Nursing school requires a significant investment of time and money — especially if you pursue a bachelor of science in nursing or master of science in nursing degree. However, national and state programs offer student loan forgiveness for nurses.
These forgiveness programs usually require multiple years of work in federally designated healthcare professional shortage areas (HPSAs) or for nonprofit and government employers.
Some states limit their loan forgiveness programs to nurse practitioners (NPs) or behavioral health providers. This article outlines state options for loan forgiveness for nurses and the associated requirements, but always make sure to review a state's site for full information.
What States Offer Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness?
All 50 states have some kind of nursing loan forgiveness program to help with the national nurse shortage. This guide explores each state's program and requirements, including repayment amounts, eligibility requirements, and ways to apply.
Alabama's nursing loan forgiveness program requires individuals to work full time for 18 months in an area of critical need (a rural area with insufficient access to healthcare) for each year of the loan.
Who Is Eligible: Certified registered nurse anesthetists, NPs, or nurse midwives who completed their degrees and certifications within the last five years qualify for this nursing loan forgiveness program. Participants must possess unencumbered licenses and no histories of professional misconduct.
Alaska's student loan forgiveness for nurses program, SHARP, provides either loan repayment or direct payment of up to $27,000 per year. Nurses who work full time or part time for two years for providers that accept Medicare, Medicaid, or Children's Health Insurance Program patients may apply.
Who Is Eligible: Nurses must be U.S. citizens or nationals and work in designated healthcare service shortage areas. They may not work for other care providers, and their employers must also pay a portion of the loan repayment.
Arizona offers student loan forgiveness for NPs in underserved areas who work for providers that accept Medicare and Medicaid. Loan forgiveness for nurses pays up to $50,000 per year.
Who Is Eligible: United States citizens or nationals with unencumbered licenses who work at least 20 hours per week qualify. They must work at nonprofit sites within federal HPSAs, for-profit sites within HPSAs, or a medically underserved area.
Arkansas' nursing loan forgiveness program requires two years of service in an HPSA, though participants can serve longer. The program pays up to $50,000 for nurses working full time and up to $25,000 for part-time workers.
Who Is Eligible: NPs who work at HPSAs, hold unencumbered licenses, and possess unpaid student loans qualify. They must be U.S. citizens or U.S. nationals.
California offers up to $10,000 in nursing bachelor degree student loan forgiveness for up to three years. Nurses must work in designated underserved areas.
Who Is Eligible: Nurses who work for 32 hours per week or longer; are in good professional standing; have unpaid student debt; and work in a qualifying shortage area, correctional institute, Native Indian health center, or federally qualified health centers are eligible.
Colorado's student loan forgiveness for nurses helps with shortages in underserved areas. Available for full-time and part-time nurses, this nursing loan forgiveness program pays up to $50,000 per year for the required three years.
Who Is Eligible: NPs, nurse midwives, advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) with specific training in substance use disorders or pain management, and certified psychiatric nurse specialists are eligible. They must work in HPSAs at sites that accept Medicare and Medicaid and offer sliding-scale payments for individuals unable to pay.
Connecticut's student loan forgiveness for nurses repays 60% of student loans in exchange for a two-year commitment of full-time employment. Participants may request a third year to receive an additional 25% repayment. This program, unlike many other states' nursing loan forgiveness programs, focuses solely on mental and behavioral health.
Who Is Eligible: Nurses who work for Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services facilities may apply. Participants must be U.S. citizens or nationals.
Delaware's student loan forgiveness for nurses pays up to $100,000 for verifiable loans in good standing for a two-year commitment to work in underserved areas in the state.
Who Is Eligible: NPs, nurse midwives, and psychiatric nurse specialists with unencumbered licenses, zero felonies, and U.S. citizenship may apply. They must work in federally designated HPSAs.
Florida offers student loan forgiveness for nurses with outstanding nursing degree loan debt. The program provides up to $4,000 per year for four years. As one of the broadest programs in the United States, Florida includes fewer limits on the type of nursing degree or site than most states, though it offers smaller amounts of loan forgiveness.
Who Is Eligible: Licensed practical nurses, registered nurses (RNs), or APRNs who work for government healthcare providers, schools, teaching hospitals, or other Florida licensed hospitals and nursing homes that match the state investment may apply.
