Notwithstanding the requirement of completion of practice specified in subsection (b), the Secretary shall, on or before the due date thereof, pay any loan or loan installment which may fall due within the period of service for which the borrower may receive payments under this subsection, upon the declaration of such borrower, at such times and in such manner as the Secretary may prescribe (and supported by such other evidence as the Secretary may reasonably require), that the borrower is then serving as described by subsection (a)(3), and that the borrower will continue to so serve for the period required (in the absence of this subsection) to entitle the borrower to have made the payments provided by this subsection for such period; except that not more than 85 percent of the principal of any such loan shall be paid pursuant to this subsection.
The Secretary shall (for fiscal years 2003 and 2004) and may (for fiscal years thereafter) carry out a program of entering into contracts with eligible individuals under which such individuals agree to serve as nurses for a period of not less than 2 years at a health care facility with a critical shortage of nurses, in consideration of the Federal Government agreeing to provide to the individuals scholarships for attendance at schools of nursing.
The Secretary may not enter into a contract with an eligible individual under this subsection unless the individual agrees to serve as a nurse at a health care facility with a critical shortage of nurses for a period of full-time service of not less than 2 years, or for a period of part-time service in accordance with subparagraph (B).
The provisions of subpart III of part D of subchapter II shall, except as inconsistent with this section, apply to the program established in paragraph (1) in the same manner and to the same extent as such provisions apply to the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program established in such subpart.
In entering into agreements under subsection (a) or (d), the Secretary shall give preference to qualified applicants with the greatest financial need.
The Secretary may make payments under subsection (a) on behalf of an individual only if the agreement under such subsection provides that section 298b–7(c) 1 of this title is applicable to the individual.
In the case of an individual or health facility making an agreement for purposes of paragraph (1), the Secretary shall provide for the waiver or suspension of liability under such subsection if compliance by the individual or the health facility, as the case may be, with the agreements involved is impossible, or would involve extreme hardship to the individual or facility, and if enforcement of the agreements with respect to the individual or facility would be unconscionable.