CHHS Student Success Center

Forgivable Education Loans for Service (FELS)

FELS provides financial assistance to qualified North Carolina residents enrolled in an approved education program and committed to working in critical employment shortage professions in North Carolina. For more information, visit CFNC or call 1-800-700-1775.

Funding is available for nursing at all degree levels, though leadership/administration tracks are not eligible. Maximum Aggregate Loan Limits:

  • Certificate and/or associate degree programs: $6,000
  • Bachelor's degree programs: $20,000
  • Master's degree programs: $20,000
  • Doctoral degree programs: $56,000

Will I have to work in a particular area after graduation (i.e. underserved population)? Nurses can work just about anywhere (hospital, private practice, etc.) in North Carolina. The only requirement is that you are working in direct patient care.

How long will I have to work to fulfill my service requirement? The amount of service required is commensurate with the amount of funding received. If a student is given two full years of funding, they must work full-time for two years or part-time for four years; if a student receives six months of funding, they must work full-time for six months or part-time for one year.

Does my clinical experience/work during school/PRN service count toward my service requirement? No. You must be graduated/licensed to work toward your service requirement.

How long do I have to get a job before having to pay back cash? Graduates have 180 days from the date of graduation to find employment before they must begin paying cash back for received funds. Deferments are available for up to two years for circumstances such as further education or residencies.

How soon must the required work months/years be completed? There is a ten-year window for repayment. During that time, service is credited as it happens; if you work full-time for six months, six months of FELS will be forgiven. If a graduate puts off employment for reasons like moving temporarily out of state or taking time to be a stay-at-home parent, minimum monthly payments are required plus an 8% interest rate; these payments might be as low as $50.

What if I can’t find a job? Graduates can apply for unemployment deferment for up to a year with proof of job seeking.

Are undergrad pre-nursing students eligible for funding? Yes. However, if you do not get accepted to a nursing program, you can defer for a chance to reapply to the nursing program. Also, it's possible to transfer funding to another FELS-eligible major. If you ultimately do not complete a nursing degree or another FELS-eligible major, you must pay off the loan.