What are your options for repaying nursing student loans?

A reader completed her baccalaureate program several years ago and successfully graduated without any debt.

But she’s wondering what to do about the nursing student loans she took out for a family nurse practitioner program. According to her question, she was “kicked out” of the FNP program.

The reader’s question did not contain any details surrounding her dismissal, but she indicated that she contacted lawyers but did not receive any help.

Some of my previous blogs – such as “Nursing Students Should Know Their Constitutional Rights” and “Dismissed Nursing Student Wants To Know Her Rights” — have covered the rights of nursing students’ right who were unable to finish their nursing programs because of an unfavorable decision. For any nurse or nursing student in the same situation, reviewing those blogs can provide helpful information.

As I emphasized in previous blogs, consulting with and/or retaining a nurse attorney or other attorney is a must.

An important issue from this reader’s question that needs discussion, however, is repaying nursing student loans. Despite the fact this reader is no longer in the FNP program, that does not discharge her obligation to repay that loan.

Student loans quickly add up

Students graduating from college nursing programs have an estimated average of $40,000 to $55,000 in student loan debts. Those who graduate from nurse practitioner programs have an average student loan debt of $31,000.

Even if a recently graduated nurse or advance practice registered nurse lands a job, the salary may not be enough to balance other life expenses and cover the cost of the required repayments.

Fortunately, there are loan forgiveness programs for nurses who need to repay student loans.

All about loan forgiveness programs

One type of loan forgiveness program is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

If you work for a qualifying employer the program forgives the remaining balance of all federal loans after the nurse has made a minimum of 120 qualifying monthly payments. As an example, a nonprofit organization that is tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or a government organization at any level (federal, state, local, or tribal).

You cannot default on the loan and must be using a qualifying repayment plan while working for a qualified employer in a full-time role (defined by the employer) or at least 30 hours a week.

Because the application process is complex, the federal government has developed an online tool to help with the process.

A second option for you might be your own state’s loan forgiveness program. These programs vary in terms of requirements, eligibility and work mandates. Illinois, Montana, Pennsylvania and California have such programs.

Some loan forgiveness programs on nursing student loans are offered solely to APRNs, including NPs, certified nurse midwives and certified registered nurse anesthetists.

Some programs cover both bachelor’s degree and advanced practice nurse graduates. In addition, some programs also provide programs for nurse educators.

Implications of owing on nursing student loans

I can’t emphasize enough that no one should default on any student loan. Doing so can cause major problems …read more

Read full article here: nurse.com