NYS Licensed Social Worker Loan Forgiveness Program

The NYS Licensed Social Worker Loan Forgiveness (LSWLF) Program is offered to increase the number of licensed social workers working in critical human service areas, including but not limited to the following fields: home care, health, mental health, substance abuse, aging, HIV/AIDS and child welfare or communities with multilingual needs.


An applicant must:

  • be a legal resident of NYS for at least 12 continuous months prior to applying for this program; 
  • be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen;
  • be a social worker professionally licensed to practice in NYS;
  • have an outstanding balance on an eligible student loan debt;
  • have at least one year of qualified service:
    • full-time employment as a licensed social worker in a critical human service area for at least 35 hours per week during the calendar year prior to their application;
  • not be in default on a student loan made under any NYS or federal education loan program or repayment of any NYS award; and
  • be in compliance with the terms of any service condition imposed by a NYS award.

Critical Human Service Areas

An applicant seeking an LSWLF award must work in a critical human service area for a minimum of 35 hours per week during the calendar year preceding their application or payment.

Designated critical human service areas have been updated for the 2014 series.  To determine if your workplace is an eligible service area, visit Eligibility by County.

Eligible Student Loans

A successful applicant must have outstanding balances for eligible student loans.

Eligible student loans include:

  • NYS or federal governmental loans, and
  • loans made by commercial entities subject to governmental examination.

Ineligible student loans include:

  • Parent PLUS loans,
  • loans which may be canceled under any other program,
  • private loans given by family or friends, and
  • student loan debts paid by credit card.

Award Amounts

The maximum award under this program is $26,000, paid in the amount of $6,500 for each annual period of qualified service completed, or the applicant's eligible student loan indebtedness at the time eligibility is established, whichever is less. 

Note: Any loan forgiveness award payment received may have tax implications. A 1099 form will be issued by the NYS Office of the State Comptroller reflecting the total loan forgiveness payment received by the recipient for the year. Any questions regarding this should be directed to a tax professional, the Internal Revenue Service, or the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance.


Payments are available for up to four years of qualified service.

How to Apply

The deadline for the 2015 NYS Social Worker Loan Forgiveness (LSWLF) Program has passed.

Applications for the 2016 series will be available January 1, 2017.

Note:  A previously designated recipient does not have to submit another NYS Licensed Social Worker Loan Forgiveness Program Application, but must request a payment each year; See Payment, below.

Recipient Selection

The number of awards paid under this Program is limited to available funding; a recipient is not guaranteed a payment in each following year.

If there are more applicants than available finding, recipients will be determined by lottery; first priority is given to prior recipients seeking payment. 


The LSWLF Program Application will be used to establish an applicant’s eligibility as well as to process the first award payment.

In subsequent years, a recipient must submit a Payment Application, and verify the qualified service for which payment is sought under this Program by the deadlines set by HESC. To check eligible service areas, visit Eligibility by County. Payment Applications are provided annually to recipients in January.

Award Recipients from the 2013 Series and prior: As a previous award recipient, if your worksite is no longer listed as an eligible service area, you remain eligible for an award payment.

Recipients must maintain updated address information in their HESC records and with the NYS Office of the State Comptroller's Vendor Self Service website (http://www.osc.state.ny.us/vendor_management/).


Please contact the Scholarship Unit at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 1-888-697-4372 with any questions regarding this program.