RI Student Loan Authority Develops Innovative Program to Encourage More Nurses to Work in the State
Interest Free Loan Program for Students Unveiled to Counter Projected Nursing Shortage
Posted on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - 9:30 AM
Coverage by ABC6
WARWICK, RI (July 26, 2011) – The non-profit Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) unveiled an ambitious program to offset the projected shortage of nurses in Rhode Island. Called the Nursing Reward Program, the initiative involves loan incentives for nursing students who participate in RISLA’s popular Rhode Island Family Education Loan. Foremost among the incentives for nurses is ZERO PERCENT INTEREST on 48 months of repayment on the loan. To qualify for the program, nurses must agree to work at a licensed facility in the State of Rhode Island. Governor Lincoln Chafee joined leaders from the state’s health care industry in announcing RISLA’s Nursing Reward Program at Hasbro Children’s Hospital today.
“The goal of this loan program is to encourage our enthusiastic and dedicated nursing students to remain working here after graduation,” said Charles P. Kelley, Executive Director of RISLA, “If we can play a role in offsetting a potential shortage of these vitally important health care providers, we are happy to do it.”
The Rhode Island Senate commissioned a study in 2009 that predicted an immediate shortage of 1,800 nurses, with a further projected shortage of 6,500 registered nurses by 2020. A number of factors are cited for the potential shortages, most notably the aging baby boomer population and the added pressure these individuals will place on an already taxed health care system.
“This program is a wonderful opportunity for aspiring nurses to launch their careers,” said Timothy J. Babineau, M.D., president and chief executive officer at Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital. “There is a shortage of available skilled workers in Rhode Island, and this will help bridge the gap, providing Rhode Island residents with the chance to earn a degree in an exciting field, and to begin a very rewarding career in patient care.“
Students who participate in the Nursing Reward Program will qualify for ZERO PERCENT INTEREST for 48 months of loan repayment. While the interest forgiveness is in effect, a borrower’s entire payment is applied to principal, reducing the total monthly payment. For example, on a $15,000 deferred Rhode Island Family Education Loan, the normal monthly payment of approximately $138.97 would be reduced to an estimated $83.33 during the zero interest repayment period, for a total savings of $2,670.40 over the life of the loan. The reduction in payment amount eases the financial burden a nurse faces after graduation, defraying a significant portion of debt for those entering the field of nursing.
To qualify for the Nursing Reward Program, borrowers must have a RI Family Education Loan with RISLA for the 2011/12 academic year. The borrower must become a licensed registered nurse in Rhode Island, and be employed by a licensed health care facility in the state working a minimum of 20 hours a week with a responsibility for direct patient care. This ensures that nurses entering the field will contribute to the health and well being of patients right here in our state.
For more information about the Nursing Reward Program, please visit www.risla.com. Information is also available by contacting RISLA at 401-468-1700 or 800-758-7562.
The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) is a non-profit state authority providing higher education solutions for today’s families. RISLA provides free college planning services through its College Planning Center of Rhode Island with locations in Bristol, Warwick, Providence and Cumberland. Spanish speaking advisors are available in Providence. To learn more about RISLA, please visit www.risla.com. To learn more about the College Planning Center of Rhode Island or to make an appointment with an experienced college planning counselor, visit www.collegeplanningcenter.org.
back to news