What is Student Loan Forgiveness?
First, it’s important to understand what student loan forgiveness is, and what it does and does not include.
Generally speaking, forgiveness of a loan means that you’re no longer responsible for either part or all of your loan. Usually, this will be the remaining balance on your student loan at the time forgiveness is approved.
Forgiveness vs. Discharge and Cancellation
When it comes to your student loans, the terms forgiveness, discharge, and cancellation all mean the same thing: you’re no longer responsible for repaying part or all of your loan balance. However, forgiveness, discharge, and cancellation apply to different situations, so it’s important to know the difference.
Discharge – This means that you’re no longer responsible for repaying your loan due to circumstances such as disability or the closure of the school from which you received your student loan.
Forgiveness or Cancellation – These are the terms most applicable to you as a social worker or perspective social worker. They mean that you’re no longer responsible for repaying part or all of your loan due to your job.
- Financial experts focused on Student Loan Debt Forgiveness
- Qualify for programs to get $5,000 off – total debt forgiveness.
- US government programs designed to help reduce debt.
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Loan Forgiveness Programs for Social Workers
Going into the social work field does not automatically qualify you for student loan forgiveness (but it is a good first step). Loan forgiveness programs for social workers have strict criteria that must be met before your loans can be canceled.
The following loan forgiveness programs are specifically for graduates in the social work career field who are struggling to repay their debts.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is a federal program specifically designed to help public service and nonprofit workers get out of debt. If you took out federal loans to get your degree, PSLF is a good option for potentially eliminating future loan payments and saving a great deal of money in the process. For those looking for student loan forgiveness for social workers, the PSLF program is definitely where you want to start.
To qualify for PSLF, you must:
- Be enrolled in a qualifying repayment plan;
- Have made 120 qualifying monthly payments while working full-time for a qualifying employer.
It’s important to note that if your employer is not considered qualified, you won’t be eligible for loan forgiveness under this plan—even if you’re engaged in social or nonprofit work. A qualified employer must be one of the following types of organizations:
- Government organizations (local, state, federal, or tribal);
- Tax-exempt not-for-profit organizations (IRS Code Section 501(c)(3));
- Other not-for-profit organizations whose primary purpose is to provide a type of qualifying public service.
Apply for PSLF by filling out and submitting the Employment Certification form as soon as possible (don’t wait until you’ve made your 120 payments, or you may find out too late that your payments were not qualified). Continue to submit this form annually, as well as any time you switch employers.
National Health Services Corp
The National Health Services Corp Loan Repayment Program offers certain licensed clinical social workers up to $50,000 to help pay off their student loans. The amount you can receive through this program depends on where you serve (serving in a higher-need area results in higher eligibility). It also depends on how many hours you’re working.
To qualify for the National Health Service Corp Loan Repayment Program, you must be fully trained and licensed in one of the following eligible disciplines:
- MD, DO, CP, CNM, PA
- DMD, DDS, RDH
- Mental or Behavioral Health
- HSP, LCSW, PNS, MFT, LPC
Additionally, your student loans must be associated with the undergraduate or graduate education which led to your degree. Debt associated with residency programs does not qualify.
The NHSC also works with states with their State Loan Repayment Program. Through this program, the Corp provides assistance to states to help their local social workers repay their loans faster. You can find your local State Loan Repayment Program contact here.
Perkins Loans Cancellation
Unlike the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which requires you to make 120 qualified payments before qualifying for forgiveness, Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge will discharge a portion of your loans each year, if you qualify. Qualifying social workers who apply for forgiveness under this program are eligible for up to 100% forgiveness of their loans.
State-Funded Loan Forgiveness for Social Workers
Depending on where you live and work, your own state may be able to help you out with your student loans if you’re a social worker for a qualifying employer.
- New York Loan Forgiveness for Social Workers
New York State offers up to $26,000 to resident qualified social workers to repay their student loans. You must be a resident for at least one year and have at least one year of experience in a critical human service field. Learn more about the New York State Loan Forgiveness Program website.
- North Carolina Loan Forgiveness for Social Workers
Licensed clinical social workers who provide services to mentally ill patients in underserved areas are eligible for repayment assistance in the state of North Carolina. In return for a two-year agreement to work in a community health center or department, you could earn up to $30,000 to help pay off your loans. Learn more on the North Carolina Health and Human Services website.
Student Loan Forgiveness for Social Workers
Whether you’re already a social worker or you’re interested in going into the field, learning about your options when it comes to student loan forgiveness is an important step towards a financially successful future. If you find your employment does not qualify for loan forgiveness programs for social workers there are other jobs that offer student loan forgiveness, or you may still have other options for reducing your monthly loan payments, including income-driven repayment plans and refinancing.
Compare the Best Student Loan Refinance Rates
Here are our top student loan refinance picks for 2019
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Student Debt Relief Loan Refinancing Advertiser Disclosure
College Ave: College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
College Ave Refi Education loans are not currently available to residents of Maine.
1 – The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as the borrower or cosigner, if applicable, enrolls in auto-pay and authorizes our loan servicer to automatically deduct your monthly payments from a valid bank account via Automated Clearing House (“ACH”). The rate reduction applies for as long as the monthly payment amount is successfully deducted from the designated bank account and is suspended during periods of forbearance and certain deferments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
2 – $5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees. Information advertised valid as of 04/26/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
3 – This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.
ELFI: Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. To qualify for refinancing or student loans consolidation through ELFI, you must have at least $15,000 in student loan debt and must have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from an approved post-secondary institution.
LendKey: Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
CommonBond: Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate.
Splash Financial: Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval.com
Earnest: To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest’s fixed-rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with autopay) to 7.89% APR (with autopay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.50% APR (with autopay) to 7.27% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms of 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 0.26% and 5.03% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 23, 2019 and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay Discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 04/23/19. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice.
Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 303 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, e-mail us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.