A bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill that would exempt nurses in the federal Nurse Corps from paying income tax on their student loan forgiveness and scholarships.
The Nurse Corps Tax Parity Act would amend the Internal Revenue Code to create parity in tax treatment for scholarships and loan repayment between the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and the Nurse Corps.
The NHSC and the Nurse Corps are programs administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to deliver critical health care services in underserved areas. Both corps programs offer scholarships and loan repayment for healthcare providers in exchange for service in these areas.
However, while the NHSC scholarships and loan forgiveness are not subject to federal income tax, those from Nurse Corps are. This bill would ensure parity in tax status between the NHSC and Nurse Corps,
“Nurses have been on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic for more than two years now,” U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), one of the bill’s sponsors, said. “The nationwide shortage of nurses has made clear just how vital having skilled and hardworking health care professionals is to keeping our country running. I am glad to join Senator Merkley to introduce a measure that would expand opportunity and affordability for America’s future nurses by removing the tax for Nurse Corps student loan repayments.”
It was also sponsored by U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), John Boozman (R-AR), and Patty Murray (D-WA). It is supported by U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).
“Frontline nurses have been the driving force getting our communities through this ongoing pandemic,” Merkley said. “These individuals continue to sacrifice their health and safety for the well-being of our country’s communities. It’s terrible public policy and frankly offensive that nurses are singled out for extra taxation as compared to other health professionals, and it’s got to end.”
This legislation is endorsed by the American Nurses Association, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology, the Association of Public Health Nurses, the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses, Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research, and the Oncology Nursing Society.
“The vital Nurse Corps program helps many people, including 2.4 million Americans in rural and underserved communities, get the high-quality care that they need,” American Nurses Association President Dr. Ernest Grant said. “By removing the tax on scholarships and loans provided by the Nurse Corps, this bill will bring it in line with other programs like the National Health Service Corps, which have enabled other health care professionals to work in high-need areas. I want to thank Senators Merkley and Wicker for their efforts on this legislation, which will enable more nurses to provide care to those who need it most.”