative Repayment Plan
Graduated Repayment Plan
Application for the PSLFis really confusing, so the federal government has brought in a specific tool to assist people through the application process. The tool will do the below:
Assist you to understand better about the PSLF Program and what is needed to do so that your loans are forgiven
Aids you to know if your employer is qualified for PSLF
Helps you know if your loans are eligible for PSLF
Aids you know which PSLF form is to be submitted
Uses the data about your federal student loans to say about other activities that are to be done to get PSLF
Besides using the tool, here are some other basics you must know before you can apply:
The 120 qualifying monthly payments = 10 years, so one needs a minimum of 10 years of qualifying payments before applying.
You must still be working for a qualifying employer when you apply.
When you are eligible to apply i.e., making your 120 payments and met other rules, fill in the application and send it to the below address. Do not forget to attach your employer’s certification form along with it.
U.S. Department of Education FedLoan Servicing P.O. Box 69184 Harrisburg, PA 17106-9184
Note: If you are already using FedLoan Servicing, you can directly upload both forms on their website in place of mailing your paperwork.
Tags: nurse loans, nurse education debts, nurse loan forgiveness programs