NYS Licensed Social Worker Loan Forgiveness (LSWLF) 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 NYS resident and have resided in NYS for 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 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 his or her application. To determine if your workplace is an eligible service area, visit Eligibility by County;
- be in a non-default status 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.
Eligible Student Loans
An applicant must have an outstanding balance on eligible student loan debt.
Eligible student loans include NYS and federal government student loans, and private student loans made by commercial entities subject to governmental examination.
Parent PLUS loans are not eligible.
Ineligible loans also include non-educational student loan consolidations and home equity loans used to pay off student loans.
The maximum award under this Program is $26,000 or the applicant's actual eligible student loan indebtedness, whichever is less. Awards will be paid in the amount of $6,500 for each annual period of qualified service completed or the remaining loan indebtedness. If the qualified service for the first or last year of the Program is less than 12 months, those disbursements will be pro-rated based on the number of months worked. Any additional payments made to reduce the outstanding balance may cause a reduction in the total amount of the award.
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 potential tax implications 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 NYS Licensed Social Worker Loan Forgiveness Program has passed.
The number of awards paid under this Program is limited to available funding; a recipient is not guaranteed a payment in each following year, however, priority is given to prior recipients seeking payment.
If there are more applicants than available funding, new recipients will be determined by lottery.
Payments are made directly to the recipient.
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 verification of the qualified service for which payment is sought under this Program by the deadlines set by HESC. Payment Applications are provided annually to recipients in January.
Award recipients from the 2013 Series and prior: if your worksite is no longer listed as an eligible service area, you remain eligible for an award payment.