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!
|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.