State’s new Mental Health Loan Repayment Program now accepting applications from practicing providers
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission is now accepting applications for the state’s new Mental Health Loan Repayment Program, which was created by the Legislature and approved by Governor Jim Justice last year in an effort to retain licensed mental health professionals practicing in underserved communities in West Virginia.
“We are tremendously grateful to be able to provide this vital financial aid, which will help retain critically needed mental health providers in historically underserved areas of the state,” said Sarah Armstrong Tucker, West Virginia’s Chancellor for Higher Education. “Mental health needs are acute in West Virginia, particularly in some of our most isolated and rural areas – and particularly right now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. By offering currently practicing mental health providers this incentive to stay, we’re doing more than ever to strengthen West Virginians’ access to the services they need.”
The Mental Health Loan Repayment Program provides loan repayment for graduates of accredited programs in exchange for a service commitment. Applicants must be employed in an underserved area in West Virginia, providing individual and group therapy or counseling for a majority of their practice. Licensed certified social workers, licensed independent clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists, and licensed master’s and doctoral clinical psychologists are eligible for a $10,000 award.
Awards are made by the Commission’s Division of Health Sciences based on a competitive review process and recommendations of an advisory panel. Applicants must have educational debt in at least the amount of the loan repayment award. Other selection factors include commitment to practice in an underserved area and professional recommendations.
Awards are made from a pool of all applicants. Approximately 30 awards will be made during this award cycle, with application materials due by January 4, 2021. Award decisions will be announced in early February.