If you pursued a course in social work, there’s a high chance that you have student loans weighing you down. Unfortunately, you’re not the only one. Most people struggle with their student loan repayments, which can affect other areas of their lives.
Fortunately, there is student loan forgiveness available to choose from. This guide will give you the existing social worker’s loan forgiveness programs. That way, you can make an informed decision and choose the one that best fits your situation.
Student Loan Forgiveness For Social Workers
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
PSLF is a federal loan forgiveness program available to any social worker with federal student loans. You can qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program:
- After ten years of full-time employment with a non-profit organization or a government agency
- After you make 120 qualifying on-time monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan
After making the 120 qualifying payments, your student debt balance will be forgiven. The qualifying repayment program includes the income-driven repayment plans such as
- IBR plan
- ICR plan
Keep in mind that the 120 payments don’t have to be consecutive. And only direct loans are eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. However, other federal student loans can qualify if you consolidate them.
National Health Services Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program
Besides the PSLF program, you can get forgiveness for your loans through the NHSC loan repayment program. When you qualify for the program, you can get student loans forgiven up to $50,000. But you’ll have to work full-time for at least two years.
You can also receive up to $25,000 for a two-year, half-time service commitment. To acquire this loan forgiveness, you must serve your clinical practice time at a recommended health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA).
However, you won’t qualify for this loan repayment program if you’re not part of the Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW). The NHSC is an awarded program, which means there’s a limit of people who can get the funds.
The NHSC prioritizes people who are more likely to stay in the underserved area even when their service ends. Therefore, if you qualify for the program, you receive the funds at the beginning of your service.
Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program
The IHS loan repayment program was developed to bring health service professionals to serve in Indian and Alaska Native communities. Participants receive funds to pay off their student loan debt.
The program awards student loan forgiveness of up to $40,000 for a two-year agreement. If some of the student debt remains after the $40,000, you can extend your commitment.
When you do that, you’ll receive one year of loan repayment for each additional service until your debt is fully paid.
Perkins Loans Cancellation And Discharge
Officially, the Perkins loans program ended in September 2017. However, if you took out the loans before the program ended, you could still be eligible for loan cancellation as a social worker.
If you choose to work with a child or family services agency as a social worker, you can get up to 100% of your student loans discharged. But you must provide aid to children in low-income communities to qualify.
But there’s a difference between how your loans get discharged in the Perkins loans and PSLF. For the Public Service Loan Forgiveness, you must make all qualifying payments before your loans get forgiven.
With Perkins loans, it’s pretty different. The government will discharge a portion of your loans every year for five years. If you want to know if you’re eligible, get in touch with the school’s financial aid office you graduated from.
Student loan forgiveness is possible if you’re a social worker/ You can use this guide to choose the best fits your situation. However, if you don’t qualify for any forgiveness programs, you can also check state-specific loan relief programs.
You can check your current state and find out if there are any relief programs for social workers. Other alternatives you can consider income-driven repayments like IBR, ICR, PAYE, etc., interest-only plans for private student loans, or student loan refinancing.
But before you proceed, we recommend that you talk to a student loan expert. They can give you the right direction. Then, you’ll be in a better position to take the correct route.