Employer-assisted Loan Forgiveness Programs
Big Stone Therapies (BST): Scholarship Program
The Big Stone Therapies (BST) Scholarship Program offers $10,000 to support educational expenses incurred through therapy care provider training in exchange for an employment commitment to provide therapy clinical services in a Big Stone Therapies rural location following graduation.
Federal Loan Forgiveness Programs
U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
The Department of Education (ED) Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) forgives the remaining balance on your federal Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer.
This program has very specific qualifying requirements and approval has been challenging for many, so it is recommended that you examine your eligibility very closely and contact PSLF program representatives with all questions.
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA): Health Professional Scholarship Program (HPSP)
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Professional Scholarship Program (HPSP) awards scholarships to students receiving education/training in a health care services discipline. Awards will be offered on a competitive basis and are exempt from Federal taxation. In exchange for the award, scholarship program participants agree to a service obligation in a VA health care facility.
Physical Therapy was not one of the eligible professions in fiscal year (FY) 2019. However, During FY 2020, HPSP anticipates offering scholarships to Medical Officers (Medical School Students) to meet the requirement introduced as part of the VA Mission Act of 2018. Program details will be released Fall 2019. The Physical Therapy program at the University of Minnesota resides within the Medical School, so it is possible that students would qualify for this opportunity.
Veterans Affairs (VA): Education Debt Reduction Program (EDRP)
The Veterans Affairs Education Debt Reduction Program (EDRP) offers student loan repayment of up to $200,000 over a five-year period to qualifying employees in specific, difficult-to-recruit direct patient care positions.
Veterans Affairs (VA): GI Bill Benefits
Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits through the GI Bill offer financial support to qualifying Veterans and their family members to cover some or all costs of education. This link also contains information regarding other GI Bill programs that may apply.
Health Services & Resources Administration (HRSA): Faculty Loan Repayment Program (FLRP)
The Health Services & Resources Administration (HRSA) Faculty Loan Repayment Program (FLRP) provides eligible individuals with health professions degrees and economic or environmentally disadvantaged backgrounds with the opportunity to receive loan repayment while serving as faculty members at accredited and eligible health professions schools.
Armed Services (Navy, Army, Air Force)
A number of options exist for service commitment loan forgiveness from military branches, such as the Navy Health Professions Student Loan Repayment Program, the Navy Student Loan Repayment Program, the Army National Guard Student Loan Repayment Program, the Army Loan Repayment Program (LRP), and the Airforce Student Loan Repayment Program.
State Loan Forgiveness Programs
National Health Service Corps (NHSC): State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP)
The National Health Service Corps (NHSC), part of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), awards scholarships and loan repayment to primary care providers working in health professional shortage areas (HPSAs). Their mission is to build healthy communities by supporting qualified health care providers dedicated to working in areas of the United States with limited access to care.
As of 2019, legislation is underway in an attempt to include Physical Therapy students and clinicians in this program’s eligibility criteria. While Physical Therapist students do not currently qualify for NHSC scholarships, practicing clinicians in a variety of fields are invited to apply for the State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) according to specific clinician eligibility criteria. Licensed Physical Therapists could perhaps make their case as providing primary care services in the HSPA category “Primary Medical Care”, though this approach may not be approved.
Indian Health Service Corps (IHS) Loan Repayment Program (LRP)
The Indian Health Service (IHS) Loan Repayment Program (LRP) funds IHS clinicians to repay their eligible health profession education loans — up to $40,000 — in exchange for an initial two-year service commitment to practice in health facilities serving American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Opportunities are based on Indian health program facilities with the greatest staffing needs in specific health profession disciplines. LRP participants are eligible to extend their contract annually until their qualified student debt is paid. Many health professionals enter this program because of the financial benefits but find the cultural and professional rewards to be so great that they spend their entire careers working in Indian health.
Physical Therapy is currently listed as an eligible profession for this opportunity with additional eligibility criteria defined. Applicants do not need to be of Native American or Alaskan descent to apply but are given priority consideration when all factors are equal between applicants.