Georgia's student loan forgiveness for nurses repays up to $10,000 per year for up to four years. Each year of loan forgiveness requires one year of work. Loans are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Who Is Eligible: APRNs who are U.S. citizens or U.S. nationals and commit to working in rural counties with a maximum population of 35,000 at healthcare providers that accept Medicaid may apply.
Hawaii offers student loan forgiveness for nurses who work in HPSAs. The program requires two years of service. Recipients' employers must match half of the amount awarded. The amount varies based on funding availability.
Who Is Eligible: Nurses with graduate degrees, including RNs, may apply. Recipients must be U.S. citizens or U.S. nationals. They must work at government or nonprofit sites that accept Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP.
Idaho grants student loan forgiveness for nurses who work in underserved areas for a required two years. Participants' employers must match the award dollar for dollar. Amounts range from $10,000-$25,000 per year, depending on the employer's matching amount.
Who Is Eligible: Nurses with student loan debt and unencumbered licenses who work for nonprofit entities in designated HPSAs may apply. The total funding received cannot exceed the amount of debt.
Illinois' student loan forgiveness for nurses applies to any kind of licensed nurse or certified nursing assistant who works in an approved state of Illinois veterans' home. These facilities are located in Anna, LaSalle, Manteno, and Quincy counties. Depending on the number of applicants, the program awards up to $5,000 per year.
Who Is Eligible: Nurses or certified nursing assistants must live in Illinois, be a U.S. citizen or U.S. national, and work in an approved state of Illinois veterans' home. Recipients may not be in default on any federal or Illinois Student Assistance Commission loan.
Indiana provides student loan forgiveness for RNs and NPs who work in designated shortage areas. The program requires two years of service, and recipients may renew for an additional two years. Participants receive $20,000 for each two-year period.
Who Is Eligible: RNs and NPs who work in public or private not-for-profit settings in federally designated shortage areas approved by the Indiana Department of Health are eligible may apply. Each participant must possess a current and unencumbered license and spend at least 32 hours per week providing direct care. Their sites must accept government health insurance.
Iowa offers a nursing loan forgiveness program for federal loans. Private loans do not qualify, though existing recipients may refinance their federal loans with private lenders. The program requires five consecutive years — one of the longer requirements for student loan forgiveness for nurses.
Who Is Eligible: RNs, NPs, and nursing educators are all eligible. They must work in Iowa cities with a population of less than 26,000 and located more than 20 miles from a city with a population of 50,000 or more.
Kansas offers up to $20,000 in student loan forgiveness per year for the first two years (which are required), with lower amounts available for up to three more years.
Who Is Eligible: NPs, nurse midwives, and psychiatric nurse specialists who are U.S. citizens or U.S. nationals may apply. They must work for a nonprofit or public healthcare practice within a federally designated HPSA that accepts government health insurance.
Kentucky's loan forgiveness program provides NPs with loan forgiveness of up to $40,000 and RNs with up to $20,000. It requires a two-year commitment. The employer or another sponsor, such as a philanthropic organization, must match dollar for dollar.
Who Is Eligible: RNs, NPs, nurse midwives, and psychiatric nurse practitioners are eligible. They must work within an HPSA for a nonprofit or government provider that accepts government health insurance.
Louisiana's student loan forgiveness program offers NPs up to $15,000 per year for the first (required) three years. Participants may be able to renew for an additional three years.
Who Is Eligible: NPs, nurse midwives, and psychiatric nurse specialists qualify. Each recipient must work at least 40 hours per week serving outpatients. They must also work for government or nonprofit facilities that accept government health insurance and offer sliding-scale payments. Only U.S. citizens may participate in Louisiana's loan forgiveness for nurses.
Maine offers nursing loan forgiveness programs for primary care providers, including NPs who work in primary care. Unlike many other states, Maine's student loan forgiveness for nurses does not require working in an HPSA, though those working in HPSAs receive 50% loan forgiveness each year. The program offers the greater of 25% of the original total loan amount or $7,500 forgiveness for each year of practice.
Who Is Eligible: NPs working as primary care providers who received loans before January 1, 2011, may apply.
Maryland delivers student loan forgiveness for nurses based on the participant's debt load. Only individuals earning $60,000 or less ($75,000 for nursing faculty) may apply. The program will forgive up to $30,000 in student loans.
Who Is Eligible: Participants must have graduated from Maryland colleges and hold nursing certificates or diplomas. Candidates must work for a state or local government organization or a nonprofit that helps low-income, underserved residents or underserved areas. School nurses do not qualify.
