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Assistance for Primary Health Care Providers to Repay Their Student Loans

September 10, 2012

At Nelnet, we pride ourselves in staying in the customers’ world. We take our jobs seriously, but not ourselves. As we conduct meetings, make calls, perform presentations, and attend conferences, we’re often struck by the commitment of our school partners to continue the fight for their borrowers.

As we all know, money is tight.  Often, we hear from our school partners about how difficult it is to get funding for their borrowers. Additionally, we hear from borrowers directly about the struggle they have keeping up with payments, once they fall into repayment.

Recently, in a conversation with one of our school partners, we learned about a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The program is called National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program. The goal of the program is to assist primary health care providers to repay their student loans. The program is designed to provide health care (and possibly teaching) to places with limited health care available.

For example, a borrower can work full-time for four years at a designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA’s) site. In return, the health care provider gets a portion (or all) of their student loans repaid. The repayment amounts are impressive, and this could be another way to assist them in managing their debt. The chart below outlines the time commitment along with the amount of pay-off involved with successful completion of the program.


2 Years Full-time

4 Years Half-time

2 Years Half-time

Sites with HPSA Score of 14+

Up to $60,000

Up to $60,000

Up to $30,000

Sites with HPSA Score of 0–13

Up to $40,000

Up to $40,000

Up to $20,000


With continued service, NHSC providers may be able to pay off all of their student loans.

As the chart illustrates, a health care provider may also choose to work half time at a HPSA site. This may allow someone to continue exploring their options as a health care provider, and still be in good standing on their student loans. However, it also doubles their time commitment, so it would be up to the individual as to what works best for them.

Here are a few more additional details about the program:

  •  Specialties include, but are not limited to, Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, and Mental and Behavioral Health
  •  You must be a US Citizen or US National
  •  The amount(s) of the pay-off is NOT taxable
  •  There is an application process involved in signing up for the program

Again, we want to thank our school partners for continuing to share with us information to pass along. For more information about this program, please visit

Jon Potter, Western Regional Director (CA)


One Comment leave one →
  1. September 10, 2012 12:31 pm

    Great information, jep!

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