(a) Within the limits of the funds appropriated for or otherwise available to the loan program, the board shall be authorized to grant to each applicant deemed by the board to be qualified, a loan for the purposes of acquiring a nursing degree as defined in Section 22-4B-1, upon such terms and conditions as may be imposed by the board and as provided for in this section.
(b) In order to be eligible, a loan applicant must:
(1) Be a citizen and a bona fide resident of the State of Alabama;
(2) At the time of application, have been an employee of the department for at least three years in a position not requiring a nursing degree;
(3) Be accepted by and attend an accredited school of nursing approved and designated by the board; and
(4) Agree to work as a nurse for the department or for a federally-funded community health center in an underserved or rural area of Alabama for not less than two years for each year of education financed by the board after obtaining certification as a registered professional nurse. The rural county health department or community health center in which the employee must work after graduation shall be designated by the board either in advance of enrollment or after graduation of the employee.
(c) Before being granted a loan, each applicant shall enter into a written obligation to the board, which shall be deemed legally binding on the applicant, setting forth the conditions upon which the loan shall be granted to the applicant. The obligation shall include all terms and conditions specified in this chapter. The obligation shall be signed by the State Health Officer, or his designee, and by the applicant.
(d) The board shall have the authority to cancel any loan for good cause shown.
(e) The board is vested with full power and authority to sue in its own name any recipient for any balance due the state under the terms of this chapter. Any funds recovered by the board pursuant to such legal actions shall be deposited to the credit of the board and are hereby appropriated to the Board of Health to carry out the provisions of this chapter.