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Top 3 Ways to Repay Nursing Student Loan Debt


Bree Becker, MSN, FNP-C, RNC-MNN
December 15, 2021
Top 3 Ways to Repay Nursing Student Loan Debt

As of December 22, 2021, President Biden announced student loan repayment will be delayed, along with interest accruals, until May 1, 2022.


It’s December- my favorite time of the year. I love everything about the holidays. The lights, trees, shopping for gifts for all my family and friends, seeing all my family and friends, and obviously Christmas music. But Christmas spirit costs money. For many of us this holiday, we are juggling the added expenses of the season and gearing up for a new expense in 2022. At the start of the new year, over 43 million Americans will be expected to start repaying their student loan debt. The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act of 2020 paused student loan payments along with interests due to the financial crisis related to COVID-19. What was supposed to be a 6-month reprieve turned into an almost 2-year break for loan borrowers. Despite lobbying, hope, and prayer, student debts will not be erased, and President Joe Biden confirmed that the CARES Act was in its final days last August. Nurses and other frontline healthcare workers hoped their student loan debt would be forgiven, but alas, they will be part of the 43 million Americans to resume payments after January 31, 2022.

Nursing school is expensive, and data shows that almost 70% of nursing students use financial aid during their education. A recent article by CNBC states that over 75% of borrowers will experience financial hardship once repayment begins. Depending on the type and length of program a nurse attends, their debt can range from $19,000 to $47,000 and monthly payments average $400. Owing money for your education is daunting, preventing some from advancing their education or even delaying retirement. Allmost 20% of nurses older than 55 years of age are still carrying educational debt. Healthcare has the largest number of working mothers compared to other industries; one can infer that some nurses are still paying for their college education when they are starting to think about sending their own children to college.

This holiday, we think it’s important to start planning for your student loan payback and we’ve researched numerous ways for nurses to quickly pay back their loans. Counting down, here are the Top 3 Ways to Payback Your Loans. We saved the best for last.


#3 – Forgiveness

So maybe healthcare workers won’t get their loan debt wiped clean, but there are other loan forgiveness programs for nurses. For nurses who work for a non-profit or government facility, there is Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). After you make 120 payments towards your loan, and you work for a qualifying employer at least 30 hours a week, you can apply. If you meet the remaining criteria, the remaining balance (after 120 payments) is forgiven.

The Nurse Corp Loan Repayment Program is another option if you don’t qualify for PSLF.  If you work in an area that is considered a critical shortage facility, this is a great forgiveness program for you. Your loan is forgiven faster and it will pay up to 60% of your loan balance. You can find the current application guide here.


#2 – Found Money

Found money is sometimes called unexpected money and it’s a little more than finding a penny on the sidewalk or a wadded up $20 bill in your coat pocket. Found money is extra income you weren’t expecting or depending on – like a raise. If you get a work bonus or a check from grandma, instead of buying a new shirt or spending it all on double cappuccinos from Starbucks (not that I do that), pay it toward your loan. Most financial experts recommend using 50% of extra or unexpected income toward debt, 30% to savings, and then 20% for something fun. Side hustles, such as picking up extra shifts, are another great way to make extra found money.

You can also find extra money by spending time looking at your finances and creating a budget using the same 50, 30, 20, rule but with a different twist. Accounting for essentials, savings, and fun, this budget recommends that 50% of your paycheck goes to essentials like rent, utilities, debt, and other bills. Then 20% of your paycheck can be put into savings or investments, and 30% can be used at your discretion. Regardless of what method you choose, create a budget that is simple and that you are likely to follow.


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