Norton Healthcare has announced a new loan forgiveness program under which registered nurses who have student loans with Kentucky’s student loan provider can receive $2,500 in student loan forgiveness for each year worked as a full-time nurse at Norton Healthcare.
“The health care industry is facing the most critical nursing shortage in history … and we need to think of creative ways to attract qualified professionals to care for the sick and injured in our area,” said Stephen A. Williams, president and CEO of Norton Healthcare. “We hope the Norton Healthcare Best in Care Loan Forgiveness Plan will help relieve some of the burden nurses face. By doing so, we can help strengthen the quality of health care in our community.”
The Best in Care Program originally was created in 2003 by The Student Loan People, the state’s only public nonprofit student loan provider, to address Kentucky’s critical shortage in nursing. The program provided forgiveness for up to 20 percent of nursing student loans annually for each year of full-time nursing service. The program was funded by The Student Loan People’s federal interest subsidies and fee income, which were nearly eliminated when Congress passed the College Cost Reduction and Access Act in 2007. Consequently, nursing school graduates now are unexpectedly required to pay back student loans they thought would be forgiven.
Norton’s plan – which begins Jan. 1, 2009 – applies to both currently employed and newly hired registered nurses who have student loans with The Student Loan People.
There currently are approximately 350 nurses employed at Norton Healthcare with outstanding loans and 3,887 nurses throughout Kentucky who participated in the Best in Care Program when it was administered by The Student Loan People.