RCPA - Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association


New PHEAA Registered Nurse Loan Forgiveness
November 8, 2001

The PHEAA Nursing Loan Forgiveness Program was signed into law on October 30 by Governor Mark Schweiker. The loan repayment provisions will be helpful to recent graduates of Registered Nurse programs, provided they meet eligibility requirements and agree to practice professional nursing in Pennsylvania for at least three consecutive years.

Enacted as part of the Tobacco Settlement legislation, $3 million has been appropriated for this program, administered by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency's (PHEAA) State Grant and Special Programs Division. The program provides partial forgiveness of PHEAA-administered federally insured student loan indebtedness for nurses who are working in an eligible nursing facility, to assist in recruitment and retention efforts for these critical patient care positions. A lottery system will be used if resources are not sufficient to fund all eligible applicants.

The program will forgive (repay) up to 50 percent of a borrowers outstanding PHEAA-administered federally insured student loan debt over a period of three years, paying 33 1/3 percent of the total each year. This amount may not exceed $50,000. To be eligible for loan forgiveness, nurses must graduate from an approved nursing program at an approved institution of higher learning after July 1, 2001 or before December 31, 2001 and be a Pennsylvania resident. To view a list of approved registered nursing programs, please go to www.psna.org, the PA State Nursing Association's web site. The Education and Work Requirements are also available at that site.

Applications may be obtained from members of the General Assembly or directly from PHEAA. Application deadline is December 31. Applications received after this date may be considered if resources are available for additional recipients. Applications are available in downloadable format from www.psna.org. You may also call or write: The PA Nursing Loan Forgiveness Program, P.O. Box 8114, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8114, 800-692-7392.

Federal Legislation for Nurses

The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions adopted an amended Nursing Employment and Education Development Act. The amended S. 721 would authorize, over six years, $85 million for a nursing corps loan repayment program, $60 million for hospitals to develop and evaluate models and best practices for retaining nurses, and $85 million for a student loan fund to fast-track nursing faculty development. Other provisions include funding for multimedia nurse recruitment campaigns, community outreach programs to recruit and retain nurses, and career ladder programs. The bill will next move to the Senate floor.

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