Up to $180,000 in Student Loan Forgiveness for Mental Health Professionals
New Jersey residents may now apply for the Behavioral Healthcare Provider Loan Redemption Program, announced by the Murphy Administration through the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA).
The program aims to recruit and retain qualified behavioral healthcare professionals in the state, in order to expand access to mental health care and address the critical shortage of providers.
Through funding and a law signed by Governor Phil Murphy, the program allows behavioral healthcare professionals to have HESAA pay off up to $150,000 of their student loan balance in exchange for working at an approved community behavioral and mental health provider in New Jersey for a maximum of six years. For every two years of service in New Jersey, behavioral healthcare providers can apply for up to $50,000 in loan redemption, for a maximum of six years.
According to the Executive Director of HESAA, David J. Socolow, student loan debt can be a significant barrier to qualified individuals pursuing careers in the behavioral health field.
"Paying off a part of healthcare providers' student loan balances can help alleviate the financial pressures of professionals in these high-demand career paths. Managing student loan debt is one of many services HESAA provides, and we are excited to add this new support for highly skilled New Jerseyans who are dedicated to providing behavioral health services to the people of our state," said Socolow.
In addition to the six-year, $150,000 loan redemption offer, behavioral healthcare providers who work primarily with children and adolescents may also be eligible to receive supplemental incentive grants of up to $5,000 annually for up to six years, resulting in an additional $30,000 on top of the available $150,000.
A recent survey found that the overall average vacancy rate at 20 behavioral health organizations was 31 percent. Another survey from December 2022 found that 32 New Jersey behavioral healthcare providers reported 725 open positions.
A total of $5 million is available to support the first cohort of approved applicants for up to a six-year maximum service commitment.
To learn more about eligibility details and to access the online application, click here.