Massachusetts offers student loan forgiveness for nurses who work as NPs or APRNs. The program forgives up to $50,000 for a two-year contract depending on the healthcare discipline. Part-time recipients must work for four years.
Who Is Eligible: NPs, APRNs, registered psychiatric nurses, and nurse midwives may apply. Participants must work in federally designated HPSAs or other state-designated areas. They may not participate in other loan forgiveness programs.
Michigan offers up to $200,000 in student loan forgiveness for nurses who work in HPSAs, based on two-year contracts which are renewable for another two years. Nonprofit employers must match 20% of the forgiven amount, and for-profit employers who place nurses in underserved or otherwise eligible locations must pay 50%.
Who Is Eligible: NPs working in primary care (including family practice, internal medicine, OB/GYN, pediatrics, or geriatrics), nurse midwives, and psychiatric nurse specialists may apply. Only U.S. citizens are eligible. Their sites must offer sliding-scale fees for individuals unable to pay their full amount.
Minnesota's nursing loan forgiveness program aims to encourage students to pursue a nursing career as a means of combating shortages throughout the state. Recipients will need to serve a minimum of two years working in nursing homes, home care, an intermediate care facility, or a hospital that operates a nursing home to receive the $6,000 annual repayment.
Who Is Eligible: Registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) who reside in Minnesota and have a valid nursing license are eligible to apply.
Mississippi's nursing loan forgiveness program is geared toward students who have already earned their bachelor's degree in nursing. The loan is forgiven once the recipient serves one year as a full-time educator at an accredited nursing school in Mississippi or after completing one year of professional service. Recipients receive up to $4,000 per academic year for a maximum of two years.
Who Is Eligible: Loans are available to residents who are seeking a master's degree in nursing from a Mississippi postsecondary institution. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree in nursing and a valid Mississippi nursing license.
Missouri's nurse loan repayment program provides a maximum of $10,000 per year for RNs and $20,000 per year for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). Recipients must agree to practice in an underserved community within Missouri.
Who Is Eligible: RNs, APRNs, nurse practitioners (NPs), certified registered nurse anesthetists, family nurse practitioners, and nursing students in their final full year of school are eligible to apply. Applicants must have a Missouri nursing license from an institution approved by the state board of nursing.
Montana's student loan forgiveness for nurses reimburses nurses who are already licensed by the state; the amount is determined by the number of applicants and state funding. Applicants can apply for reimbursement for a total of four years.
Who Is Eligible: RNs who are licensed to practice in Montana and currently employed in a full-time position by either a state prison or state hospital are eligible to apply.
Nebraska's student loan forgiveness for nurses provides loan reimbursement through the state and local communities. The state will match the funds provided by the employer or other local entity. The maximum loan repayment is $100,000, and the employer or local entity provides no more than $15,000 per year.
Who Is Eligible: Loan reimbursements are available to primary care, mental, dental, and allied health professionals who practice in federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) throughout the state.
The NURSE Corps offers scholarships and loan options for nursing educators and providers working in Critical Shortage Facilities or for those employed at accredited nursing schools. The loan repayment program will pay 60% of the participant's loan balance for a two-year commitment at a Critical Shortage Facility. Scholarship funding is available for currently enrolled or accepted nursing students and covers tuition, a stipend, and other related educational costs.
Who Is Eligible: Nursing educators and providers working in Critical Shortage Facilities or nurses employed at accredited nursing schools may apply for the loan repayment program. Scholarships are open to students currently enrolled in a nursing program or those who have been accepted into a program.
New Hampshire's state loan repayment program (SLRP) provides financial help to primary care RNs working in qualifying facilities who remain employed part time for 24 months or full time for 36 months. RNs can be rewarded up to $40,000 over the course of five years.
Who Is Eligible: RNs must be providing primary care services at an eligible facility. There is a limit of ten recipients per fiscal year (July-June). Psychiatric nurse specialists (PNSs), certified nurse midwives (CNMs), and APRNs are also eligible.
New Jersey's nursing faculty loan redemption program incentivizes entering a graduate nursing program by offering a loan redemption option. Eligible graduates must agree to work as a full-time faculty member at a New Jersey nursing school for a five-year period directly after graduation.
Who Is Eligible: Applicants must be a resident of New Jersey and hold a master's degree in nursing. Employment as a full-time faculty member at a school of nursing must begin no later than one year after completing an approved graduate program.
New Mexico's health professionals LRP provides assistance to practicing health professionals by repaying their outstanding loans. Recipients must commit to two years of full-time work in an HPSA.
Who Is Eligible: Applicants must have a valid state nursing license, be employed full time, and hold at least one year of permanent residency in New Mexico before applying. Graduates of postsecondary institutions in New Mexico will receive preferential treatment.
The New York nursing loan forgiveness program is geared toward increasing the number of faculty members in the field of nursing. Applicants can be awarded a maximum of $40,000, with $8,000 being paid for each year of service as an educator.
Who Is Eligible: Applicants must be a current resident of New York and an RN professionally licensed by the state. They must also be qualified to provide classroom or clinical instruction at a New York nursing school.
North Carolina's forgivable education loans for service program assists students who commit themselves to working in a qualified position. Recipients must practice nursing on their registered education program funding level. For example, an applicant funded for an associate degree in nursing on the RN level must work as an RN.
Who Is Eligible: Clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, nurse educators, NPs, CNMs, LPNs, RNs, and nurses who have an associate, bachelor's, or master's degree are all eligible to apply. Nurse educators are required to teach nursing full time at public or nonprofit postsecondary institutions.
The SLRP is a partnership between the federal government and the North Dakota Department of Health that was founded to help place medical professionals in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). The federal government will match any funds provided by the employer up to $50,000.
Who Is Eligible: Qualifying RNs must be graduates of an accredited nursing program and licensed by the state. They must also commit to two years of work in an HPSA.
Ohio's nursing education assistance loan program provides assistance for prospective nursing students and those currently enrolled at least half-time in an approved Ohio nursing program. The annual award for applicants as of the 2020-2021 academic year is $1,620. Applicants who commit to becoming a nursing educator can be awarded a minimum of $5,000 a year.
Who Is Eligible: Applicants must be a resident of Ohio and in good academic standing. Future nursing instructors must serve as a faculty member in an Ohio institution for at least four years. The program is only available for RNs.
The NURSE Corps LRP in Oklahoma promotes the recruitment of nurse faculty members, encouraging them to commit their time to nonprofit hospitals, clinics, nursing schools, and mental health or primary medical care facilities. For those who commit two years of service, NURSE Corps will pay 60% of the participant's loan balance; if they commit to a third year of service, an additional 25% will be provided.
Who Is Eligible: RNs, APRNs, and nursing faculty members are eligible to apply. Applicants must work full time and have a degree from an accredited school of nursing in the United States. Preference is given to those who need the most financial help.
The Oregon partnership SLRP incentivizes working in an HPSA throughout the state. The award is matched by the applicant's practice site. Awardees must commit to two years of full-time service or four years of part-time service within a facility approved by the state. Full-time providers can receive up to $35,000 annually, while part-time providers can receive up to $17,500.
Who Is Eligible: NPs, CNMs, PNSs, and RNs are all eligible to apply. Applicants must also be contracted to work or already working in an HPSA.
The Pennsylvanian primary care LRP encourages primary care practitioners to work with underserved communities in an HPSA. Applicants must have their employer submit a site application to the state for approval. Compensation is up to $60,000 for full-time healthcare providers and up to $30,000 for half-time providers.
Who Is Eligible: RNs, CNMs, and CRNPs who hold active Pennsylvania nursing licenses are eligible to apply.
The Rhode Island health professionals LRP endeavors to provide underserved communities with greater access to healthcare. Recipients must commit to two years of direct patient care in an outpatient setting; part-time workers must commit to four years.
Who Is Eligible: Primary care NPs, CNMS, and RNs are all eligible to apply. Applicants must work at an HPSA and have an active Rhode Island nursing license. Employers must confirm that 80% of the applicant's time is spent in direct patient care.
The NURSE Corps LRP in South Carolina assists the state in the recruitment of nursing faculty members. These nursing professionals are encouraged to work with nonprofit hospitals, clinics, nursing schools, and mental health or primary medical care facilities. Those who commit to two years of service receive 60% off their loan balance; nurses who commit to a third year receive an additional 25% of assistance.
Who Is Eligible: RNs, APRNs, and nursing faculty members are eligible to apply. Applicants must have a degree from an accredited school of nursing in the United States and work full time. Preference is given to those who need the most financial help.
