How To Quickly Pay Off Student Debt as a Travel Nurse

March 25, 2024


Megan Bebout

PayOffStudentDebtRaise your hand if you’re one of the 43 million Americans with federal student loan debt. 🙋 Want to shed that financial weight? Here’s how you can quickly pay off student debt as a travel nurse.

*Disclaimer: Fusion Medical Staffing does not offer professional financial help and recommends you consult a certified public accountant (CPA) for official financial advice.


How To Quickly Pay Off Student Debt as a Travel Nurse


Do travel nurses make more than staff nurses?

One of the major appeals of becoming a travel nurse is the possibility of earning more than you could as a staff nurse. And while you can make more money as a travel nurse than a permanently staffed nurse, the exact amount will depend on a handful of factors, such as your level and field of expertise, the location you’re working in, the travel nursing agency you’re working with, and the hospital you’re working in.

Related: Travel Nurse Pay Projections 2024 + Other Healthcare Market Changes

“On average, yes, travel nurses make more than perm staff nurses,” said Nursing Recruiter Becca Sakada. “The key is to be flexible and ready to go just about anywhere. If you’re open and willing to go, you can definitely cash in on those higher paying and higher stipend positions.”

Plus, the pay structure for a travel nurse is different than that of a staff registered nurse (RN). Your travel nurse salary goes beyond a weekly paycheck and in addition to an hourly wage, includes a lodging stipend, as well as travel and certification reimbursements, if applicable.

Travel nurse student loan forgiveness programs

Travel nurseThe bad news about student loan debt is there are many different types of loans — from federal student loans to loans through private lenders. But the good news is you have several options for loan forgiveness. These are the top loan forgiveness programs for nurses.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Established in 2007, Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is a federal program crafted to offer student loan relief to those employed full-time in eligible public service roles. Its primary goal is to encourage individuals to embark on public service careers by making student loan debt more manageable.

To qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, you must…

✅Be a full-time employee of the U.S. federal, state, or local government or not-for-profit organization

✅Have Direct Loans or consolidate federal student loans into a Direct Loan

✅ Repay your loans under an income-driven repayment plan or a 10-year Standard Repayment Plan

✅ Make a total of 120 qualifying consecutive student loan payments

Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) also offers a nurse student loan forgiveness plan — Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program (LRP).

The HRSA Nurse Corps LRP provides a lifeline to registered nurses (RNs), advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), and nurse faculty burdened by student loan debt while serving in critical shortage areas across the U.S. And as a thank you, the HRSA Nurse Corps LRP could pay up to 85% of your unpaid nursing education debt.

To qualify for Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program, you must…

✅ Be a licensed RN, APRN, or nurse faculty member

✅ Have received your nursing education from an accredited U.S. school of nursing

✅ Work full-time in an eligible high need area or an accredited school of nursing

Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge

If you have a collection of Federal Perkins Loans, this repayment plan is for you. Through this program, nurses employed in certain healthcare facilities like hospitals, clinics, and schools, could have up to 100% of Perkin Loans forgiven over time.

To qualify for Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation, you must…

✅ Work for five years as a full-time nurse or medical technician providing healthcare services

To qualify for Federal Perkins Loan Discharge, you must…

✅ Declare bankruptcy

✅ Experience a school closure

✅ Claim permanent disability

National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program

The National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program (NHSC LRS) offers a valuable opportunity for nurses to alleviate the burden of student loan debt while serving in underserved communities across the country. Through this program, you’ll gain nursing experience and help those in need, and in return, you could receive up to $50,000 in loan repayment assistance.

Additionally, the NHSC offers a repayment program to medical, dental, and nursing students in their last year of school, which offers up to $130,000. To be eligible for this loan forgiveness plan, you must commit to working full-time in a clinical setting for a specific amount of time in an NHSC-approved location.

To qualify for NHSC, you must…

✅ Be a provider in the Medicare, Medicaid, and State Children’s Health Insurance Program

✅ Be fully trained and licensed to practice in your discipline and state

✅ Be a healthcare professional with qualified student loan debt that led to your degree

✅ Work at an NHSC-approved site

5 ways we help you reach your financial goals

Fusion Medical Staffing benefitsWhether you’re on a mission to pay off your student loan debt, put a down payment on a home, or save for retirement, we’re here to help you achieve your financial goals. Here’s how.

Matching 401(K) investment

We care about all versions of you — and that includes future you. On top of that, we recognize the importance of long-term financial planning, so we’ll match your 401(K) investments.

Once you’ve worked with us for at least 30 days, you can start contributing to your retirement fund, which is also when we’ll start matching your contributions. The matching contributions are calculated at 100% for the first 3% and 50% for the next 2% of employee contributions.

Certification reimbursement

Getting your nursing licenses and certifications are a crucial part of becoming a travel nurse. The thing is, they can also be expensive to obtain. But with us on your side, you can eliminate the cost barrier because we’ll reimburse you in full up to $300!

Related: Travel Nurse Licensing Guide: Everything You Need to Know

We want to make the certification and licensing process as easy as possible for you so you can advance your travel nursing career and expand your skill set. When you travel with us, you can take proactive steps toward achieving your career goals and save money while you’re at it.

