Attention: RNs and Nursing Graduate Education Programs
We are pleased to announce that Alabama Board of Nursing will begin accepting applications for the new Loan Repayment Program for Advanced Practice Nursing on October 17, 2016; applications will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. on November 30. Loans will be approved by the Board in January 2017, with payments disbursed in February.
The Loan Repayment Program, which the Alabama Legislature enacted in May of this year, offers loans to graduate students pursuing degrees to become Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners (CRNPs), Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs), and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), provided that they commit to working full-time in an Area of Critical Need in Alabama for a period of at least 18 months for each year’s worth of loans received. An Area of Critical Need is presently defined by the Board, according to the law, as any area of the state that is not within five (5) miles of an area identified by the US Census Bureau as “urbanized.” A map of these urbanized areas will be provided.
While we are excited about the Program and thank the Legislature and Governor Bentley for their support and approval, there are a few limitations licensees should be aware of. First, as with any program, funding for the loans depends on the amount of available revenue available during any given budget year. While the Legislature made a generous appropriation for this fiscal year, the total number of loans we will be able to give is limited and we expect a high demand and a very competitive review process. Should you decide to apply for a loan under the Program, please take care to be as thorough as possible when you apply. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
The second major limitation to the Program is that it only applies to currently enrolled students and will not be available for nurses who already have completed their advanced practice degrees. While we feel strongly that the Legislature’s intent was to make the Program available to recent graduates, we did not feel the statute was clear and requested an interpretation from the Attorney General’s Office. The opinion states that the statute makes the loans available only to students and not graduates. However, the Board believes that the Program will enjoy more success and provide more public benefit if is open to recent graduates and is committed to petitioning the Legislature during the 2017 Regular Session to amend the law and allow their participation. To read the Attorney General’s opinion click here.
We will continue to keep all licensees apprised as we move forward with this exciting new program, which has the potential to have an enormous positive impact on underserved populations throughout Alabama.
Further information, including laws governing the program, the loan application, and the map of eligible areas, is available in the here.