The Bottom Line: Loan Repayment Under the NCLRP

The Bottom Line: Loan Repayment Under the NCLRP

Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program (NCLRP)

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Nurse practitioners selected to participate in NCLRP make a promise to work in underserved healthcare organizations in underserved regions or in much-needed nurse training roles for a minimum of two (and up to three) years.

In exchange, 60 to 85 percent of the NP’s student loans will be repaidprehensive information about NCLRP is available through the Bureau of Health Workforce Health Resources and Services Administration.

Qualifying Loans for the NCLRP

The loans that an NP takes out while attending nursing school and any loans taken to complete prerequisites that were not applied to a non-nursing degree qualify an NP for NCLRP:

  • Government loans (except Perkins and Parents PLUS)
  • Private loans from entities subject to federal and state examination as lenders

If a nursing prerequisite was applied to a BS in biology or an MBA program, for instance, the loans utilized to earn the nursing prerequisite do not qualify.

Qualifying Employers for the NCLRP

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  • 32 hours per week for 45 weeks per year at a critical shortage facility (CSF) in or serving a health professional shortage area (HPSA)-an area lacking primary care and/or mental health professionals (e.g., critical access hospitals, urgent care centers, rural health clinics, etc.)
  • Nine months per year at a qualifying school of nursing

To qualify for NCLRP, NPs must work for one employer or within the same network of dependent satellite facilities. An NP working for multiple employers does not qualify for NCLRP.

Once accepted to become a part of NCLRP, the entire two-year contract must be completed in the original arena-an NP who began their NCLRP contract at a CSF (critical shortage facility) cannot switch to a nursing faculty track until after the contract period is complete.

  • Clinics in prisons
  • Staffing and travel nurse agencies

How Loan Repayment Works Under NCLRP

An NP must already be working or have a contract to work full-time at a CSF in an HSPA or at a qualifying school of nursing before applying. If accepted to participate, NPs sign a contract for two years worth of work. During this time, the participant will receive monthly payments that, over the two years, will add up to 60 percent of the NP’s outstanding, qualifying nursing loans.

If a participant plans to continue service at a CSF or as nurse faculty at the end of two years, some may be eligible to apply for a contract continuation for one extra year of loan repayment. The repayment in this third year will equal 25 percent of the original nursing debt, for a total of 85 percent nursing loan repayment.

Should an NP find themselves in breach of contract, they will be required to pay back any funds delivered during that time within three years of the breach.

Managing Consolidation

If an NP is consolidating loans from undergraduate nursing with loans from their , the consolidation needs to occur before the time of application. Two types of consolidation will disqualify an NP from eligibility:

  • Consolidating non-nursing debt with nursing debt
  • Consolidating debt with another person

Because of the intent of the program, funding preferences are given to CSF applicants with the highest debt-to-salary ratios and those who are working in the highest need regions. Someone with a lot of debt and a lower-end salary working in the highest-need regions would be the most likely to be chosen for the program.

For those going into nurse education, participation priority will be given to those with a high debt-to-salary ratio teaching at a school of nursing where 50 percent of students come from a disadvantaged background.

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