Therapy is an essential field that covers a vast range of treatments, such as mental health therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and marriage or family counseling. Therapists provide a mental health diagnosis and come up with a treatment plan for patients in various places such as hospitals, offices, treatment centers, and group homes. While they can’t recommend medication, a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement if anyone wants to pursue a career in therapy or counseling. More often than not, this means having student loan debt.
But, do therapists in public health qualify for student loan forgiveness?
Yes! In fact, there are multiple student relief options for graduates who have decided to pursue a career in public health as a therapist or counselor. Here are some options you can consider:
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program is a student loan forgiveness program offered by the federal government to therapists or counselors working in the public health sector. This means being employed full-time (minimum of 30 hours per week) as a mental health therapist or counselor in non-profit organizations or government agencies. To be eligible for PSLF, you must be working for one of the following organizations:
- Federal, state, local, or tribal government organizations
- Not-for-profit organizations that are exempt from taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
- Not-for-profit organizations that aren’t tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) but provide certain types of qualifying services
- AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps
The way PSLF works is that you must make 120 qualifying payments while employed in one of the above organizations, though these payments don’t need to be consecutive. After 10 years of service, PSLF provides complete student loan forgiveness for the remaining balance of your student loan debt. The amount forgiven is also tax-free!
Keep in mind that the PSLF only works for federal direct loans, so make sure you have eligible loans.
Income-Driven Repayment Forgiveness
If you're a therapist who works at a for-profit facility, an option for you would be to pay your loans while enrolled in an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. This approach takes longer than PSLF as it can extend to 20 years (25 for graduate loans) before the remaining loan balance can be forgiven. Since an IDR plan caps your monthly payments based on your discretionary income and family size, it's a good option for those who have a high debt amount relevant to their income.
There are five different IDR Plans to choose from:
- Revised Pay As You Earn
- Pay As You Earn
- Income-Based (2014)
- Income-Based (2009)
Get Track Now!
Regardless of which option is best for you, make sure to get on track as soon as possible as both programs are timely! Getting on track for PSLF or IDR forgiveness will save you a lot of time and money in the long run! Securely link your loans with Chipper to discover how much your forgiveness potential is + get on track for student loan forgiveness now! 🤗