Nursing Students Loans: Private Loans & Nursing Student Loans With Bad Credit

Follow your dreams of becoming a nurse with these nursing student loans, including nursing student loans with bad credit!

Updated by Kirtika Acharya on 21st October 2021

Thinking about becoming a nurse? You might want to look into nursing students loans to fund your education. Luckily, there are many student loans for nursing school to choose from, and while the average student takes 10-30 years to pay off their debt, that length of time could be shorter if you look into some of these student loans for nurses. So,  don't let the worry of debt stop you from pursuing your dreams! 


With a projected 194,000 positions each year for nurses, it’s a great time to consider nursing as a career. A fast-growing profession, experts think that the nursing field will grow about 10% from 2020 to 2030, considering the 2021 US nursing shortage. That same shortage is why there are so many low-cost and low-interest loans for prospective nursing students, including some with flexible repayment plans, student loan forbearance options, and student loan forgiveness


We’ll take you through all nursing student loans, including some of the best student loans for nursing school, private loans for nursing students, and nursing student loans with bad credit. 

Table of Contents


U.S. Department Of Health Nursing Students Loans

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is a division of the US Department of Health, and they offer student loans for nurses. The federal government funds all of their loan and loan repayment programs.

The HRSA Nursing Student Loan is for students pursuing nursing full-time, with the expectation of eventually graduating with an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree, or a graduate degree. Any college of study is eligible as long as they offer a nursing degree program, and loan amounts depend on the cost of tuition and financial need. 

The HRSA also offers similar loans for students pursuing medical education in optometry, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, podiatry, and more. Check out their application form here

The HRSA Faculty Loan Repayment Program is a partnered loan program with universities to offer low interest rates and partial loan forgiveness (up to 85%). Nursing students that acquire full-time employment as a school faculty member are eligible. 

Specific eligibility requirements include:

  • Financial need
  • Eligible health degree or certificate
  • Faculty member at an approved health professions school for two years or more. 


Federal Student Loans

If you don’t qualify for the HRSA nursing school loans, don’t fret. There are other options available to you, like federal student loans

Government-supported college loans offer much better terms and perks than their private-sector counterparts, and most have loan deferment options that allow students to postpone repayment until after they have graduated. Nursing students can apply for federal student loans through FAFSA

Direct Subsidized Loans    

If you have financial need, you may qualify for a direct subsidized loan, in which the government pays your interest during certain periods, such as when you’re attending school. 

If you’re ineligible for a subsidized loan, you will have to cover the interest costs with a direct unsubsidized loan. But, the interest rates are lower than private loans, with flexible repayment plans. 

Eligible first-year dependent students studying for an undergraduate degree can get up to $5,500 in both subsidized and unsubsidized loans in their first year, $6,500 in their second year, and $7,500 in their third year.

Pros of Federal Student Loans for Nurses

Cons of Federal Student Loans for Nurses

Wide eligibility, including those with bad credit, for unsubsidized loans

Limited eligibility for subsidized loans

Little to no interest

Immediate interest accruing on subsidized loans

Flexible Repayment

Borrowing limits


Better interest rates with private lenders if the student has good credit


PLUS Nursing Student Loans

Nursing school students might be good candidates for federal parent PLUS loans and grad PLUS loans.


With a Parent PLUS loan, parents can borrow a loan as large as the student’s cost of attendance, excluding any financial aid received. Nursing students can take on grad PLUS loans for more advanced degrees. 


Private Loans for Nursing Students

If you’ve maximized your permitted loan amounts through federal student loans, or if you’re ineligible for them — it’s time to consider private loans for nursing students. 

Each private lender has varying credit and income qualifications for their private student loans that borrowers must meet. Additionally, you might have to start repaying the loan immediately, rather than waiting until you finish your nursing degree.


Pros of Private Loans for Nursing Students

Cons of Private Loans for Nursing Students

Lower interest rates than federal loans if you have good credit

High interest rates for nursing students with bad credit

Higher borrowing limits

No eligibility for income-driven repayment plans or loan forgiveness programs

Flexible repayment for some loans


Wide eligibility



Several private lenders provide competitive student loan packages for nurses. Here is a list of the lenders, the loans they offer, and the interest rates for each one. 

Private Lender

Loan Name

APR offered

Sallie Mae

Graduate School Loan for Health Professionals

Fixed - 4.75% -12.11%

Variable - 2.12% -11.64%


Health & Medical Professions Student Loan

Fixed, 5 year: 3.49% - 9.49%

Fixed, 10 year: 3.99% - 9.99%

Fixed 15 year: 4.49% - 10.49%

Variable, 5 year: 1.96% - 7.96%

Variable, 10 year: 2.46% - 8.46%

Variable, 15 year: 2.96% - 8.96%


Health Professions Loan

Variable: 1.87% to 5.87%, Fixed: 3.99% to 6.99%

Worried about your college tuition? Learn more about student loans.


Loan Forgiveness for Nursing Students

To fight these nursing shortages across the US, many states established loan forgiveness programs designed to encourage and support students pursuing careers in nursing. 

Some examples include:

Florida’s Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program, which offers $4,000 in loan repayment each year to eligible participants, for up to four years. 

Illinois’s Nurse Educator Loan Repayment Program, which offers $5,000 in loan repayment each year to nurses teaching at an eligible educational institution. 

New York’s Nursing Faculty Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program, which offers up to $40,000 in loan forgiveness to eligible nurses with master’s or doctoral degrees in nursing. This program, like Illinois’s, is also dedicated to nurses who teach. 


Hospitals that Pay for Nursing School

If you’re employed in a hospital as a nurse, there’s a chance your employer might cover some or all of your education. Check out our list of hospitals that pay for nursing school


Nursing Student Loans with Bad Credit

If you have bad credit, don’t let it stop you from pursuing a career and education in nursing. Many of the loans listed above are designed to support students with bad credit, such as:





There are plenty of nursing loans for students for you to choose from. Make sure you shop around if you plan to apply for one for the private student loans for nursing students and do your research. 


Even with bad credit, you can get the education you need to become a nurse!