Winter is drawing to a close and spring is on the horizon, as is your nurse practitioner program graduation. You can’t wait to be done with school, to get on with your career and enjoy the promise of a new life adventure. You have worked hard beginning to establish yourself as a nurse practitioner and plan to enjoy a fulfilling job and substantial salary…whatever is left after making your monthly student loan payments, that is.
Student loans blunt the sense of accomplishment students feel with graduation. Rather, your diploma serves as a reminder of the hefty bills coming soon to your mailbox. How can you offset these expensive monthly payments offering you some peace of mind in your new career? Work in a medically underserved area.
The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) promises to pay up to $60,000 in student loan reimbursement to nurse practitioners practicing in a medically underserved area for an initial two years of full-time service. Medically underserved sites with slightly less need qualify for up to $40,000 in student loan reimbursement. Following the initial two year reimbursement period, you may even be eligible to continue receiving student loan payments from the National Health Service Corps in one year allotments.
How do you find out if your practice is eligible for student loan repayment as a medically underserved area? The NHSC website allows you to input the address of a prospective clinical site determining if this particular location qualifies as a medically underserved area. Each location is assigned a score indicating the level of medical need. This number is considered in calculating your loan repayment allowance.
Concerned that working in a medically underserved area may cramp your social life? Not to worry- you won’t necessarily have to live on a 20 acre farm 30 miles from the nearest grocery store to practice in a medically underserved area. Many small towns near larger metropolitan areas qualify as medically underserved. In fact, one of the clinics where I completed my clinical hours, less than 30 minutes from my home in the city, qualifies as a medically underserved community. I think I could stomach a 30 minute daily commute for tens of thousands of dollars toward student loans.
If you are interested in learning more about NHSC student loan reimbursement, check out the requirements then submit an application online. Applications are due in April, so now is the perfect time to apply. Working in a medically underserved area might be the perfect solution to paying off your mounting nurse practitioner student debt avoiding the financial headaches of many recent graduates.
Do you receive student loan reimbursement by working in a medically underserved area? Tell us about your experience by commenting below!