Loan Repayment Programs Could Inspire Future Generations of Healers

JoAnn Yanez, ND, MPH 
Executive Director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC)

The cost of a naturopathic degree can be daunting, especially if you already have significant undergraduate debt to deal with. That’s why we work hard to offer various resources, such as webinars on how to finance your ND degree, which are made available on our website.

But a piece of news out of Washington state recently caught my eye and reminded me of the many creative ways in which ND students can pursue their dream career without fearing debt on the other end.

The news from Washington state is that funding for the Health Professionals Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP) has been reinstated, with $4 million designated for the 2016-2017 cycle, and $4 million for 2017-2018. Download the HPLR guide here.

Naturopathic physicians are included as part of this loan repayment program, meaning exciting new opportunities can be made available to all current and future naturopathic doctors.

How Washington’s loan repayment program works

The program works to encourage licensed PCPs to work in rural or underserved urban communities. If a licensed PCP works in one of these designated communities for a minimum of 3 years (at no less than 24 hours per week) he or she will earn up to $75,000 in loan forgiveness.

Here’s why I think this is not just a good idea today, but for the future of naturopathic medicine:

  • Lessen your financial burden – We can go on and on about how nothing should stand in the way of your dream career, but the reality is money often dictates what we can or cannot do. This program gives ND students the opportunity to lessen their loan burden. Of course, this does require you to get hired by an organization that’s eligible for the program. However, if you decide – early on – that this is your goal following graduation, then you can put certain actions into place to increase your chances of working within these designated communities.
  • It falls in line with naturopathic principles – We all come to naturopathic medicine for different reasons. However, one of the driving forces that inspires us to pursue this career is our desire to help those in need. Working within underserved communities is a great way to fulfill your desire to provide care for populations most in need. Many of the people who live in these communities struggle with illnesses that NDs manage so well, including diabetes, hypertension, cancer, as well as digestive health.

Our hope is that the continued success of programs like this one will foster similar programs, and inspire future generations of healers drawn to prevention-based, safe, effective naturopathic care.

Are you interested in a career in naturopathic medicine but concerned about the costs? Learn more about your options for financial aid, loans and scholarships.

You can also request information from one of our 7 accredited schools/programs at 8 campus locations here.

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