CounselorsEmpowerACA Government Affairs Blog

The ACA Government Affairs team strives to keep the counseling community connected with important legislative news, updates, and announcements that affect the profession. Questions? Want to get involved in our advocacy efforts? Email us at 


Feb 21, 2019

Application Deadlines Extended For Student Loan Forgiveness Programs Benefitting LPCs

February 21st, 2019 

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has extended the deadline for accepting applications for a new student-loan-forgiveness program for behavioral health clinicians working in drug-treatment programs in underserved areas from February 21 to February 28. As a result of ACA's advocacy efforts, licensed professional counselors (LPCs) are among those eligible to participate in the program.

Congress approved the new loan-forgiveness/repayment plan in October. The program enables eligible clinicians to receive up to $75,000 in student loan repayment in exchange for a three-year commitment to provide substance use disorder (SUD) treatment services at National Health Service Corps (NHSC)-approved sites.

You can learn more about the new program from this fact sheet. In addition, you can apply here and review online information about the approved substance-use-disorder work sites and participant eligibility requirements.

You qualify for the NHSC-SUD Workforce Loan Repayment Program:

  • If you work at a SUD site with a Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) score that would ordinarily be too low to qualify for National Health Service Score (NHSC) funding.
  • You can use either your NHSC-approved site’s Mental Health HPSA score or your site’s Primary Care HPSA score to show you work at a qualifying site.
  • Click on NHSC-Approved SUD Treatment Sites on this page to expand the additional information on qualifying work sites.

Feb. 28 also is the new application deadline for the existing National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program, which is not limited to those working in SUD programs. This program offers up to $50,000 in loan forgiveness for clinicians, including LPCs. In exchange for this loan repayment, participants must serve for at least two years at an NHSC-approved site in a designated health professional shortage area (HPSA).

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