Advertiser Disclosure

7 Pharmacist Loan Forgiveness Programs

One of these programs may be a good option if your career goals align with requirements to work in the public sector or an underserved area.
May 24, 2019
Loans, Student Loans
7 Pharmacist Loan Forgiveness Programs
At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Several programs forgive or repay a portion of your pharmacy school loans if you meet the requirements, such as working in the public sector or in an underserved area for a certain amount of time.

A pharmacist loan forgiveness program may be the right option if your career plans align with one of these program’s requirements. If not, consider another pharmacy school loan repayment strategy such as student loan refinancing or income-driven repayment.

» MORE: Compare refinance options for pharmacists

Pharmacist loan forgiveness programs

1. Public Service Loan Forgiveness

For federal student loans only.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or PSLF, can wipe out your remaining federal student loan balance tax-free if you make 10 years’ worth of payments while working for the government or a qualifying nonprofit.

If you’re among the minority of pharmacists who are planning a career in public service, PSLF may be for you. Make sure you understand the program’s detailed requirements about qualifying loan types, payments and repayment plans.

To maximize your forgiveness amount, make qualifying payments on an income-driven repayment plan.

If you’re among the minority of pharmacists who are planning a career in public service, PSLF may be for you.

» MORE: Average pharmacist salary: How much does a pharmacist make?

2. State-based programs

Find out from your state if both federal and private student loans are eligible.

Many states have programs that repay a portion of pharmacists’ student loans if they work in a Health Professional Shortage Area for a certain period of time.

For example, the Alaska pharmacist loan forgiveness program, known as SHARP-1, offers $35,000 in annual student loan repayment to pharmacists and other health professionals who work in a shortage area for two years. Pharmacists receive $47,000 annually for working in an area designated as “very hard to fill.”

3. Health Resources and Services Administration Faculty Loan Repayment Program

Both federal and private student loans are eligible.

The HRSA’s Faculty Loan Repayment Program offers up to $40,000 in student loan repayment for health professionals — including pharmacists — who serve as a faculty member at a health professions school for at least two years.

To qualify, you must come from an economically or environmentally disadvantaged background.

» MORE: Average pharmacist student loan debt in 2018

4. National Health Service Corps Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program

For federal and private student loans.

The National Health Service Corps Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program offers up to $75,000 in student loan repayment for pharmacists who do three years of substance abuse disorder treatment at an approved site.

You’ll get priority for the program if you have a DATA 2000 waiver to prescribe approved narcotics to treat opioid use disorder, work in an opioid treatment program or are licensed or certified in substance use interventions.

5. National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Programs

For federal and private student loans.

There are eight National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Programs that each offer up to $35,000 in student loan repayment per year. Pharmacists qualify for the five programs that are for researchers not employed by the National Institutes of Health: clinical research, pediatric research, health disparities research, contraception and infertility research, and clinical research for individuals with disadvantaged backgrounds.

6. Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program

For federal and private student loans.

The Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program offers up to $40,000 in student loan repayment for pharmacists who work for at least two years in communities that serve American Indian or Alaska Native populations.

You may be able to extend your contract beyond the initial two years and continue receiving loan repayment benefits until your qualifying student loans are paid off.

Your loans don’t qualify if you refinanced or consolidated them with loans issued to someone else, like a parent or spouse. This loan repayment benefit is taxable, but the program pays a percentage of the federal taxes.

7. Armed Forces Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment Program

For federal and private loans.

If you serve as an active officer for the U.S. military, you may get up to $120,000 toward your pharmacy school loans through the Armed Forces Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment Program — $40,000 a year for three years.

About the author