Payments for all federal student loan debts are required to resume in October 2023. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 69% of nurses graduate from their nursing program with a minimum of $40,000 of federal student loan debt. For nurses and allieds, managing student loan repayment beginning in October may feel unattainable and intimidating. In order to prepare, allied health professionals and nurses must understand their options to repay their student loans.

Student Loan Repayment Options for Healthcare Workers

Many healthcare professionals do not qualify for student loan forgiveness programs that require working in public service, rural area health clinics, and nonprofits. As a result, healthcare workers must evaluate their options for repaying nurse student loans.

The nurses and allied professionals have several federal student loan repayment options, including the following:

  • SAVE Plan
  • Graduated Repayment Plan
  • Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan
  • Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR)
  • Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR)

Borrowers have the options mentioned above and more to assist with their federal student loan repayments. The following are some points to consider:


If a nurse’s student loan debt is from an undergraduate program, the SAVE plan will require payment to be 10% of their discretionary income.

However, starting on July 1st, 2024, only 5% of discretionary income will be calculated to determine the monthly payment for outstanding undergraduate student loans.

After 20 or 25 years of payments, the SAVE plan forgives the student loan debt. The amount of student loan debt and the type or degree of nursing program may affect the payment duration.

Pay As You Earn Repayment Program (PAYE Plan)

The PAYE plan calculates a nurse’s payment according to 10% of their discretionary income. However, under this PAYE plan, if the healthcare worker’s income increases, the new repayment amount will align with the ten-year standard repayment plan.

Income-Based Repayment Plan vs. Income-Contingent Repayment Plan

Like the SAVE plan, the Income-Based Repayment Plan and Income-Contigent Repayment Plan will forgive a nurse’s student loan debt after 20 or 25 years. Depending on whether they acquired the nursing student loan as an undergraduate or graduate student will determine when the debt is forgiven.

The Income-Based Repayment Plan vs. Income-Contigent Repayment Plan differs in payment calculations according to a nurse’s discretionary income.

The Income-Based Repayment Plan coincides with 10 or 15 percent of healthcare professionals’ discretionary income.

The Income-Contigent Repayment Plan calculates the repayment at 20% less than the discretionary income or what a nurse or allied professional would pay over 12 years on a fixed income.

Graduate Repayment Program

The Graduate Repayment Program’s primary goal is to repay the nursing school student loan within ten years. The payment will start as a lower payment and increase every two years.

Consolidated loans under the graduate repayment program have a payoff date of up to 30 years. Nurses who owe over $60,000 in consolidated student loan repayments have an approximate payoff of 30 years.

Besides the repayment options mentioned above, there are Standard Repayment Plans and Extended Repayment Plans that professional nurses with student loan debt to consider.

It is recommended before considering adjusting their budget, the healthcare professional can start their repayment plan strategy by using the loan simulator to get a better understanding of what they may owe monthly.

Taking Control of Healthcare Student Loan Debt With a Budget

Student loan debt repayments begin in October 2023, but interest accrues starting September 1, 2023. The nurse or allied professional’s loan servicer determines the exact date in October when student loan payments are due.

Healthcare workers can begin taking control of student loan debt with a budget. Improved money management can start with a budget and tracking subscription app or a simple free Google sheet to help organize income and track expenses.

The following are expenses that a nurse or allied can work to decrease to put toward their upcoming student loan repayment:

  • Housing 
  • Food
  • Monthly subscriptions
  • Monthly memberships
  • Automobile gas
  • Clothing and accessories

Temporarily taking on a roommate to pay a portion of the rent or mortgage is helpful to increase savings. Forbes reports that avoiding delivery fees and several takeout nights helps with household budgets.

Forgoing restaurants and cooking from scratch vegetable, pasta meals, and protein dinners can significantly reduce the amount spent on food. 

Another cost-saving technique is meal planning weekly or bi-weekly, which also helps with time management around your busy schedule. Meal plans can consist of prepared meals ready to freeze and warm up.

Cutting back on monthly subscriptions from streaming and various online shopping subscriptions can save someone over $100 monthly. Using apps like Rocket Money and Mint that offer free plans to manage subscriptions and budget expenses is helpful.

Canceling a gym membership and replacing it with free walks in the park, hikes, and other free workout options to decrease expenses can support your budget in repaying student loan debt.

Taking public transportation and biking to work can cut down the cost of automobile gas and parking fees. Shopping sales can save on clothing and accessories.

Use your talents to increase your income

Increasing the amount of income you earn can help with student loan repayments. Booking additional shifts or finding more lucrative local or travel assignments with the support of Medely can help transform how you earn. 

Whether a nurse specializing in long-term care or a radiology technician who needs additional income, Medely can assist in offering on-demand opportunities to healthcare professionals.

From per diem shifts to travel assignments, earning extra income is possible for nurses or allied professionals ready to earn and budget for student loan repayments.

Sign up with Medely to find on-demand shift and assignment opportunities to take control of your professional and personal life!