Healthcare Technology Featured Article

September 12, 2023

Addressing the Healthcare Shortage with Loan Forgiveness

The US healthcare community is facing a dire shortage. Decreasing numbers of doctors and nurses can largely be attributed to two primary factors: the high cost of education, and professional burnout due to the long hours and stressful nature of the job. According to a 2022 survey, more than a quarter of RNs reported that they plan to retire within 5 years (a 6% increase from 2 years prior) – a daunting prospect considering that the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that more than 275,000 additional nurses will be needed from 2020 to 2030.

The path to becoming a healthcare practitioner often involves years of expensive education, resulting in substantial student loan debt. This financial burden can deter many potential candidates from entering the field. To combat this issue, student loan forgiveness programs such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) can help draw people back to the healthcare landscape, making it possible to afford a quality education and pursue their professional passions.

Government and Institutional Assistance

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program offers student loan forgiveness to borrowers who make 120 qualifying payments while working full-time for a qualifying employer, typically a government or non-profit organization. The goal of this program is to encourage individuals to enter and continue to work full-time in public service jobs, including healthcare, especially in higher-need areas. By providing relief from student loan debt, PSLF works to remove a significant financial barrier that has kept many people from a rewarding career in healthcare.

The federal government also offers payment assistance to those enrolled in Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans, regardless of whether they are employed in the public or private sector. These plans ensure manageable monthly payments by adjusting them to suit the borrower’s income and family size. When enrolled in an IDR plan, you are also eligible for student loan forgiveness at the end of a period of 10 to 25 years, depending on your plan and the details of your loans.

Additionally, there are statewide initiatives to address the healthcare practitioner shortage, such as Minnesota’s Coalition for Nursing Equity and Excellence, aimed at working with all nursing schools and other stakeholders in the state to increase enrollment and student success in nurse education programs. Similar initiatives are underway in Florida and Louisiana.

Career Goals

When it comes to healthcare, having well-educated and experienced practitioners is vital. By encouraging people to pursue a career in this field through student loan forgiveness and other education assistance programs, we are helping to ensure quality care for all patients, regardless of their financial background. The high cost of education doesn’t have to be a barrier to entry, or a reason to choose one job or another, when borrowers can learn about and utilize the right federal assistance programs.

Benefits to Many

Access to student loan forgiveness programs is an important component to addressing the decline in professionals pursuing careers in healthcare in the US. By improving access to and creating more awareness about these programs, we could encourage more healthcare practitioners to realize their personal goals and pursue their dream career. In turn, this could result in improved access to quality medical care for all, including individuals and their families who need it most.



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