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Educational Debt Relief for Social Workers

At NASW Ohio, we understand that social workers get their degrees to change lives, not to get rich, but that doesn't mean that you should have to sacrifice your financial well-being to get ahead in the field. Did you know that many social workers qualify for lower monthly payments, or even student loan debt repayment or forgiveness? Below are some resources to help you understand your options.  

Student Loan Repayment Services 

National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program

This program can help mental health professionals by paying off up to $50,000 of their debt if they work for two years in a designated area with a shortage of mental health professionals.

For more information about this program, click here

National Institutes of Health (NIH

If you commit at least two years to conducting qualified research funded by a domestic nonprofit organization or U.S. federal, state, or local government entity, NIH may repay up to $35,000 of your qualified student loan debt per year, including most undergraduate, graduate, and medical school loans. Loan repayment benefits are in addition to the institutional salary you receive for your research.

*This option is for BSW and MSW students who plan on earning a doctoral degree. Interested individuals can find more here  

AmeriCorps and PeaceCorps

These groups
 have partial-forgiveness, full-forgiveness, and grants available for individuals who volunteer in their programs. These positions may also offer a stipend in addition to debt reduction. More general information can be found here

AmericCorps information can be found here

PeaceCorps information can be found here


Faculty Loan Repayment Program (FLRP)

Health professionals from disadvantaged backgrounds serving on the faculty at an accredited health profession college or university can participate in this loan repayment program. You’ll receive$40,000 for two years of servicefor teaching full- or part-time at an accredited health school.

More information can be found here


To be eligible you must have graduated from college with student loan debt. This program allows borrowers to volunteer at participating nonprofits in need of manpower and, in return, have their student loan debt paid down by sponsors who have also signed up. Learn more here

Employer Programs

Some federal and private institutions also offer repayment programs for employees. Contact your

company's HR department to see if your organization provides this service.


Student Loan Forgiveness 

Public Student Loan Forgiveness

This service is available for federal student loan borrowers who work in certain public service sectors, including government and non-profit agencies. If you qualify for student loan forgiveness, you could have your student loan debt forgiven after 10 years or 120 payments.

For more information on the service and to see if you might qualify, click here 

For answers to more frequently asked questions about student loan forgiveness, click here

Perkins Loan Forgiveness Program

This program includes provisions for social workers working in public or private nonprofit child or family service agencies providing services to high-risk children and families from low-income communities or social workers providing early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities in public or private nonprofit agencies under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). Recipients of Federal Perkins Loan funds received after July 22, 1992 can qualify for postponement/ cancellation of up to 100% of the loan. Learn more here has assembled helpful information for FFEL, Direct Loans, and Perkins Loans



Repayment Plans

Whether or not you qualify for loan forgiveness, you may be eligible to have your payments reduced through extended, graduated, income-based, or pay-as-you-earn repayment options. For a helpful breakdown of these different repayment options, click here

You can also check out this interactive tool to see which payment options you may qualify for here

Income-Based Repayment (IBR) can be particularly to make your federal student loan payments more manageable if you are planning to use the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. If you're a teacher, work in government, or at a nonprofit (501(c)(3)) organization, you might qualify for this type of payment method. This video provides a simple explanation of the program

General Information and Debt Relief

For tips on how to stay on top of your student loans, click here

For more information about what NASW Ohio Chapter is doing to combat student debt for social workers, or to sign our petition, click here

Social workers who may want to go into teaching can find resources here




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