The NURSE Corps LRP in South Dakota is involved in the recruiting of nurse faculty members, who are encouraged to commit their time to nonprofit hospitals, clinics, nursing schools, and mental health or primary medical care facilities. Nurses who commit to two years of service receive 60% of their loan balance. If they commit to a third year of service, an additional 25% will be provided.
Who Is Eligible: RNs, APRNs, and nursing faculty members are eligible to apply. Applicants must have a degree from an accredited school of nursing in the United States and work full time. Preference is given to those who need the most financial help.
The Tennessee graduate nursing loan forgiveness program incentivizes RNs to become teachers and/or administrators in a nursing education program within the state. Applicants must commit to four years of full-time employment.
Who Is Eligible: Applicants must be a resident of Tennessee, have a valid nursing license, and be enrolled in a master's degree nursing program or a post-master's degree educational program from an eligible institution in the state.
The Rural Communities Health Care Investment Program (RCHIP) in Texas provides partial student loan reimbursement for those who choose to work in underserved communities. The program also provides stipends for healthcare workers who are already employed within those communities.
Who Is Eligible: Applicants who received a Texas nursing license within the last 24 months or those who practiced in a county with more than 500,000 residents and moved or will move to a qualifying community within the 12-month time period are eligible. They must commit to working in an HPSA for at least 12 consecutive months.
The National Health Service Corps offers loan repayment for Utah residents who dedicate themselves to working for two years in health facilities within HSPAs. Those who decide to work full-time can receive funds up to $50,000, while those who work part-time can receive up to $25,000.
Who Is Eligible: NPs, CNMs, and PNSs are eligible to apply. Applicants must also be a United States citizen and licensed to practice in the state of Utah.
The Vermont LRP is geared toward increasing access to healthcare for underserved populations and communities. Recipients can receive up to $12,000 per year and must be able to commit to 12 months of working in an HPSA.
Who Is Eligible: NPs, RNs, and LPNs are all eligible to apply. Applicants must be a resident of Vermont, hold a state nursing license, and work for a minimum of 20 clinical hours per week for at least 45 weeks per year.
The Virginia SLRP offers loan reimbursements for healthcare professionals who commit to work in an HPSA. Recipients can receive up to $140,000 over the course of four years if the maximum funds are matched by the practice site. Those who accept the funds must work for a minimum of two years at an eligible HPSA.
Who Is Eligible: NPs, CNMs, and RNs who hold Virginia residency and a valid state nursing license are eligible to apply.
The Washington Health Corps encourages healthcare professionals to provide care at an HPSA in exchange for loan reimbursement. Recipients can receive up to $75,000 for a three-year service commitment. They must work no less than 24 hours per week with no more than 40 days away from the clinic per year.
Who Is Eligible: NPs, RNs, and CNMs who hold Washington state residency and a valid state nursing license are eligible to apply.
The West Virginia SLRP provides reimbursement for qualified government and commercial education loans for nursing professionals who commit to working full-time for two years at an eligible HPSA. Recipients can reapply after their second year for two one-year extensions for a four-year maximum reimbursement of $90,000, which includes $40,000 for the first two years and $25,000 for each extension year.
Who Is Eligible: NPs and CNMs who have a valid West Virginia nursing license are eligible to apply. Applicants cannot be under any obligation with a professional health services program.
The Wisconsin health professions loan assistance program provides NPs and CNMs up to $25,000 in assistance for working in an outpatient setting at an approved HPSA. Recipients must commit to working three years in an underserved rural or urban community.
Who Is Eligible: NPs and CNMs who are residents of Wisconsin and have a valid nursing license are eligible to apply.
The Wyoming SLRP incentivizes working in HPSAs by providing $20,000 in loan repayment for those who are willing to commit to two years of service at a National Health Service Corps site.
Who Is Eligible: All applicants must already practice at a National Health Service Corps site full time. NPs and CNMs who hold Wyoming residency and a valid state nursing license are eligible to apply.
- Student Loan Forgiveness for Nurses
- Internships and Volunteer Opportunities for High School and Pre-Nursing Students
- Nursing Compact States in 2021
- The Best States to Work as a Nurse
Feature Image: AndreyPopov / iStock / Getty Images Plus
NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?
Resources and articles written by professionals and other nurses like you.