Minnesota Creates Nurse Loan Forgiveness Program

Gov. Tim Walz signed the Nurse and Patient Safety Act into law, providing eligible nurses and healthcare professionals with annual payments for existing loans. The bill goes into effect July 1.
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Published on June 28, 2023
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  • The commissioner of health will annually pay eligible nurses 15% of the average loan debt in their fields.
  • To enroll in the plan, nurses can select a two-year contract between practicing or teaching in higher education.
  • According to the bill, 75% of funding will go to rural physicians and 25% to underserved urban communities and pediatric psychiatry. This does not apply to hospital nurses.

Many nurses and other healthcare workers in Minnesota will soon be eligible for loan forgiveness under a new state law.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on May 26 signed into law the Nurse and Patient Safety Act, which includes a new loan forgiveness program for nurses and other healthcare practitioners. The law will pay eligible nurses 15% of the average loan debt for their fields if they serve a two-year contract to practice in certain areas or to teach before March 31, 2024, after training.

The bill, which goes into effect July 1, 2023, impacts eligible public health nurses, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives, nurse anesthetists, and advanced clinical nurse specialists.

To apply for loan forgiveness, a nurse must provide proof of nursing employment.

If selected, the nurse can choose from among two two-year contracts: either practicing in specific settings or teaching at least 12 credit hours — or 720 hours per year — in the field at the postsecondary undergraduate or graduate levels.

According to the bill, the commissioner of health can give preference to nurses with diverse cultural competencies, nurses deemed most suitable for practice serving the area or facility type, and how close a nurse is to completing training.

Where Do You Have to Serve?

  • Midlevel practitioners (nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, advanced clinical nurse specialist) who are teaching or practicing in rural areas, underserved urban areas, or pediatric psychiatry
  • Nurses practicing in a Minnesota nursing home or an intermediate care facility for people with developmental disabilities
  • Nurses working in a hospital if the hospital or its parent company owns a nursing home and the nurse works in the nursing home at least 50% of the time
  • Home care providers
  • Nurses providing direct care at a nonprofit hospital

How Will You Receive Loan Repayments?

According to the bill, not all healthcare workers who apply will receive loan forgiveness: 75% of funding will go to rural physicians and 25% to underserved urban communities and pediatric psychiatry. This, however, does not apply to hospital nurses.

Every year, the commissioner will give eligible nurses 15% of the average educational debt in their profession. The loan forgiveness can't exceed the amount of loans a nurse has.

The nurse must verify to the commissioner that they applied the forgiveness funding to the loans, and the commissioner must approve it before the next funding disseminates.