Despite the financial and professional rewards, a pharmacy degree can be expensive. If you qualify for student loan forgiveness, however, these costs become much more manageable. Whether you’re a new graduate or someone considering ways to afford pharmacy school, these pharmacist loan waiver programs might be worth pursuing.
Can pharmacists get loan forgiveness?
There are several ways pharmacists can qualify for student loan forgiveness. Being in the medical industry provides graduates in this field with additional loan forgiveness options that might not be available to the general public.
Keep in mind that most of these programs only forgive a portion of a student’s loan balance and you often have to continue making loan payments while you work to qualify. In many cases, the forgiveness is also limited to federal student loans. However, if you’re looking for ways to reduce your balance, one of these programs might be worth considering.
6 Student Loan Forgiveness Programs for Pharmacists
If you’re a pharmacist and want to get student loan forgiveness, it’s worth learning about the following programs to see if you qualify. Below are six student loan forgiveness programs you might consider applying for after graduation.
Civil Service Loan Waiver (PSLF)
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or PSLF, is one program that could help you pay off a lot of your federal student loan debt. After making payments on your student loans for 10 years (120 payments), you may qualify for a forgiveness of your remaining balance.
You may be eligible for the PSLF as a pharmacist if you work in one of the following areas:
- Non-profit organisation.
- Government agency (federal, state, local, or tribal), including the military.
You must also have direct loans to qualify for the PSLF. However, you may be able to consolidate your federal student loans into a new direct loan if they don’t already fall into this category.
How to register: Fill out a PSLF applicationhave it signed by your employer and submit the completed application to FedLoan Servicing.
State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP)
The National Health Service Corps State Loan Repayment Program, or SLRP, provides full or partial student loan forgiveness to students who work in a health professional shortage area (HPSA).
Program benefits and qualification requirements differ from state to state. So you’ll need to check with your state of residence or the state you plan to live in after graduation for more information.
Here are some examples of the type of student loan forgiveness you may qualify for through an SLRP program:
- Washington Health Corps: Pharmacists may qualify for student loan forgiveness of up to $75,000 in exchange for a two to three year term in an HPSA.
- Colorado Health Services Corps: Full-time clinical pharmacists (i.e., those with a Pharm.D degree) can qualify for student loan forgiveness of up to $60,000 after working for three years at an accredited institution. the state.
- Oregon Partnership: Pharmacists who work in an approved HPSA can receive a rebate of up to 50% of their eligible student debt (dollar limits apply).
How to register: Visit the Health Resources and Services Administration website to find state loan repayment program options, eligibility requirements, and application requirements for your state.
NHSC Loan Repayment Schemes
In addition to the SLRPs available through the National Health Services Corps, the organization also offers two other loan repayment programs that might work for pharmacists:
- NHSC Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Workforce Loan Repayment Scheme: Qualified pharmacists may be eligible for up to $75,000 in loan repayment funds after working at least three years in an NHSC-approved substance abuse disorder treatment facility.
- NHLC Rural Community Loan Repayment Program: Pharmacists may be eligible for student loan repayment of up to $100,000 in exchange for a full-time commitment to work at least three years in an NHSC-approved rural substance abuse treatment facility.
How to register: You can submit an application with the National Health Service Corps. The two programs above use the same application. However, you must choose which program you want to apply for, as you cannot receive loan repayment benefits from both.
National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Program
The National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Program aims to attract high-quality health care professionals to careers in biobehavioral and biomedical research. The programs also aim to encourage medical research professionals to stay in these positions.
Eligible pharmacists in research positions can receive up to $50,000 per year in student loan repayment. In exchange for this financial incentive, you must commit to participating in NIH “mission-relevant” research.
How to register: You can review the application requirements and apply for an NIH Loan Repayment Program through the National Institutes of Health website.
Indian Health Services Loan Repayment Scheme
Pharmacists who work (or wish to work in) a healthcare facility that serves Native American or Alaska Native communities may be eligible for partial or full student loan forgiveness through the Health Services Loan Repayment Program indians. Up to $40,000 in initial loan repayment is available to pharmacists and other healthcare professionals under the program.
To qualify, you must initially commit to two years of service at an eligible health care facility. But you may be eligible to extend your contract beyond the first two years and receive additional funding each year until you have cleared all of your eligible student debt.
How to register: You can complete and submit your loan repayment request online via the Indian health service website.
Health Resources and Services Administration Faculty Loan Repayment Program
If you come from a disadvantaged background (for economic or environmental reasons), you may qualify for the Teacher Loan Repayment Program through the Bureau of Health Workforce. Eligible pharmacists who are on the faculty of a health professional school can take advantage of this program.
You can receive up to $40,000 over two years for your commitment to teach. After the initial two-year commitment, you may be able to extend your contract.
How to register: Visit the Health Resources and Services Administration website to submit a request through the customer service portal.
What to do if you don’t qualify for student loan forgiveness
As useful as student loan forgiveness programs are, they are not available to everyone. If you are unable to qualify for student loan forgiveness, here are some other options that may help you manage your pharmacy school debt.
For federal student loans, an income-based repayment plan could help lower the cost of your monthly payments. These plans use your income and family size to determine your payments – usually 10 or 15% of your Discretionary Income each month.
Most income-oriented repayment plans last 20 or 25 years. Upon completion of the plan, the US Department of Education may cancel any remaining loan balance.
Depending on your loan details, refinancing your student loans can save you money each month or over time. If you have a good credit rating, you may qualify for a lower interest rate or you may refinance for a longer term to get a lower monthly payment.
It is important to note that you can only refinance your student loans with a private lender. if you’re refinancing federal student loans, you’ll have to sacrifice some benefits in order to take advantage of a potentially lower interest rate.