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How To Get Student Loan Forgiveness For Social Workers.


If you are wanting to pursue a career in social work, or if you have a degree in this field, then you already know that most entry-level positions require that you have at least a bachelor’s degree in this field. If you want to make more than the median salary for this field you would need to have a master’s degree, along with state clinical certification. That is a lot of student loan debt to accumulate.

How are borrowers able to repay this debt? The good news is that there are programs that offer student loan forgiveness for social workers. Some of these programs will pay either a set dollar amount or percentage of the debt that you have built up to get a degree in social work.

Here you will learn about the programs that provide relief from student loan debt for social workers, how to qualify and apply for these programs, and what resources you have available to help you with your student loan debt.

What Career Path Can You Take With A Degree In Social Work?

A degree in social work is a rewarding one, despite the low pay. Some of the highest paying career paths include the following:

  • Social Work Teacher
  • Clinical Social Worker
  • School and Career Counselor
  • Healthcare Social Worker

These career paths can pay well over $50,000 a year, however, in comparison to the amount of schooling that is needed to obtain these degrees, the pay is minimal. Yet the field of social work continues to increase and is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade. Therefore if you are looking to have a career in one of the above fields of social work, it’s important to know your options to help you pay for your school.

What Loan Forgiveness Programs Are Available To Social Workers?

As previously mentioned there are several programs available to help you pay for your degree in social work. Here are some of the programs that can provide you with assistance repaying your student loan debt:

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  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness
  • National Health Services Corp. Loan Repayment
  • Indian Health Service Loan Repayment
  • Perkins Loans Cancellation

What Are The Eligibility Requirements For These Programs?

Each of these programs has specific requirements to determine eligibility for the programs. Some of these programs may require that you meet eligibility requirements before applying for these programs intended for student loan forgiveness for social workers.

Here is a more detailed look of each program:

Indian Health Service Loan Repayment

This repayment program begins with an initial two-year agreement in exchange for $40,000 worth of student loan debt repaid. This program allows you to extend commitment and will provide you with one year of repayment for each year that you renew your commitment.

Eligibility for this program:

  • You need to be a licensed social worker to receive payment or be eligible for employment even though it’s not required to apply
  • Must work full-time in a health facility within American Indian and Alaskan communities
  • Priority is given to American Indian and Alaskan Natives although it is not required to be one.

What you should know about this program:

  • Payments through this program are taxable
  • You apply online at
  • If you leave the facility or you do not complete your commitment, you will be in default of your contract
  • If you choose to extend your contract, you have to submit a request by January 1st.
  • You can continue renewing or extending your contract as long as you have an outstanding loan balance

National Health Services Corp. Loan Repayment

This program is for licensed social workers. It requires a 2-year commitment either full-time or half-time. Full-time pays up to $50,000, and half-time pays up to $25,000. This program has limited funding.

Eligibility for this program:

  • You must be licensed
  • You must work at a site that is approved by National Health Services Corp
  • You must be US citizen or National
  • You either need to be a provider or eligible to be a provider for state or federal healthcare programs, such as Medicaid, or Medicare.

What you should know about this program:

  • You can apply online at
  • The application process is extensive and according to their website, takes three weeks to complete
  • Funding priorities are given to those that are more than likely to remain in Health Professional Shortage Areas or come from a disadvantaged background. Certification must be submitted from your school indicating that the circumstances apply to you.

Perkins Loans Cancellation

As of September 2017, Perkins Loans are no longer available. However, if you received a Perkins loan before the program ended you could qualify for Perkins loan cancellation. This program will cancel anywhere from 50% to 100% of your debt from Perkins Loans.

Eligibility for this program and what you need to know:

  • You must be a teacher in a school for low-income families. The definition of a teacher includes guidance counselors and school librarians with master degrees
  • If you are teaching part-time at more than one school you could qualify
  • Other occupations that can qualify you for the Perkins Loans Cancellation program include public defender, law enforcement officer, nurse or medical technician, early childhood education provider, firefighter, a speech pathologist with master’s degrees, and others listed on website.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

This is one of the programs that require that you have completed your 10 years of service and that you have made 120 on-time payments to an Income-Driven Repayment Plan before you can fill out an application. After making 120 payments, if you are approved for this program, the balance of your loan will be forgiven.

Eligibility and what you need to know for this program:

  • Only direct loans qualify, if you have an FFEL or Federal Perkins Loans, these must be consolidated into Direct Consolidation loan
  • Forgiven loan amounts are non-taxable
  • Your employment must be certified
  • You need to work full-time for a non-profit organization
  • Your loans cannot be in default

We Can Help

If you are searching for ways to get out of your student loan debt, these programs could be the answer you are looking for if you have a degree in social work. If you have questions or need help with any of the forgiveness programs, contact our office and speak with a student loan advisor to help you on your path to finding relief from your student loan debt.