Loan Forgiveness Questions and Answers

Frequently Asked Questions

Index

Program information

We have two different programs with two different application cycles:
  • Our State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) has an annual open application cycle each summer, typically June to August.
  • Our Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program has an annual open application cycle each fall, from November to January.
For the Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Programs, a qualified educational loan eligible for repayment means a government, commercial or foundation loan for actual costs paid for tuition, reasonable education expenses and reasonable living expenses related to the graduate or undergraduate education of a health care professional.

The Minnesota State Loan Repayment Program and the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program restrict eligible loans to government and commercial loans for educational purposes related to the degree under which you will be completing your service obligation.
Educational loans that have been paid in full, are in default, or were obtained for someone other than the applicant do not qualify. Personal lines of credit, credit card debt, and debt associated with relocation or residency programs, do not qualify for repayment.
Consolidated loans may be considered for repayment as long as they only include qualifying educational loans. You will be required to submit sufficient documentation for each consolidated loan in the form of: (a) an account statement and (b) a disbursement report.

Qualifying educational loans can be consolidated and/or refinanced with a private/commercial company (e.g. SoFi, Wells Fargo, Link Capital, LendKey). Refinancing or consolidation that includes other forms of non-educational debt are not allowable.
We will only pay for health profession educational loans related to the discipline in which you are awarded loan forgiveness/repayment. Any educational loans incurred to obtain a non-health related degree are not eligible.
Loans which are currently in default are not eligible.
The Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Programs are entirely funded by the state of Minnesota and administered by the Minnesota Department of Health, Office of Rural Health and Primary Care. This program is not worksite based. Recipients have the responsibility of finding their own work at an employer that meets the state criteria.

The Minnesota State Loan Repayment Program is funded by the state of Minnesota and a grant from the National Health Service Corps. It is administered by the Minnesota Department of Health, Office of Rural Health and Primary Care but must follow federal guidelines required under the grant. Recipients can only work at approved worksites that are also participating in the program.

The National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program is funded and administered by the federal government. The Minnesota Department of Health, Office of Rural Health and Primary Care provides technical assistance to sites and providers during the application process.
Candidates may apply for more than one program at the same time, depending on eligibility during the application cycle. However, Minnesota State Loan Repayment Program and the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program prohibit candidates from completing service obligations under multiple programs at the same time.

The Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program will ONLY allow an awardee to participate concurrently with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program, as only non-defaulted Direct Loans (subsidized, unsubsidized, consolidation, PLUS) are eligible under the federal program. If awarded, you must make arrangements with your loan servicer that you do not want the additional payment(s) received to cover all or part of one or more future payments, as this will make any future payments ineligible for the PSLF.

You cannot receive and participate in an award from SLRP, NHSC or Delta Dental.
No. Due to limited funding, the loan forgiveness and loan repayment programs are competitive and not all applicants are awarded.
Applications will be evaluated on the provider’s commitment to medically underserved populations, commitment to primary care, the ability of the provider to meet the unique needs of the community, demonstrated cultural competencies, amount of remaining student debt, and geographic need throughout the state. For the Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program, preference will also be given to those closest to completing their training.
Yes. Our office has compiled a courtesy listing of other opportunities at: Other Scholarship and Loan Repayment Programs. Please check with each sponsoring agency for further information.
For the Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program, please contact Brenda Flattum, (651) 201-3870 or brenda.flattum@state.mn.us, or Paia Vang (651) 201-3895 or paia.vang@state.mn.us

For the State Loan Repayment Program, please contact Debra Jahnke, (651)-201-3845, or debra.jahnke@state.mn.us
Outstanding student debt means remaining debt owed at the time of application.
The Legislature included language to give preference to applicants who can best serve diverse populations. Diverse cultural competencies may include, but are not limited to: clinical rotations in an underserved area/population; volunteer hours serving or working with an underserved area/population; background from diverse ethnic or racial communities; and/or, fluency in more than one language. Applicants who can demonstrate cultural competencies will be given additional points during the review process.

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Basic eligibility requirements

The Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Programs do not require this. However, if selected, you will be required to practice in Minnesota after completing training, and maintain all active licensure and certifications.

The Minnesota State Loan Repayment Program and the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program DO require you to be a U.S. citizen or a national.
No, but you must practice in Minnesota.
The Minnesota State Loan Forgiveness Program ranks applications based on a current resume/CV; letter(s) of reference; and a 1-2 page essay concerning knowledge of the patient population to be served, addressing access to health care issues and how the applicant will change health care outcomes of that population, documenting diverse cultural competencies, and the completeness of the application.

