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Gov. Wolf is pressing to get more student loan debt relief to Pennsylvania nurses. The deadline to apply for an existing $20 million program is March 1.

When state Democrats announced the Nursing Workforce Initiative last fall, Pennsylvania’s nurses registered in droves for the program, which offers one-time payments of up to $7,500 in student loan debt forgiveness.

As of last month, more than 8,000 nurses had applied. The demand made it clear that the initial $5 million (part of what Pennsylvania received in federal pandemic relief funding) earmarked for student debt relief wouldn’t be enough. 

To make sure more applicants could partake, Gov. Tom Wolf last month signed off on bipartisan legislation that added $15 million to the program. Wolf is trying to do even more to help Pennsylvania’s nurses financially. He recently proposed that $35 million of the approximately $1.7 billion the state has remaining in pandemic relief money go toward health care worker student loan forgiveness.

The deadline for Pennsylvania nurses to apply for the existing $20 million in student loan relief is March 1. Here’s what you need to know to apply:

Who is Eligible?

Nurses licensed through the Pennsylvania Department of State who live in Pennsylvania are eligible. Applicants should have worked at least a combined 1,250 hours in a qualifying nursing facility, with employment beginning before Dec. 31, 2021, across the qualifying 12-month calendar year. Applicants should have outstanding qualifying student loan debt.

How Much Will I Receive?

Qualified applicants could receive up to $2,500 in relief for each year of work, beginning in 2020, for no more than three years.

How Are Candidates Chosen?

PHEAA will review all applications.

The total number of eligible applicants will be calculated for nine regions throughout the state based on county of residence. Each region will receive a percentage of the available funding based on the percentage of eligible applicants in that region divided by total eligible applicants in the state. Regional applicants will be randomly selected until funds are exhausted. If additional funding becomes available in that region, the next eligible candidate will be selected.

Where Can I Apply?

You can apply online via the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency’s website.