Bill would repay student loans for nurses who earn graduate degrees and then teach

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Nurses who earn a master's or doctorate degree and then teach full-time at an accredited nursing school would have their student loans paid off under a new bill in the U.S. House. Nurses would be repaid up to $40,000 for a master's degree and up to $80,000 for a doctorate under H.R. 1460.

The measure, which would create a federal student loan repayment program, was introduced late last week by Reps. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Tom Latham (R-IA). Grant recipients would have to teach for four years to qualify for the loan repayment.

The proposal is in response to what some call a deepening nurse shortage in long-term care, and healthcare overall. The most recent study from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing showed that nursing schools turned away almost 50,000 qualified nursing school applicants. The top reason cited (62.5%) was a shortage of nursing school faculty.