Loan Forgiveness for Social Workers

NASW is promoting loan forgiveness for social workers as part of its on-going work to improve working conditions, salaries, and other benefits for members of the profession and to ensure that consumers have access to qualified professionals. NASW will continue its support for proposals to provide loan forgiveness for social workers in child welfare and schools, while also working to secure loan forgiveness and educational supports for social workers in other practice areas. It is important to note that NASW does not determine loan forgiveness eligibility, nor does NASW disperse loan forgiveness funds. However, NASW does offer scholarships.

Liberty Mutual


NASW promotes student loan forgiveness as part of its ongoing effort to improve working conditions, salaries, and other benefits for social workers and to ensure that consumers have access to qualified professionals. As many as 37% of public four-year school graduates have too much debt to manage on a social work salary. According to a Council on Social Work Education’s report, 2013 Statistics on Social Work Education in the United States, 81% of baccalaureate graduates, 80.5% of master’s graduates, and 65.5% of doctoral graduates have loan debt. The mean amount of loan debt ranged from $31,880 to $42,149.1 While there are at least three federally authorized loan forgiveness programs available to social workers, additional resources are required.

Current student loan payment Programs available, but not Practical for social workers

College Cost Reduction Act of 2007: This act established a new public service loan forgiveness program that discharges any remaining educational debt after 10 years of full-time employment in public service, requirements that are inadequate due to the low salaries provided in such jobs.

National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program: This program allows fully trained and licensed clinical social workers $50,000 to repay student loans in exchange for two years of serving in a community-based site in a high-need Health Professional Shortage Area. This debt cancellation program has been authorized, but never funded by Congress.

Policy Solution

Reauthorize the Health Education Assistant Loan forgiveness program and appropriate funding to support its use and implementation.

1 Council on Social Work Education. (2013). 2013 statistics on social work education in the United States.

Wartburg College School of Social Work Student Video "The Social Worker's Fateful Dilemma"


Loan Forgiveness Stories from Social Workers

Social workers often have school loan debt that exceeds their annual salary. NASW collects stories of loan debt to assist in our efforts to advocate for loan forgiveness for social workers.

Read Their Stories

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Web Resource

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website allows students to compare college tuition, job placement, and student loan default rates between multiple schools. Social workers will find useful resources at The Financial Aid Comparison Shopper.

Department of Education Web Resource

The U. S. Department of Education released an Employment Certification Package to help borrowers track their progress toward qualifying for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

You can download the materials below from the FederalStudentAid website which include:

Dear Borrower Letter

Instructions for Completing Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness
National Association of Social Workers, 750 First Street, NE • Suite 800, Washington, DC 20002
©2015 National Association of Social Workers. All Rights Reserved.
  • Update Your Profile in the Member Center
  • Login