Ultimate Guide to Student Loan Forgiveness for Pharmacists

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Being a pharmacist can be a rewarding, lucrative career. According to PayScale, the median salary for a pharmacist is $108,267. While pursuing a career in pharmacy can lead to a six-figure salary, it can also lead to six-figure student loan debt.

According to the 2014 National Pharmacist Workforce Survey, pharmacists with less than five years of experience reported graduating with an average of $108,407 in student loan debt.  Luckily there are options for student loan forgiveness for pharmacists.

Here’s a complete guide to pharmacist loan forgiveness and repayment options:

National Health Service Corps program

The Pharmacy Times notes that in 2012, the National Health Service Corps program extended their funding to support pharmacists. Through the organization’s State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP), they are able to support pharmacists working in designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA). Specific requirements and funding options vary by state.

Pharmacist loan forgiveness options by state

Alaska

Alaska’s SHARP program offers pharmacists working in underserved communities loan repayment assistance. Through the SHARP-II program, pharmacists can receive up to $35,000 per year. In some cases, if the position is hard to fill, pharmacists may be eligible for up to $47,000 per year.

In order to qualify, pharmacists must work full-time or half-time and commit to serving for at least three years. After that, eligible candidates may qualify for an additional three years of loan repayment assistance.

Arizona

Through the Arizona State Loan Repayment Program, pharmacists can receive loan repayment assistance by serving at an eligible nonprofit or designated HPSA. Funding varies depending on a variety of factors, such as HPSA score, years of service, and more.

Pharmacists can receive up to $50,000 in loan repayment assistance for a two-year contract and can receive additional funding by committing to additional years of service.

California

The California State Loan Repayment Program offers loan repayment assistance to pharmacists who commit to working in a designated HPSA. Pharmacists who work full-time can receive up to $50,000 for a two-year service agreement — $25,000 from the program and a $25,000 match from the provider site.

Full-time pharmacists may be eligible for one-year extensions for a total of four years, which could result in an additional $60,000 maximum in loan repayment assistance. Half-time applicants are also eligible for awards.

It’s important to note that pharmacists working in a retail setting are not eligible for the program. In order to qualify, pharmacists must work in an approved site, such as an outpatient or ambulatory setting.

Colorado

Under the Colorado Health Service Corps program, clinical pharmacists working in a designated shortage area may be eligible for loan repayment assistance. Pharmacists must commit to three years of service and work either part-time or full-time.

Full-time pharmacists are eligible for up to $50,000 while part-time pharmacists are eligible for up to $25,000.

Idaho

The Idaho State Loan Repayment Program offers funding for pharmacists working in designated HPSAs and nonprofits. This is a matching program, so for every dollar provided by the program, the work site must also match the contribution.

Eligible candidates who work full-time may receive between $20,00 to $50,000 for serving a two-year commitment. It is possible to extend the contract for an additional two years as well.

Kentucky

Through the Kentucky State Loan Repayment Program, pharmacists may be eligible for student loan funding. This is another matching program, but with a twist. For every federal dollar spent, an employer, family member, friend, or state foundation can match the contribution.

Qualified candidates that work at a designated HPSA and work full-time may be eligible for up to $80,000 and must serve a two-year commitment.

Minnesota

Under Minnesota’s Rural Pharmacist Loan Forgiveness Program, eligible candidates can receive loan repayment assistance if they work in a designated rural area. Pharmacists may be eligible to receive up to $20,000 per year, for a maximum of four years, totaling $80,000.

Interested candidates must work at least 30 hours per week, for 45 weeks or more per year and commit to three years of service.

Nebraska

Through the Nebraska NHSC State Loan Repayment Program, pharmacists that work in designated HPSAs can receive loan repayment assistance. Qualified candidates can receive between $25,000 to $50,000 per year. In order to qualify, candidates must commit to at least two years of service.

Another program that is available in Nebraska is the Nebraska Loan Repayment Program for Rural Health Professionals, which offers pharmacists loan repayment assistance if they serve in rural communities in a designated shortage area. This is another matching program and a local entity must match the dollars you receive.

Eligible candidates can receive up to $30,000 per year and must commit to three years of service. There are opportunities for full-time workers and half-time workers, though benefits are reduced if working half-time.

New Mexico

The New Mexico Health Professional Loan Repayment Program offers health professionals loan repayment assistance if they serve in a designated shortage area.

The maximum award eligible candidates can receive is $25,000 each year, however, the award amount depends on a number of factors, including your student loan debt balance and the program’s available funding. In order to qualify, candidates must work full-time for two years at an eligible site.

Pharmacists may be eligible for the program, but funding priority is given to other healthcare professionals.

North Dakota

The North Dakota Loan Repayment Program, in conjunction with the Department of Health, offers loan repayment assistance to registered pharmacists who work in designated shortage areas.

Eligible candidates can receive up to $50,000 a year. This is a matching program where work sites must match the dollars provided. In order to qualify, candidates must commit to two years of service.

