Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Health Workers to Get Help With Student Loan Debt

The National Health Service Corps is accepting applications from primary medical care professionals who are willing to work in underserved areas in exchange for a reduction in their student loan debt.

Through the NHSC student loan repayment program, you can receive up to ,000 toward the balance on your student loans if you successfully complete the program's two-year service requirement. Two-year half-time commitments are also being sought, in exchange for ,000 in student loan debt reduction.

Clinicians willing to make a five-year commitment to the program can receive up to 0,000 in student loan debt relief. Eligible applicants who are willing to commit to six or more years of service are eligible to have the entire balance of all their federal student loans forgiven.

The student loan debt relief offered by the NHSC repayment program applies to federal, state, local, and private student loans.

>> Qualifying for the NHSC Student Loan Repayment Program

In order to qualify for repayment through the NHSC program, your student loans must have been taken out prior to your enrollment in the program. The program will not repay student loans that were not clearly used to pay for education or student loans that were not issued by a government or commercial lender (i.e., personal loans).

College loans that have already been repaid; parent loans, such as those issued under the federal PLUS parent loan program; personal lines of credit; residency relocation loans; and credit card balances are not eligible for repayment under the NHSC student loan debt relief program.

In addition to offering student loan forgiveness to qualified applicants, the program also offers incentives for providers willing to work half-time in underserved areas, including more flexible student loan repayment terms and credits for teaching.

Service is needed in extremely rural areas where primary medical care is otherwise unavailable and in more densely populated but underserved urban areas. Qualifying primary care positions are also available at state and federal correctional institutions, community mental health facilities, Indian Health Service provider sites, hospital-affiliated primary care practices, public health programs, and community care facilities.

The NHSC is actively seeking medical doctors, psychiatrists, licensed mental health counselors, dentists, physicians' assistants, and nurses. All licensed primary care providers, nurses, and mental health providers are eligible to participate in the student loan repayment program; however, if you opt to make a full-time commitment to the NHSC, you must not already be participating in another federal or state program, or have active or pending military duties that would prevent you from fulfilling your NHSC work commitments.

>> Applying for the NHSC Student Loan Repayment Program

To get more information or apply for the NHSC student loan debt relief program, visit the NHSC website.

From the NHSC website, you can find out more about the agency, browse a database of program FAQs, and find open job positions in all 50 states that are eligible for the student loan repayment program.

>> About the National Health Service Corps

Part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the NHSC currently employs about 7,500 primary care providers at 10,000 sites around the United States. The NHSC expects to employ 11,000 health care professionals by the end of 2011 and 15,000 by the end of 2015.

The student loan repayment program is funded by a nearly 0 million appropriation from the Affordable Care Act.

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