The Minnesota State Loan Repayment Program ranks applications based on: the likelihood of the candidate being eligible for receiving a federal award (primarily based on the score and status of the Health Professional Shortage Area designation), a current resume/CV, letters of reference, answers to two essay questions concerning the applicant’s knowledge of the patient population to be served and the applicant’s knowledge of the health of that population, the percentage of the population served that is uninsured/underinsured as addressed in the site application; and the application.

The federal National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program primarily ranks candidates based on the score assigned to the Health Professional Shortage Area designation in which the applicant is intending to practice.
The licensed professions that can apply under the Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program are: licensed psychiatric nurse/nurse practitioners; licensed clinical social worker (LICSW); licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT); licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC); and, a licensed psychologist (LP). Psychiatrists are eligible to apply under the Rural or Urban Physician Program.
For the Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program, both direct inpatient and outpatient care can be provided and are eligible under the program.

For the State Loan Repayment Program, only outpatient care is eligible.
For the Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program, there is a minimum three-year commitment working in an eligible clinic, facility or area with an optional 4th year. You must inform the loan forgiveness administrator of your decision of whether to pursue the fourth year of your contract. You do not have to reapply each year. The exception for the required service commitment is nurses in nursing homes – they must work a minimum of two years with the option to extend an additional two years for a maximum of four years.

For the State Loan Repayment Program, there is a two-year service commitment, and it can be extended on a case-by-case basis.
Yes. For the Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program, mental health professionals are required to be licensed and cannot be working towards their license to be eligible. However, preference will be given to recent graduates and licensed professionals with significant debt.

For the State Loan Repayment Program you must already be licensed and practicing to be eligible.
A designated rural area for the Loan Forgiveness Programs is defined as a statutory and home rule charter city or township that is (1) outside the seven-county metropolitan area, as defined in section 473.121, subdivision 2 excluding the cities of Duluth, Mankato, Moorhead, Rochester and St. Cloud.
For the Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program, you must be close to finishing your required 4,000 supervised hours of practice, as statute requires you to be licensed upon the start of your contract, if selected.

For the State Loan Repayment Program, you must be a licensed mental health care professional at the time of application.
Underserved urban communities in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, Mankato, or Moorhead designated as a mental health OR primary medical care health professional shortage area (HPSA) or medically underserved area (MUA), or with medically underserved populations (MUPs). Locate shortage areas by address on the Health Resources and Services Administration Data Warehouse webpage.
Prior work experience in an eligible profession does not qualify towards your minimum two or three year commitment. The service commitment begins when you sign a contract with the Minnesota Department of Health.
Yes, you are eligible to apply if you have a signed commitment to begin work at a qualified worksite. Your service commitment will not begin until you have begun work at your worksite and your contract has been executed.
Yes. You can find nursing homes in Minnesota, by county and/or city at the Minnesota Department of Health.
Yes. A listing of the Minnesota dental clinics that provide services to patients who use public care programs, or that offer services at a reduced cost is on the Minnesota Dental Association Web site.

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Awardees

Our office does not assist with placement. Depending on your profession, job opportunities may be listed at:

Minnesota Dental Association Classified Ads

National Rural Recruitment and Retention Network (3RNet)
Loan repayment awards are sent at the beginning of each contract year. You should receive your first installment within 30 days of the start of your contract. You will receive successive year’s installments after you submit the appropriate employment verification and sufficient loan documentation at the beginning of each year of service, with the maximum being two years for the State Loan Repayment Program and four years under the Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program.
If you choose to leave for another job that is not eligible under the program or within the geographic requirements, and/or will not fulfill the minimum hours-per-week and weeks-per-year of the contract year, you will be in breach of contract and placed in default. You will be held responsible to pay back the total amount of installments received plus interest.
Yes, you must use the full award amount to pay your loan debt, and you will be required to submit documentation that demonstrates this.
Yes, you may change employers during your contract period as long as the new employer meets the requirements of your loan forgiveness/repayment program contract and profession.
If you need to take a leave of absence during your contract, you must inform the loan forgiveness administrator. You can take up to one year of leave, upon written approval. Your remaining contract will be adjusted/extended to account for that time of leave.
For the Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program, you must begin your three-year, full-time service obligation no later than March 31 following completion of required training.

You must already be employed to be eligible to apply to the Minnesota State Loan Repayment Program and the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program.
Yes, the disbursements you receive are both state and federally tax exempt. The Minnesota Department of Health will not issue a 1099, and you will have to document the disbursements on your tax return.

 

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Updated Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at 02:08PM