Employee assistance program (EAP)

Looking for even more financial resources? Find what you’re looking for, thanks to our employee assistance program. From informative articles to videos and podcasts to financial calculators, you gain access to a wealth of financial knowledge, all for free.

We admit it — we’re not money experts. Our EAP helps connect you to those who are so you can make informed financial decisions and secure your financial future. Whether you’re seeking advice on your student loan monthly payment, saving for a home, or preparing for retirement, our EAP ensures that you have the support you need to achieve your financial goals with confidence.  

Learn more about the EAP.

Referral bonus

You’ve heard of sharing the love. But did you know you could pocket extra cash from doing so? All you have to do is introduce us to your traveler friends. You receive a bonus, and we expand our mission of improving the lives we touch through employing top-notch talent in healthcare facilities across the country. Win-win-win.

Learn more about how you can benefit from referral bonuses!

Nursing scholarships and awards

You don’t have to convince us that you deserve to be recognized for all the good that you do. To show our appreciation and support, we offer nursing scholarships and awards to nursing students and travel nurses.

Nursing scholarships

The DAISY Award

The DAISY Foundation offers a platform for patients, families, and coworkers to recognize nurses’ unwavering dedication by nominating them for their exceptional service. Recipients of this honor are celebrated amongst their peers, leadership, friends, and family at a special event. During the celebration, they’re presented with a certificate, a hand-carved Healer’s Touch sculpture, and various other tokens of appreciation, acknowledging their profound impact and compassionate care.

Learn more about the DAISY Award

Compassion in Care: A Fusion Scholarship

The Compassion in Care scholarship is a renewable scholarship beginning in the 2024-2025 academic year that offers up to $5,000 each to 10 nursing students annually as they pursue their Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Learn more about the Compassion in Care scholarship

Traveling Hearts: A Fusion Award

Something we have in common is we both exist to make a positive impact in the lives of others. Through the Traveling Hearts award, two healthcare travelers (one nursing and one allied health traveler) will receive $2,000 for their commitment to extraordinary patient care.

Lear more about the Traveling Hearts award

Frequently asked questions

What locations offer higher pay to help travel nurses pay off student debt?

California highwayTravel nurse pay trends tend to be higher in states with a higher cost of living. Since you often move to various locations for short-term assignments, your compensation adjusts to accommodate the cost of lodging, groceries, transportation, and other necessities.

Related: 10 Cities with Affordable Cost of Living for Healthcare Travelers

That means that states with elevated living expenses, such as California, New York, or Massachusetts, typically offer more competitive pay rates to attract travel nurses like you.

Does travel nursing allow me to pay off student debt faster?

Studies show that more than 70% of nursing school graduates graduate with student loan debt that averages just over $37,000.

“So, at the national average, beginner staff nurses typically make anywhere from $35-$45 per hour when starting,” said Nursing Senior Recruiter Patrick Overby. “The average travel nurse today is making $2,400 a week, give or take $300-$500 per region, shift, specialty, and experience. I always ask my travelers on the phone what type of personal and financial goals they have, so we can tackle them together.”

The best part is that our travel nursing recruiters are well-versed in these areas so they can help you in whatever ways you need. With their support and focus on your personal, professional, and financial goals, you can redirect your energy to providing the best possible care to your patients.

Why should I travel nurse with Fusion Medical Staffing?

“If you’re looking for travel advice and what company to work for, Fusion Medical Staffing is your answer,” said Surgical Tech Kristin. “My time with Fusion Medical Staffing has been nothing but positive all the way around. If you’re open and honest about your traveling needs/wants, whether it’s to make tons of money or simply visit new locations, they’ll make it happen.”

There are many things that set us apart from other travel nursing companies — our rock star recruiters, competitive salaries, stellar benefits, a one-point-of-contact business model — but above them all, we are here to serve you.

There is no us without you.

We’re here for you.

And we take that commitment very seriously.

That means that we show up on every day that ends in “y” to do everything in our power to fulfill your desires, necessities, and dreams, whatever they may be.

“I’ve worked with Fusion Medical Staffing for almost two years,” said traveler Angie, OR RN. “My recruiter listens to what my goals are and dedicates extra time into finding the right contracts for me. If I have any issues, he’s readily available to help strategize solutions. I’ve recommended Fusion Medical Staffing to travelers in the past because my recruiter is so energetic, quick to respond, and willing to go the extra mile to make sure my contracts go smoothly!”

So, if you’re wondering if you should travel with us, we’ll leave you with this. To quote traveler Rebecca, ICU RN, “I’ve worked with multiple companies and recruiters over the past five-to-six years as a travel nurse and Fusion Medical Staffing has never disappointed me or let me down.”



A travel nursing career could present unique opportunities for you to experience the bliss of being debt-free. Through student loan forgiveness programs, reimbursements, financial planning assistance via an EAP, lucrative bonuses, competitive compensation, and nursing scholarships and awards, you can maximize your earnings and allocate more funds toward debt repayment. And regardless of where you are in your student loan repayment journey, we’re here to help.