Financing an MSW Degree: Loan Forgiveness Programs

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Social Workers with an MSW degree have opportunities to repay their student loans while involved in social work. Government and volunteer programs repay a portion of students' federal student loan debt in exchange for services.

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National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program (NHSC)

Licensed behavioral health care providers can receive up to $50,000 toward student loan repayment from the NHSC program if they work for two years in areas with limited access to healthcare. The NHSC program provides loan repayment for full-time and part-time employment at NHSC-approved settings or at settings in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA).

Find more information about NHSC eligibility. The National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment program also includes loan repayment for commercial loans.

State Loan Repayment Program

The State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP), a federally-funded grant program to states and territories, provides cost-sharing grants to help states and territories operate their own state educational loan repayment programs for primary care providers working in Health Professional Shortage Areas within their state. The SLRP does not provide loan repayment directly to individual health professionals. Also, not all states offer the State Loan Repayment Program. Some states have created their own loan forgiveness program. Find more information about the SLRP.

Federal Student Loan Repayment Program

The Office of Personnel Management reports federal agencies can provide student loan forgiveness programs as a recruitment or retention incentive for current employees or candidates.

Federal agencies can provide up to $10,000 in loan forgiveness per calendar year as well as a cumulative maximum of up to $60,000. Employees seeking the loan forgiveness must sign a service agreement to work with the agency for a minimum of three years. Agencies include the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and many others.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

Federal Student Aid reports, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program encourages people to enter and continue to work full-time in public service jobs. The program forgives student loan debt of individuals working in eligible public service organizations, including government agencies, school-based services and nonprofits. The PSLF program forgives the debt after the borrower makes 120 payments on their repayment plan Find more information about PSLF eligibility.

PSLF qualifying loans include any loans an individual received under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. Individuals may have received loans from other federal student loan programs, such as the Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) Program or the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program. These loans do not qualify for PSLF, but these loans may become eligible if an individual consolidates them into a Direct Consolidation Loan. However, only qualifying payments made on the new Direct Consolidation Loan are counted toward the 120 payments required for PSLF.

Loan Forgiveness for Volunteers

Some volunteer agencies provide individuals payments toward loan forgiveness in exchange for volunteer service hours. Such programs include AmeriCorps and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), which pay up to $5,730 for loan repayment after a volunteer completes 1,700 hours of service.

The organization SponsorChange connects skilled volunteers with unpaid student loan debt with nonprofits and rewards their service with payments for their student loan with funds sponsors raise.

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