Some local healthcare professionals might be getting some assistance in paying off their student loans.

The South Dakota Department of Health was recently awarded $1,509,000 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Health Resources and Services Administration to support a State Loan Repayment Program within South Dakota.

For the next three years, South Dakota will receive $503,000 annually to support primary care providers working full-time or half-time in a Health Professional Shortage Area.

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Full-time recipients can receive up to $25,000 yearly for a two-year service commitment in one of these qualified areas.

Eligible disciplines include physician, dentist, dental hygienist, nurse practitioner, certified nurse-midwife, physician assistant, health service psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, psychiatric nurse specialist, licensed professional counselor, marriage and family therapist, registered nurse, pharmacist, and alcohol/substance abuse counselor.

Applications are now available and will be reviewed and approved on a first-come, first-served basis. Application requirements include:

  • U.S. Citizen (U.S. born or naturalized) or U.S. National
  • Licensed to practice in South Dakota
  • Applying to, accepted to, or currently working at an eligible site that is located in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HSPA)
  • Unpaid government or commercial loans for school tuition, and reasonable education and living expenses related to the education of the participant
  • Loans must be segregated from all other debts (that is, not consolidated with non-educational loans

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