Pharmacist student loan waiver: what you need to know
Pharmacist student loan waiver: what you need to know

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Pharmacy student loan forgiveness programs can help pay off some of your pharmacy student loan debt. (Shutterstock)

According to a study 2020 by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. Repaying this debt could take years (or even decades), but many pharmacists student loan forgiveness programs are available to help pay off part of the balance.

Here is an overview of some student loan waiver programs for pharmacists, who is eligible and what they offer.

If you don’t qualify for a forgiveness program, student loan refinancing can help lower your interest rate and monthly payments. Visit Credible to learn more about refinancing private student loans and to see your prequalified rates.

Cancellation of civil service loans

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) is available to federal borrowers who work for certain employers. You may qualify for this program if you are employed full-time by the US government; state, local or tribal governments; or certain non-profit organizations.

If you are eligible, the PSLF program will forgive your federal balance student loan debt after making 120 eligible payments while working for an eligible employer. You must also make payments under an income-based repayment plan (IDR) and have direct loans (or consolidate your existing federal loans into a federal direct consolidation loan). For more information on PSLF, visit the Federal Student Aid website.


State Pharmacist Student Loan Waiver

Depending on where you live, a state-based loan relief program for pharmacists may also be an option. State-specific programs vary, but generally offer loan forgiveness to healthcare professionals in exchange for a commitment to work in a designated field or organization.

Here are some state-based pharmacist student loan waiver programs and the help they offer:


  • Program: Arizona Department of Health Services Loan Repayment Program
  • Sorry available: Up to $50,000 the first two years, $25,000 the third year, $20,000 the fourth year and $10,000 the fifth year and each year thereafter


  • Program: California State Loan Repayment Program
  • Sorry available: Up to $50,000 for the first two years of full-time service, then $20,000 for extension years one and two and $10,000 for extension years three and four; up to $50,000 for the first four years of part-time service, then $10,000 in extension years one and two and $5,000 in extension years three and four


  • Program: Colorado Health Service Corps Loan Repayment
  • Sorry available: Up to $60,000 with a full-time obligation and up to $30,000 with a part-time obligation, both with a three-year commitment at an approved site


  • Program: Idaho State Loan Repayment Program
  • Sorry available: Between $10,000 and $25,000 per year (depending on the matched employer) with a two-year bond


  • Program: Kentucky State Loan Repayment Program
  • Sorry available: Up to $80,000 with a two-year commitment and sponsorship


  • Program: Massachusetts Loan Repayment Program for Healthcare Professionals
  • Sorry available: Up to $40,000 with a two-year full-time contract


  • Program: Loan Forgiveness Program for Rural Minnesota Pharmacists
  • Forgiveness available: $24,000 per year with a minimum service obligation of three years and a maximum service obligation of four years in rural areas


  • Program: Nebraska Loan Repayment Program
  • Sorry available: Up to $15,000 per year with employer matching, up to $100,000 maximum

New Mexico

  • Program: New Mexico Healthcare Professional Loan Repayment Program
  • Sorry available: Up to $35,000 per year with a minimum commitment of two years to practice full-time in a health professional shortage area

North Dakota

  • Program: North Dakota State Loan Repayment Program
  • Sorry available: Up to $50,000 per year for a full-time commitment and up to $25,000 per year for a part-time commitment to practice for two years in a selected field


  • Program: Oregon Healthcare Provider Incentive Loan Repayment
  • Sorry available: Up to $50,000 per year with a minimum three-year full-time obligation, up to 50% of total eligible loan debt balance; up to $25,000 per year with a minimum three-year part-time obligation

If you don’t live in a state that offers a student loan forgiveness program for pharmacists, refinancing could help make your student loan payments more manageable. You can compare private student loan refinance rates using Credible, and it won’t affect your credit score.

National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Program

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Loan Repayment Program provides up to $50,000 per year to eligible pharmacists, based on their total private and federal loan debt. This award is generally intended for pharmacists in research or lower-paying jobs within or outside the NIH in exchange for a commitment to engage in research with the NIH. To learn more, visit the NIH Loan Repayment Program Page.

National Health Service Corps Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program

The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) offers a loan forgiveness program to help tackle the opioid crisis in the United States. The NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program offers up to $75,000 in loan repayment in return for a three-year commitment.

During this commitment, fellows must work full-time or part-time at NHSC-approved sites and provide treatment for substance use disorders. These sites are generally considered to be areas of shortage of health professionals. For more information, visit the NHSC SOUTH Workforce LRP Page.


Administration of Health Resources and Services Teacher Loan Repayment Program

For pharmacists who are also professors at accredited health professions schools, HRSA’s Faculty Loan Repayment Program provides up to $40,000 in loan repayment assistance. This program is reserved for applicants with an employment contract of at least two years and from an economically disadvantaged background. To learn more, visit the HRSA Teacher Loan Repayment Program Page.

Armed Forces Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment Program

Each branch of the military participates in the Armed Forces Active Duty Healthcare Occupation Loan Repayment Program. Although each program has a different name depending on the branch you are contracted with, they all offer the same benefit – up to $40,000 per year for up to two years for eligible active duty members.

This means a maximum loan cancellation benefit of $80,000. With this program, federal taxes are deducted from the loan forgiveness allowance before it is disbursed. These taxes correspond to approximately 25% of the amount of the scholarship. Contact the program officer of the military branch in which you serve for more information.

Indian Health Services Loan Repayment Scheme

In return for a two-year clinical commitment, the Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Scheme offers eligible medical professionals up to $40,000 towards their student loan debt. To qualify, Fellows will be required to practice in Native American or Alaska Native communities with staffing needs for an initial two-year service commitment.

After the first two years, this contract can be extended each year until all of your eligible student loan debt is paid off. Visit the IHS Loan Repayment Program Page to learn more.

Refinance your student loans

If your career does not qualify for one of these student loan forgiveness programs, or if your loans do not qualify, refinance your student loans is another option to consider.

Refinancing can combine multiple loan balances into one loan, simplifying the repayment process. It can also result in a lower interest rate, a lower monthly payment, a shorter repayment term, or all three.

Student loan refinancing is especially beneficial if you work in the private sector and have a manageable debt-to-equity ratio (the amount of your gross monthly income that goes towards paying off your debt). Applying for and qualifying for a private refinance loan usually means meeting certain credit score, income, and debt requirements.

If you have federal student loans, it’s important to note that refinancing them into a private loan means giving up some of their greatest benefits. You will lose all eligibility for government loan forgiveness once you refinance these loans into a private student loan. You will also lose federal forbearance or deferment benefits, as well as access to income-tested reimbursement plans.

While a private student loan refinance is always a good idea for many borrowers, it’s important to consider all of these factors and the refinance fees before moving forward. If you decide to refinance, it’s important to shop around and compare the interest rates and repayment terms of three to five lenders to make sure you get it. the best refinancing offer for your situation.

If you’re ready to refinance, Credible makes it quick and easy compare student loan refinance rates from various private lenders.


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