How can RNs who are busy manage their work schedules and enjoy a fulfilling life outside of work while paying off student loans? We’ll explore some strategies.
It is difficult to pay off student loans, especially for nurses and advanced practitioners.
Nursing graduates, a profession that increasingly requires advanced degrees, have the highest student loan rates. According to the Department of Education’s College Scorecard, the median student loan debt for nurses who have graduate degrees is nearly $49,817.
Many RNs are going to be challenged by managing their student loan debt in the coming decade.
How can busy RNs manage a hectic work schedule, pay off student loans and enjoy a fulfilling life outside of work while still managing a busy schedule? We’ll explore some strategies.
Best Nursing student loan refinance in 2023
You’re not the only advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who have student loan debt to pay off. Most APRN graduates are still paying off student loans.
- 74% of Nurse Practitioners
- Clinical Nurse Specialists: 61%
- 75% of Certified Nurse Midwives
- 92% of Certified Nurse Anaesthetists
Graduates of advanced degree nursing programs have a few options to pay off their student loans once they are employed and earning a wage. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of an RN is $80.010 in 2020-2021, while the median salary of APRNs is $120.680. The typical student debt for APRNs is between $25,000 and $55,000. CRNAs, on the other hand, often have student debts of $100,000 or higher.
- Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) – $19,928 average debt.
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing – Average debt of $23,711.
- Master of Science in Nursing – Average debt of $47,321
These are the top ways to eliminate nursing school debt quickly.
Find a Nursing student loan refinance Service
Don’t hesitate to apply if you are an advanced practitioner who has student loan debt. These programs will help you pay back a portion. Federal student loan forgiveness programs are:
Public Service Loan Forgiveness – This is a great option for nurses working for nonprofits or government agencies. You can have your federal debt forgiven if you make 120 qualifying payments. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), approximately 70% of nursing students leave nursing school with student loan debt. 57% of these students plan to use PSLF to reduce this debt.
Nurse Corp Loan Repayment Program – This program reimburses up to 85% of unpaid nursing education loans for nurse practitioners working in Critical Shortage Facilities (CSFs) or as faculty at eligible nursing schools.
Indian Health Services Loan Program (IHS). This program allows clinicians to pay back their education loans up to $40,000. In exchange for a two-year commitment to work in health facilities that serve American Indian and Alaska Native Communities.
Also, state-level programs for loan forgiveness are available to advanced practitioners and RNs. The requirements, eligibility, and work commitments differ by state. Find information on specific state programs on your state website.
Refinance and Consolidate
Refinancing can help you get a lower rate of interest, which will allow you to pay less or repay your loan faster, depending on your income. Refinancing is a good option if you are paying higher interest rates on graduate school loans and do not qualify for loan forgiveness. Visit Laurel Road to learn more about the student loan refinancing programs available. If you refinance your federal student loans, then you are no longer eligible for any federal programs such as deferment or forbearance.
Consolidation can help simplify repayment if you have multiple federal loans with different loan servicers. You will only receive one bill per month. Consolidation allows you to lower your monthly payments by extending the repayment period (up to thirty years) of your student loans.
Nurses can make extra payments on their student loans to reduce debt, pay them off faster, and save money.
You can pay extra by either setting up automatic monthly payments that are higher than the amount of your monthly repayment or paying a lump sum whenever you have extra money on hand.
Make sure you tell your loan servicer how to apply for your extra payment so that the money is distributed correctly and no interest accrues.
Consider Income-Based Repayment
When borrowers are having difficulty making payments, federal programs like Income-driven Repayment (IDR) offer them other options than forbearance. Income-driven repayment options allow borrowers to adjust their payments according to their adjusted gross income, family size and not the amount they owe. IDR plans include:
- Income-Based Repayment
- Pay as You Earn (PAYE).
- Revised Pay as You Earn (REPAYE).
- Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR)
Due to the fact that nurses have a higher starting salary than many other professions and are therefore more likely to earn a higher income, income-based payments can result in larger, but still reasonable, payments, which are correlated with income. This leads to accelerated repayment. Find out more about income-based repayment.
Pay down Capitalized Interest
Capitalized interest is the unpaid interest that gets added to a student loan balance when you stop making payments. This can happen during periods of deferment and forbearance.
You should pay off the interest before it is added to the principal. If you pay the accrued interest, then you may be able to avoid capitalizing interest. You can pay off the interest on federal unsubsidized loans in one lump sum after the grace period, or any other deferment period.