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NASW IA pleased to announce a new Mental Health Practitioner Loan Repayment Program Fund


HF 2549 establishes a Mental Health Practitioner Loan Repayment Program Fund

Good news!  On Monday, 6-15-2022, Governor Reynolds signed HF 2549, which establishes the Mental Health Practitioner Loan Repayment Program Fund.  The NASW Iowa Chapter worked closely with the Iowa Mental Health Counselors Association and the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy to advocate for this program.

In HF 2575, the Education Appropriations bill, the state legislature appropriates $520,000 to the newly created Mental Health Practitioner Loan Repayment Program fund.

(See p. 3 lines 6 through 14 of the amendment to HF 2575 for the specific language)

As required by the appropriations bill, the accompanying policy bill, HF2549, passed and was signed by the Governor on Mon. 6-13-2022.

Nonprescribers who work in mental health shortage areas will be eligible for loan repayment assistance of up to $40,000.

This means that approximately 13 non-prescribing mental health professionals (depending on amount of assistance requested) will gain a substantial amount of assistance in repaying their loans. 

Criteria for eligibility

              Eligible practice area: a city in Iowa that is within in a federal mental health shortage area

              Mental health professional is defined as a nonprescribing individual who

  1. holds a masters degree from an eligible institution in the mental health field including
  • social work
  • psychology
  • counseling and guidance
  • marriage and family therapy
  • mental health counseling
  1. holds a current Iowa license if practicing in a field covered by Iowa licensure law
  2. has two years of post-degree clinical experience, supervised by an individual in the mental health field

The professional is not eligible for the rural Iowa advance nurse practitioner or physician assistant loan repayment program

To see the full text of the policy bill, HF2549, go to

https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=89&ba=HF2549

Stay tuned!  The Iowa College Student Aid Commission is already working on the administrative rules for this program.  We will keep you posted on how to apply.

THANK YOU to all of you who did advocacy on this program.  The policy bill as originally drafted was very straight forward, but became convoluted during the legislative process.  Because of YOUR advocacy, we were able to create a simple, straightforward program that does not require community investment. 

We will monitor this program closely and will need to continue to advocate for more and continued funding.