If you have student loans, you have probably heard of student loan debt forgiveness. Your employer or some other entity pays off loans for you, often to fairly high limits. You need to qualify, and here I have written up some help in that process.
NHSC? Who is that?
You probably have heard of the Peace Corps or Americorps. The NHSC has some similarities, but you don’t work for the NHSC, you work at an NHSC approved site, in an approved position. NHSC stands for National Health Service Corps, a department in the US Department of Health and Human Services, under the Health Resources and Services Administration.
What does the NHSC do?
The NHSC helps attract health care workers for locations that don’t get enough applicants but that still need professionals. For instance, a facility that has trouble due a remote or inner city location, or perhaps due to the type of facility, like a mental health facility or correctional institution where fewer people want to work.
The NHSC then offers some help – you had to see this coming – through student loan debt forgiveness. And they are serious about it. In some cases, you can qualify for up to $50k. Helpful, right?
How to Get the Cash
You have to be as serious about work as the agency is about awarding this money to get it. You have to be licensed in your field. Here is a short list for reference, from the NHSC Loan Repayment Program site (From http://nhsc.bhpr.hrsa.gov/applications/lrp/default.htm)
– Allopathic (MDs) or Osteopathic (DOs) physicians
– Primary Care Certified Nurse Practitioners (NPs)
– Certified Nurse-Midwives (NMs)
– Primary Care Physician Assistants (PAs)
– General Practice or Pediatric Dentists (DDSs or DMDs)
– Registered Clinical Dental Hygienists (DHs)
– Health Service Psychologists (HSPs)
– Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs)
– Psychiatric Nurse Specialists (PNSs)
– Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs)
– Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs)
That’s quite a list. To take advantage of the program, hop over to their site and read up on it. You have to apply during an open season, and be selected. The awards go to those with the most need, so keep that in mind.
On the NHSC site, you can also find a list of facilities that employ people who can qualify. The site lists a couple of requirements, such as that you be licensed and fully trained, and working at the site. Not all positions qualify for the loan repayment, so be sure to check in advance.
The list of places to work has hundreds of entries. It has clinics, hospitals, correctional institutions, prisons, mental health clinics, dental offices, tons of places to work. You may already work at an approved facility.
Where to Find More Info
To contact the NHSC and find their rules for this program, check out the link above. I found this site through the American Counseling Association, or ACA website. If you work in a professional field, you can find an association that relates to your career. Your association may have more information on loan student loan debt forgiveness. Start looking around, and you may be surprised what you find.
The American Medical Association (AMA), for example, has some loan forgiveness info on their site as well. The New York State Nurses Association,or NYSNA, also offers guidance. Look for a state or national association that relates to your field and see if you can start applying for some kind of student loan debt reduction program.
How did we live before the internet? Finding these resources takes time, and some work. When you are up to your ears in debt, you might not think of programs like these, and not everyone can get into one of these programs. Still, I believe that with consistent effort, you will make a dent. You chose a great career helping people, and many groups and associations understand that, and offer help.
If the above careers don’t apply to you, remember many more student loan debt forgiveness programs apply to other fields. I’ve found some programs for engineers, even. Many states have programs for teachers and public safety workers like police officers and firefighters. Lawyers in public service also have many programs they can apply to for relief.
Keep trying, apply to the programs you can, and thank you for the work you do wherever you are.