The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) has opened up the application process for a new loan program that aims to help address the behavioral health workforce shortage.
Through the $28 million Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery Loan Repayment Program (STAR LRP), SUD professionals can receive up to $250,000 in eligible education loan repayment funds. The program is a small step in the right direction to bolster the behavioral health workforce — which is characterized by high need, low pay and pervasive labor shortages.
“By incentivizing more students and professionals to specialize in the prevention and treatment of addiction, [the] launch of the Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery Loan Repayment Program signals a major step forward in the effort to broaden access to treatment for all Americans affected by substance misuse and addiction,” William Haning, president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), said in a statement. “This benefit will be felt particularly by high-need communities.”
To be chosen for the program, applicants must be U.S. citizens, nationals or permanent residents. Plus, they’re required to work in substance use disorder treatment (SUD), either as a registered professional or a licensed, credentialed worker in one of several eligible disciplines. Finally, recipients must be full-time employees at a STAR LRP facility and commit to working at such a facility for at least six years.
Priority will be given to those working in facilities that are located in areas with higher-than-average drug overdose rates, followed by those working at facilities in mental health professional shortage areas. HRSA will also take into account applicants’ current debt-to-income ratio and their employment start date.
The deadline to apply is July 22 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. You can find more information here.