New nurses who gained employment within the last year for the first time at a skilled nursing home or hospital are eligible to apply.
Passed by both the Mississippi House and Senate, SB 2373 will create the “Skilled Nursing Home and Hospital Nurses Retention Loan Repayment Program.”
The program for new nursing graduates and those who have hired on within the last year, once signed by the Governor, will be administered by the Mississippi Postsecondary Education Financial Assistance Board.
The legislation was authored by State Senator Rita Parks (R) in an effort to attract and retain nurses at Mississippi healthcare facilities.
Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann said the pandemic rocked the healthcare industry throughout the country and increased workforce shortages, particularly in nursing.
“Senate Bill 2373, authored by Senator Rita Parks, will help stabilize the workforce in Mississippi by allowing new nurses to pay down student loan debt quickly in exchange for years of employment at a hospital or skilled nursing facility in our state,” Lt. Governor Hosemann said.
Subject to the availability of funds, an eligible applicant for an initial award must have:
- Legal residency in the State of Mississippi.
- Gained employment within the last year for the first time as a full-time licensed practical nurse or licensed registered nurse at a skilled nursing home in the State of Mississippi or a general acute care hospital in the State of Mississippi that is licensed by the Mississippi State Department of Health.
- A current relevant Mississippi professional license.
- Outstanding qualifying educational loans, received at any point during the recipient’s postsecondary education career, which may include the principal, interest and related expenses such as the required interest premium on the unpaid balances of government and commercial loans obtained by the recipient for educational expense.
The bill explains that any person who has received funds from state-forgivable loan programs established under Mississippi law, or who are in default or delinquent on any federal, state, local or commercial qualifying educational loan, shall not be eligible for this program.
“Recipients in the program shall be selected on a first-come, first-served basis from all eligible applicants,” the bill states. “Awards shall be granted on a year-to-year basis, and recipients have no obligation to seek a subsequent award.”
Awards for recipients who are employed at a skilled nursing home or a licensed general acute care hospital in the state may be a maximum of $6,000 for each year of employment up to three years.
You can read the full bill below.