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How to Get the Fed to Pay Your Nursing School Loans

How to Get the Fed to Pay Your Nursing School Loans

For several years, the Federal Department of Health and Human Services, specifically, the Health Services and Resource Administration (HRSA) has granted repayment of loans to people who have completed nursing school and will work for two or more years in a qualified facility.

The program is called the Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program (NELRP) and this year, President Obama increased the money available for the program.

In 2009, applications for receipt of these grants were due in March. For 2010, the date of application deadline will be sent out by notification in January. If you want to know about the application process and when applications are due, go to

Those people whose application is accepted for receipt of the grants are notified in September, and those who are denied the funds will be notified in October. The grants repay 60% of your loans if you work in a critical shortage facility for two years. There has been a three year option. It is not certain this will be a part of the 2010 program but it entails working in a CSF (critical shortage facility) for three years and the grant will repay another 25% of your loan.

Now, what makes you eligible?

1. You need to have a BA, AA, diploma or graduate degree in nursing from an accredited educational program.

2. You need to have outstanding loans related to getting that degree.

3. You must be working 32 hrs or more in a CSF and continue there for 2-3 years depending on your application and acceptance requirements.

4. You must have a current, permanent, unrestricted license as an RN in the State where you intent to practice.

5. You must be a U.S. citizen, National or a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.

6. You must complete the needed application and be accepted for the grant by the funding agency.

President Obama signed into law $8.1 million for this program in 2010, and although there really is not enough money to go around, it is a start, and probably worth a try if you qualify for the program.

Where do you need to work?

The definition of a Critical Shortage Facility includes many health care organizations. They are all non-profit, so, you are not eligible for this loan repayment program if you work in a private doctor’s office or another for-profit health care organization. Organizations where you can work and be eligible include:

1. Non-profit hospitals and Federal hospitals (check the website for exact descriptions)

2. Federally funded or qualified health centers (FQHC’s)

3. Ambulatory Surgical Centers

4. Home Health Agencies

5. Rural Health Centers

6. Indian Health Centers

7. Skilled Nursing Facilities

8. Nursing Homes

9. Native Hawaiian Health Centers

Remember, there is an application process, due in early 2010, and there are many other details about the program that include, where you need to do your service, how long, and all the other bureaucratic questions that will accompany a Federal loan repayment program (ie- you can’t have any outstanding debts to the Federal government or have had any government debts written off for non-payment). But the government is working to make money available to those of you who have completed school, are practicing in a health facility that serves the under-served, and have loans you are paying back that are related to your education and are yet unpaid.

You should be rewarded for your dedication — look into this opportunity!

Not in school yet? Check out degree programs, and get free info from schools here.

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  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    What if you're working more than 32 hours in a CSF ? is that a problem ? can you gain any more advantages from it ?
    Val - cfd broker

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    almost 5 years ago


    Wow...yeah I think Im going to just pay my student loans on my own...I hear ya pedsnurse8808...that process is crazy...since I have been in school I have tried for pass three years to get the stipend, tuition and books grant and no I am trying to get the loans paid...and still no luck...I am going to school to get my master's and I am going to take advantage of the deferment however I will be making payments into a certificate of deposit (CD) each month...this way I am building interest and then every 6 months I can pull the money plus the interest that it made and pay a chunk of the student loans. And I'll keep doing this until its paid. But in this way...I am not just putting my money in but the interest that the CD made....My goal is to have them paid in three years...I have almost 50K

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 5 years ago


    please may i know if am eligable to have the loan for complete my nursing study according to ur program but i finish nursing college from egypt and am register as rn from ministery of health in egypt plus am egyption living in egypt
    so please may i have application to register for nursing and coming to usa to work and study
    thanks for ur help
    lolita mokbel

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 5 years ago


    I applied for this program and it is very difficult to apply for. One minor mistake on the form my employer had to fill out disqualified me for the program. And also, the list of qualifying facilities is really misleading. The facilities are listed in four teirs in order of preference for funding. If you work in any but the top teir, don't bother, you won't get it as they routinely run out of funds before they get to the second group. I worked in a health department in Memphis (look at our health stats, if our health department isn't a qualifying facility, I don't know what is!) and I owed over $80k, and I didn't get it. There were only about 20 people in my state to get the award the year before I applied, and only 1 in a health department. Dismal odds, but I applied anyway. You wait 6 months to find out and during that time you can't change jobs. If you change jobs and they select you for the award, you are then in violation of your contract, you then do not get the award and because you are in violation of the contract you may not apply for certain other government programs in the future. Glad I took the risk and took another job while waiting to hear if I got the award or not. I no longer qualify in my current job, but I'll have my loans paid off in a little over a year anyway. Then I won't owe anybody anything, service or otherwise.

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