Loan forgiveness for nurse practitioners is part of the loan repayment program that is offered by the U.S. Government. The program is called the Nursing Education Loan Program and is designed to help lessen the burden caused by the critical shortage of Registered Nurses. This is a selective program offers a tiered repayment of educational loans to RNs and RNs with higher advanced licenses.
How The Programs Work:
These programs work in an exchange pattern. Nurse practitioners would receive compensation equalling 60% of their total nursing educational loans. Educational loans would need to be qualified before they are considered in the compensation. The pay-off for receiving compensation for educational loans is that the practitioner would need to work full time for 2 years in a critical shortage facility. An additional 25% compensation package is available if the practitioner works an additional year. The 25% is based on the original total qualified educational loans. So for three years of service the total compensation would equal 85% of the total qualified education loans. These compensations are in addition, to whatever the salary and benefit packages that the nurses have with the facility. There is also a program that is identical to the one that is outlined here for practitioners that are faculty in a qualified, accredited school of nursing.
Licensing: The main eligibility factor is being a RN or an advanced license holder such as a Nurse Practitioner, or Nurse Pratitioner working as a Nurse Faculty.
To be eligible, Nurse Practitioners must have completed their training and be in possession of a qualifying document. Qualifying documents would be a diploma, an AA degree, a BSN, etc.
Work Eligibility: The Nurse Practitioner must be employed for a minimum of 32 hours per week at a critical shortage facility. The critical shortage facility may be public, private, or non-profit. The nurse practitioner must also be qualified to work in the United State and be able to show documented proof that they are a U.S. citizen, National, or Permanent Resident.
How Facilities are Deemed Eligible:
One of the eligibility factors for being accepted into the loan repayment program is working at a qualified facility. The facility may be publically run, private facilities, non-profit, or non-profit school of nursing. These facilities are located in a designated Professional Shortage Area. The facility may be primary healthcare oriented or Mental healthcare orienet.
Qualifying facilities range from Hospice and Nursing homes to Critical Access Hospitals and Public Hospitals and include Indian health Service centers, Rural Health Facilities and Clinics, Home Health Agencies, etc.
The program is begun by submitting an application. Part of the application is a contract that spells out the details of the 2 or 3 year contract. This is a critical document that potential applicants should read over carefully. Failure to fulfill your obligation results in significant financial penalties and consequences.
Preference and Application Weights:
Preference is given to applicants with the highest financial need. Preference is also given to teachers who work at nursing school with 50% or greater enrollment of disadvantaged students. The type of facility that is listed on the application also plays a large part in determining who is approved and who is not approved for the program. When choosing a facility, understand that preference for the facility is based on need. Practitioners who work at facilities with the greatest need are more likely to be approved than those that work at facilities with marginal needs.
How To Apply:
The application process is one time per year for the following year. Each year the governement updates the criteria within the application. The application can be reviewed on the HRSA.gov website. It needs to be read carefully because the penalties for not fulfilling the contract are severe. Check this site to see the required documents, “http://nhsc.hrsa.gov/currentmembers/loanrepaymentrecipients/requireddocumentation/index.html”
Pros of The Program:
The pros of the program are great. They equate to upwards of 85% of the total qualified reimbursement of student loans. This is a significant amount of financial reimbursement. The program reimbursement works in addition, to regular wages and benefits paid by the facility.
Cons of The Program:
The cons of the program included the financial penalties for failing to fulfill the programs contract.
Unfortunately, as of August, 2012 Loan Repayment Program For Nurse Practitioners is closed as per HRSA.Gov, But will open again after January 2013.