Public Notices and Press Releases

New Jersey Launches Loan Redemption Program for Home and Community-Based Service Workers

In a significant move, state agencies introduce a program aimed at bolstering the workforce in healthcare and social services by offering substantial student loan relief.

NEW JERSEY - In a joint initiative by the Department of Human Services, the Department of Children and Families, and the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, New Jersey has unveiled a new student loan redemption program designed to attract and retain professionals in the healthcare, behavioral health, and social services sectors. Announced on June 17, 2024, this program targets individuals committed to serving communities with pressing medical, mental health, and disability needs.

The Home and Community-Based Services Provider Loan Redemption Program offers eligible workers up to $50,000 in student loan relief for committing to one year of service at an approved provider agency or as a self-directed employee. This initiative addresses the urgent need for skilled professionals across various roles, including psychiatrists, licensed social workers, registered nurses, and several other critical positions.

In addition to alleviating the financial burdens of this workforce, this program also builds the capacity to deliver care in the community for more New Jerseyans," Governor Phil Murphy said.

In partnership with DHS and HESAA, offering this loan redemption program is one part of a multi-level strategy to ensure that our contracted service providers can compete for the highly competent, well-trained workforce that New Jersey children, youth, and families deserve. These care workers help our families to heal from adversity and trauma, to strengthen the bonds of family and community, and to achieve their utmost potential – to be safe, healthy, and connected in all that they do," Children and Families (DCF) Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer, MSW, said.

This program is funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and is part of a broader $100 million strategic investment for fiscal year 2024 by the Department of Human Services. This investment not only focuses on alleviating the financial burden on healthcare workers but also includes plans to enhance recruitment, training, and certification opportunities for direct care staff.

Eligible participants for this loan redemption must meet several criteria, including full-time employment in eligible roles at state-funded agencies, maintaining proper licensure and board certification, and not being in default on qualifying student loans. The program also stipulates that these individuals must not be concurrently participating in other loan repayment programs like the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program.

The breakdown of the $17 million funding allocation includes $5 million each for employees in specific divisions of the DHS and DCF, with an additional $2 million earmarked for private duty nurses contracted by NJ FamilyCare’s managed care organizations.

This loan redemption program is set against a backdrop of broader workforce enhancements under Governor Murphy’s administration, which has seen wage increases for a wide array of direct care positions as the state’s minimum wage rose to $15 per hour. The introduction of resources like the Jobs that Care New Jersey website further supports the state's commitment to enriching the employment landscape for these essential services.

Applications for this beneficial program will open on July 1 and will be available for 30 days. Selections will be made on a first-come, first-served basis, with successful applicants expected to be notified by October 1, 2024.

For more details and to prepare for the application process, eligible workers are encouraged to visit the program’s website. This comprehensive initiative underscores New Jersey’s dedication to supporting those who provide vital services at the heart of community and healthcare settings.

I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified