Common Loan Repayment Programs
National Health Service Corps (NHSC)
The federal program that supports health professionals in exchange for service in high need area. The NHSC has three programs:
NHSC Loan Repayment
You already have a job with an employer. You apply for loan repayment and receive ‘x’ amount per year(s) toward your student loan debt.
Eligible providers: Primary Care Physician (MD or DO), Dentist, Primary Care Certified Nurse Practitioner, Certified Nurse-Midwife, Primary Care Physician Assistant, Registered Dental Hygienist, Health Service Psychologist, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Psychiatric Nurse Specialist, Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Professional Counselor
Learn more about the NHSC Loan Repayment Program here: https://nhsc.hrsa.gov/loan-repayment/index.html
NHSC Students to Service
A fourth-year medical student, already committed to primary care receives loan repayment during their residency.
Eligible providers: Primary Care Physician (MD or DO), Dentist
Learn more about the NHSC Students to Service program here: https://nhsc.hrsa.gov/loan-repayment/nhsc-students-to-service-loan-repayment-program.html
NHSC pays for your medical education in exchange for service in an area of highest need for a certain amount of time. A NHSC scholar must commit to this program, and a primary care specialty, during their schooling. NHSC pays for tuition, fees, and reasonable living expenses will attending school. This is the most ‘restrictive’ of the NHSC programs, meaning the penalties for backing out of your commitment are the most severe.
Eligible providers are students accepted to or enrolled in an accredited training program for: Physicians (MD or DO), Dentists, Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse-Midwives, Physician Assistants
Learn more about the NHSC Scholarship Programs here: https://nhsc.hrsa.gov/scholarships/overview.html
Nurse Corps Loan Repayment
You already have a job as a registered nurse, advanced practice registered nurse, or nursing faculty. You apply for loan repayment and receive payment for a percent of your unpaid nursing student loans in exchange for working in an eligible facility located in a HPSA or in an accredited nursing school.
More information: https://bhw.hrsa.gov/loansscholarships/nursecorps/lrp
Nurse Corps Scholarship
Nurse Corps pays for your nursing school (including tuition, fees, and a monthly stipend) in exchange for service in an area of need for a certain amount of time.
More information: https://bhw.hrsa.gov/loansscholarships/nursecorps/scholarship
State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP)
SLRP (pronounced ‘slurp’) is partially federally funded but requires a state or employer to match the money they give, dollar for dollar. SLRP programs are typically similar to NHSC (e.g. SLRP programs are required to follow the same breach penalty as NHSC), but as the state also contributes money, they may be more flexible in certain aspects (HPSA score needed to apply, etc.).
You can see which states participate in the SLRP here: http://nhsc.hrsa.gov/loanrepayment/stateloanrepaymentprogram/contacts.html
There may be other options to consider in the state you want to work, such as employer sponsored loan repayment or awards from private foundations.
Independent State Program
Many states have, through their own legislative processes, created financial incentive programs for health professionals. These programs will vary from state to state, searching online or connecting with your PCO are good ways to identify independent state programs.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Community-Based or Hospital/Health System-Based Programs
Some communities and even hospitals or health systems sponsor their own programs. Inquire with an employer during an interview or negotiation phase to learn more about these opportunities.