THE BLOG

How Pharmacy Graduates Can Get Rid of $100k of Student Loans

04/18/2015 12:50 pm ET | Updated Jun 09, 2015

Graduates of pharmacy school have more student debt than almost any other profession. In 2012, graduates entering the workforce had an average student loan debt of $123,063. Luckily for pharmacists, if they enter the private sector, they will likely make a salary that allows them to responsibly pay that large amount back. (Retail pharmacists have an average starting salary of $117,473.)

However, for pharmacists looking to take on a pharmacy career in a health shortage area or another area of public service, there are a number of federal and state programs that will offer forgiveness. The Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, the U.S. Army Pharmacists Loan Repayment Program, NIH Clinical Research Loan Repayment Program, and the U.S. Army Pharmacists Loan Repayment Program are among the most generous programs with close to full forgiveness. 14 states also have programs with North Dakota likely having the most generous one with a forgiveness benefit of up to $50,000 per year for two years.

The table below outlines each program with the maximum possible amount of forgiveness offered. However, you can view a more in depth version of the table with descriptions of the programs and eligibility criteria here. It could save you thousands!

Area Program Maximum Benefit
Federal Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Full Forgiveness after 120 payments
Federal The National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program (NHSC) $50,000
Federal NIH Clinical Research Loan Repayment Program $35,000 per year
Federal Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program $40,000
Federal U.S. Army Pharmacists Loan Repayment Program $120,000
Alaska Supporting Healthcare Access through Loan Repayment $47,000 per year
Arizona Arizona Loan Repayment Program $65,000
California California State Loan Repayment Program $50,000
Colorado Colorado Health Service Corps $50,000
Idaho Idaho State Loan Repayment Program $60,000
Kentucky Kentucky State Loan Repayment Program $70,000
Massachusetts The Massachusetts Loan Repayment Program $50,000
Minnesota Minnesota Rural Pharmacist Loan Forgiveness Program $64,000
Nebraska The Nebraska Loan Repayment Program $60,000
New Mexico New Mexico Loan Repayment Assistance Program $70,000
North Dakota North Dakota State Loan Repayment $100,000
Oregon Oregon Partnership State Loan Repayment $70,000
Rhode Island Health Professional Loan Repayment Program N/a
Washington Health Professional Loan Repayment Program $70,000

To learn more about what private sector options are available to help graduates with student debt save, visit Credible.

PayScale 2013-14 College Salary Report