Oregon

The Oregon Partnership State Loan Repayment Program offers pharmacists who work in designated shortage areas loan repayment assistance.

Eligible candidates can receive repayment assistance amounting to 10 to 20 percent of your qualified debt. The award amount depends on the HPSA score of the site. The program requires a two-year commitment, with the possibility of two additional one-year extensions.

Rhode Island

Through the Rhode Island Health Professional Loan Repayment Program, pharmacists in Rhode Island who work at a qualified site in a designated shortage area could be eligible for loan repayment assistance.

There are award options for full-time and half-time employment. Candidates must commit to two years of service, or four years of service if they are working part-time.  The program doesn’t specify exact award amounts, though funding is available for pharmacists as well as other healthcare professionals.

Virginia

The Virginia State Loan Repayment Program offers pharmacists loan repayment assistance in exchange for serving in a designated HPSA at a qualified site in Virginia. The program requires a dollar match from the community work site. In order to qualify, eligible candidates must commit to two years of service. Candidates are eligible for a maximum award of $140,000 for a four-year commitment.

Washington

Under Washington’s Health Professional Loan Repayment Program, pharmacists who work at an eligible site may be eligible for loan repayment assistance. Pharmacists can receive up to $75,000 in exchange for three years of service. This program does require pharmacists to work at a designated HPSA.

Through the Federal-State Loan Repayment Program, pharmacists can receive up to $70,000 in exchange for two years of service.

Additional pharmacist loan forgiveness options

While there are pharmacist loan forgiveness options by state that offer loan repayment assistance, there are also federal options for student loan forgiveness for pharmacists as well.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness program

Through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, eligible candidates that work in the public sector, either at a government organization or nonprofit are eligible for student loan forgiveness.

In order to qualify, you must work full-time (which is classified as 30 hours per week) and make 120 qualifying payments.

The payments do not have to be consecutive in order to qualify, however, if you do make consecutive payments, you can get your loans forgiven in ten years. If you’re looking for student loan forgiveness for pharmacists, this is a great option because your loans could be completely forgiven in ten years and you will not have to pay tax on your forgiven balance.

Pharmacy Times notes the following jobs may be eligible for the program:

  • Working for a government agency such as the US Food and Drug Administration or a state board of pharmacy;
  • Serving as a pharmacist in one of the branches of the US military or with the Veterans Administration;
  • Working for the US Drug Enforcement Administration or a state-level law enforcement agency related to controlled substances; and
  • Practicing with the US Public Health Service or a state or local public health department.

NIH Loan Repayment programs

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in medical research and have a pharmacy degree, The National Institute of Health (NIH) offers several programs that help. There are eight programs, five of which are for researchers not employed by NIH, with three available to researchers employed by NIH. The program offers $35,000 per year in exchange for research related to the NIH’s mission. In order to qualify, your student loan debt must be 20 percent of your base salary when you receive the award.

Indian Health Service Repayment program

Through the Indian Health Service Loan Repayment program, health care professionals who practice in facilities serving American Indian and Alaska Native communities may be eligible for loan repayment assistance. The program offers up to $40,000 in exchange for two years of service.

U.S. Army Pharmacist Health Professions Loan Repayment program

If you’re interested in working for the US Army, you could get significant loan repayment assistance. Qualified candidates can receive up to $120,000 in assistance to pay back your pharmacy school loans.

Another option aside from the repayment program is the Pharmacist Accession Bonus. Qualified pharmacists may be eligible for a sign-on bonus of $30,000. The best part? It’s paid in a lump sum at the first duty station.

Final word

There are a variety of programs that offer student loan forgiveness for pharmacists at the state and federal level. Many of these options require you to work in certain areas or at qualified sites, so it’s important to weigh your choices before pursuing loan repayment assistance or pharmacist loan forgiveness.

In the end, it could be a rewarding experience and also help you get a good chunk — if not all — of your loans paid back.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 7 lenders of 2019!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.

Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.45% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.99% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.81% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.49% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of November 6, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.

The information provided on this page is updated as of 11/06/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at hello@earnest.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.

© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.


2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 3.46% APR to 5.98% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 1.81% APR to 5.98% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 1.81% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 1.81% minus 0.15% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. See eligibility details. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

3 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Mortgage lending is not offered in Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.

ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE (“APR”)
This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.

FEE INFORMATION

There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties associated with the loan. Lender may assess a late fee if any part of a payment is not received within 15 days of the payment due date. Any late fee assessed shall not exceed 5% of the late payment or $28, whichever is less. A borrower may be charged $20 for any payment (including a check or an electronic payment) that is returned unpaid due to non-sufficient funds (NSF) or a closed account.

