State loan repayment programs
Many states have programs that repay part of pharmacists’ student loans if they work in a Health Professional Shortage Area for a certain period of time.
For example, Alaska and Minnesota have pharmacist loan forgiveness programs that offer up to $35 thousand of forgiveness each year you work in an HPSA. Other states, such as California, Kentucky, and Oregon, offer different loan forgiveness options to healthcare professionals, including pharmacists. Check with your human resource department to see if your state has a student loan repayment program.
Related: Do Healthcare Workers Qualify for Student Loan Forgiveness?
National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Programs
These NIH programs — eight in total — are a treasure trove of opportunity. Each offers up to $35 thousand in student loan repayment per year. And the best part? Pharmacists qualify for five of these programs that are specifically for researchers not employed by the NIH:
Health disparities research
Contraception and infertility research
Clinical research for individuals with disadvantaged backgrounds
Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program
The IHS loan repayment program offers pharmacists and other medical professionals up to $40 thousand toward their student loan debt in exchange for two years of service in an area that serves American Indian or Alaska Native communities. The benefits don’t stop there. After the initial two years, you can extend your contract until all your qualified student loan debt is repaid.
The National Health Service Corps
NHSC launched a loan forgiveness program aimed at addressing the U.S. opioid crisis. The NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program offers up to $75 thousand in loan repayment in exchange for a three-year commitment from medical professionals. During this commitment, you must work full- or part-time at NHSC-approved sites and provide substance abuse disorder treatment.
Health Resources and Services Administration Faculty Loan Repayment Program
The HRSA’s Faculty Loan Repayment Program is a hidden gem that helps health professionals, including pharmacists, that come from disadvantaged backgrounds by offering up to $40,000 in student loan repayment if they agree to serve as faculty members at a health professions school for at least two years.
Related: Student Loan Forgiveness for First Responders
Armed Forces Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment Program
The Armed Forces Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment Program is a little-known benefit military branches use to encourage pharmacists and other medical professionals to serve.
Each military branch participates in it, though each has a different name according to the branch you join. And they each offer the same benefit — up to $40 thousand per year for up to three years for eligible active-duty service members.
But there’s a catch.
Federal taxes are taken from the loan forgiveness award before it’s disbursed. These taxes equate to about 25% of the award amount.
Contact the program manager of the military branch you’re serving in for more information.
Related: Student Loan Forgiveness Programs for Military Spouses