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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Student Loan Repayment Option from the National Health Service Corps

Thanksgiving dinner can be about more than just the turkey and shrimp-stuffed merliton!  A casual conversation with friends who are still repaying college student loans pointed to this great resource about student loan replayment help for up to $50,000 in debt. 

The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) designated funds to help repay up to $50,000 in student loans to primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, physician assistants, dentists, dental hygienists and behavioral and mental health providers.  They must serve two-years in a health professional shortage area (HPSA) designated by the US Department of Health and Human Services.   Even better, the loan repayment help is free from taxes.

The average student loan debt burden in 2009, according to the Institute for College Access and Success, is $24,000, although average student loan debt for physicians exceeds $150,000.*

An easy-to-use map for finding these HPSA job opportunities is available and the directions are in simple English.  (thank you!)  Nice to know that if your future employer is not one of the previously designated  agencies, if they are located in a HPSA, their human resources office can still apply to have your loans considered for repayment.  

WARNING:  Be sure and either read this complete overview of the National Health Service Student Loan Repayment program and/or call their help desk with questions at 1-800-221-9393 (TTY: 1-877-897-9910) Monday through Friday (except Federal holidays) 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET.   Congress can move to repeal ARRA benefits at anytime, so please make the phone call first just to ensure that this act's provisions are still in effect and are being funded.      

Something else to be thankful for this year! 

*Student loan debt figures for physicians taken from the American Medical Association website November 2010 and sourced AAMC 2009 Graduation Questionnaire.  AAMC stands for Association of American Colleges of Medicine 

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