LOAN AMOUNT

For bachelor’s degrees and higher, up to 100% of outstanding private and federal student loans (minimum $5,000) are eligible for refinancing. If you are refinancing greater than $300,000 in student loan debt, Lender may refinance the loans into 2 or more new loans.
For eligible Associates degrees in the healthcare field (see Eligibility & Eligible Loans section below), Lender will refinance up to $50,000 in loans for non-ParentPlus refinance loans. Note, parents who are refinancing loans taken out on behalf of a child who has obtained an associates degrees in an eligible healthcare field are not subject to the $50,000 loan maximum, refer to https://www.laurelroad.com/refinance-student-loans/refinance-parent-plus-loans/ for more information about refinancing ParentPlus loans.

ELIGIBILITY & ELIGIBLE LOANS

Borrower, and Co-signer if applicable, must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident with a valid I-551 card (which must show a minimum of 10 years between “Resident Since” date and “Card Expires” date or has no expiration date); state that they are of at least borrowing age in the state of residence at the time of application; and meet Lender underwriting criteria (including, for example, employment, debt-to-income, disposable income, and credit history requirements).

Graduates may refinance any unsubsidized or subsidized Federal or private student loan that was used exclusively for qualified higher education expenses (as defined in 26 USC Section 221) at an accredited U.S. undergraduate or graduate school. Any federal loans refinanced with Lender are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment.

All loans must be in grace or repayment status and cannot be in default. Borrower must have graduated or be enrolled in good standing in the final term preceding graduation from an accredited Title IV U.S. school and must be employed, or have an eligible offer of employment. Parents looking to refinance loans taken out on behalf of a child should refer to https://www.laurelroad.com/refinance-student-loans/refinance-parent-plus-loans/ for applicable terms and conditions.

For Associates Degrees: Only associates degrees earned in one of the following are eligible for refinancing: Cardiovascular Technologist (CVT); Dental Hygiene; Diagnostic Medical Sonography; EMT/Paramedics; Nuclear Technician; Nursing; Occupational Therapy Assistant; Pharmacy Technician; Physical Therapy Assistant; Radiation Therapy; Radiologic/MRI Technologist; Respiratory Therapy; or Surgical Technologist. To refinance an Associates degree, a borrower must also either be currently enrolled and in the final term of an associate degree program at a Title IV eligible school with an offer of employment in the same field in which they will receive an eligible associate degree OR have graduated from a school that is Title IV eligible with an eligible associate and have been employed, for a minimum of 12 months, in the same field of study of the associate degree earned.

INTEREST RATES

The interest rate you are offered will depend on your credit profile, income, and total debt payments as well as your choice of fixed or variable and choice of term. For applicants who are currently medical or dental residents, your rate offer may also vary depending on whether you have secured employment for after residency.

DISBURSEMENT OPTIONS

The repayment of any refinanced student loan will commence (1) immediately after disbursement by us, or (2) after any grace or in-school deferment period, existing prior to refinancing and/or consolidation with us, has expired.

POSTPONING OR REDUCING PAYMENTS

After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship.

We may agree under certain circumstances to allow a borrower to make $100/month payments for a period of time immediately after loan disbursement if the borrower is employed full-time as an intern, resident, or similar postgraduate trainee at the time of loan disbursement. These payments may not be enough to cover all of the interest that accrues on the loan. Unpaid accrued interest will be added to your loan and monthly payments of principal and interest will begin when the post-graduate training program ends.

We may agree under certain circumstances to allow postponement (deferral) of monthly payments of principal and interest for a period of time immediately following loan disbursement (not to exceed 6 months after the borrower’s graduation with an eligible degree), if the borrower is an eligible student in the borrower’s final term at the time of loan disbursement or graduated less than 6 months before loan disbursement, and has accepted an offer of (or has already begun) full-time employment.

If Lender agrees (in its sole discretion) to postpone or reduce any monthly payment(s) for a period of time, interest on the loan will continue to accrue for each day principal is owed. Although the borrower might not be required to make payments during such a period, the borrower may continue to make payments during such a period. Making payments, or paying some of the interest, will reduce the total amount that will be required to be paid over the life of the loan. Interest not paid during any period when Lender has agreed to postpone or reduce any monthly payment will be added to the principal balance through capitalization (compounding) at the end of such a period, one month before the borrower is required to resume making regular monthly payments.

KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

This information is current as of November 8, 2019 and is subject to change.


4 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.

Splash Financial Disclosures

Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers.


5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 1.9299999999999997% effective October 10, 2019.


6 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it  endorse,  any educational institution.

Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of  5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.

As of 11/07/2019 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.79% to 8.65% Variable APR with AutoPay and 3.49% to 7.75% Fixed APR with AutoPay.

 


7 Important Disclosures for College Ave.

College Ave Disclosures

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.

1College Ave Refi Education loans are not currently available to residents of Maine.

2All rates shown include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

3$5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees.

4This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

Information advertised valid as of 09/23/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.

1.81% – 6.49%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

1.81% – 5.98%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

1.99% – 6.65%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

2.43% – 7.60%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

2.02% – 7.09%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit CommonBond

1.79% – 8.65%6Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Lendkey

2.74% – 6.24%7Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit College Ave

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

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