Governor starts program to forgive nurses' student loans

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Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack has unveiled a new program that would forgive nursing students' and health educators' student loans if they remain and work in Iowa. Nurses' repayment will be between $750 and $15,000, depending on the work location and length of employment, while nurse educators may get back up to $20,000, according to last week's announcement.

Nurses working in long-term care facilities or in specific rural counties may see the most benefit.

Nearly 60% of Iowa's nurses will be over the age of 50 and may be retired by 2009, according to the health department, while admissions to registered nursing programs in the 1990s declined by 40%.