NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Loyola University's nursing school has secured nearly $1.2 million from the U.S. Public Health Service to lend graduate students who plan to teach and are getting a doctorate in nursing practice.

The Nurse Faculty Loan Program forgives up to 85 percent of the loan for graduates who spend four years as a full-time faculty member in a U.S. nursing school.

"This is the largest student support award in the history of the School of Nursing," said nursing school director Ann Cary. Including the university's contribution, $1.3 million is available for the loans.

Tuition runs about $34,000 a year, said administrative coordinator Lisa Williams.

She said the first 15 students to earn doctorates in nursing practice recently graduated and have nine months to find a full-time faculty job. If they can't get one, they must repay the full loan at the prevailing interest rate. If they do, they pay 15 percent with interest of 3 percent.

Loyola says its School of Nursing offers Louisiana's only accredited program for a doctorate in nursing practice. It's a three-year program for students with a bachelor's degree, or two years for students who have their master's.

The nursing school also got more than $340,000 in June from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration to support its online program for a doctorate in nursing practice, a news release said. The money will pay part of the salaries for 10 faculty and staff members and expand services and faculty access to DNP students.