Federal student loan forgiveness programs were designed to encourage students to attend school for public service degrees and stay employed in that field. Under this program, a borrower may be eligible for forgiveness of a portion of their loan. An individual must maintain full-time employment by a certain employer and make 120 qualified payments to receive relief. This incentive gives back to the community by keeping employed individuals in the area. New Jersey is hoping to use the student loan forgiveness incentive to keep physicians in their state.

With the state of New Jersey already experiencing a shortage of physicians in their state, the state Senate Education Committee has passed a bill to the state Senate in hopes of offering student loan forgiveness to doctors who work in certain areas of NJ for at least 10 years.

The state as a whole is predicted to be short 2,800 family doctors and specialists by the year 2020. Right now, New Jersey is having trouble holding on to their doctors.

Loan forgiveness has been found to be a top factor in selecting where to practice. Increased incentives may just hold a doctor’s attention to remain in NJ. The state government needs to take a proactive approach to resolve the shortage before it hits crisis levels.

With hope behind their bill, it wouldn’t shock supporters if it was rejected by the state Senate. What it has done is start a conversation that could lead to federal student loan forgiveness programs or even tax credits for doctors working in those areas which would offset lower salaries and additional malpractice insurance.

A shortage of general physicians has a trickle-down effect on the population. If you can’t see a primary care physician, you end up at a specialist. These doctors receive more money for their services which affects individual wallets through co-pays and premium costs.

Other states have already created other repayment programs to help keep doctors in their state. The problem is not going to go away anytime soon. With the population continuing to rise and the elderly living longer, doctors are very much needed all over.

For now, loan forgiveness programs remain a steady source of relief for those in public service positions. Eligible nurses have their own relief programs. Certain schools place great emphasis on loan forgiveness to keep their teachers on staff for longer periods of time.

Look into student loan forgiveness plans if you plan to attend college for a degree in public service. What are the requirements? Would it help steer your education down a certain path or move into a particular area in order to receive debt relief?

If you are already in the public workforce, call a student loan relief service to find out if you are eligible for loan forgiveness. The big qualifying factor is where your work is located. The incentives were placed into areas with a high percentage of job vacancies.

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