Current Student Loan Debt Forgiveness and Repayment Options for Social Workers
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Limited Waiver Opportunity Through October 2022
The Department of Education has overhauled the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program through a waiver. Read the Department of Education press release.
The PSLF Coalition, of which NASW is a member, has a fact sheet on the PSLF Waiver and how to access forgiveness.
The waiver will run through October 31, 2022. Borrowers who need to consolidate must submit a consolidation application by that date. Similarly, borrowers will need to submit a PSLF form — the single application used for a review of employment certification, payment counts, and processing of forgiveness — on or before October 31, 2022, to have previously ineligible payments counted. The Department recommends borrowers take this action through the online PSLF Help Tool.
NASW is working with the Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC). The SBPC is hosting a webinar about accessing PSLF in light of the waiver.
You can find out more about the overhaul and how to access Public Service Loan Forgiveness on the Student Borrower Protection Center website.
Public service professionals, including social workers, may be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
This program allows licensed clinical social workers up to an initial $50,000 to repay student loans in exchange for two years of serving in a community-based site in a high-need designated Health Professional Shortage Area. Social workers may be eligible for additional loan repayment funds through one-year continuation service contracts.
According to the Council on Social Work Education’s report, 2019
Statistics on Social Work Education in the United States, "Educational
debt for baccalaureate and master’s social work graduates is higher
today than it was 10 years ago. Master’s graduates have, on average,
more than 50% more debt today; in 2019, the average loan debt amount was $46,591, compared to $30,789 in 2009. On average, baccalaureate graduates had $29,323 in loan debt in 2019, compared to $24,683 in 2009."
The report finds that 73.3% of baccalaureate graduates and 76.1% of
master’s graduates have loan debt. According to the Bureau of Labor
Statistics, a social worker’s median salary is only $51,760.
While there are federally authorized loan forgiveness programs available to social workers, additional resources are required.
2019 statistics on social work education in the United States - Council on Social Work Education
U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook, Social Workers - Bureau of Labor Statistics,