Loan Repayment Assistance Now Available for Oklahoma Mental Health Professionals

Posted By: Micah Perkins Legislation, Resources,

On November 1, 2023, Oklahoma joined states such as Texas and New Mexico in offering loan assistance to mental health professionals. 

Oklahoma House Bill 2175 was signed into law and established the "Behavioral Health Workforce Development Fund." This revolving fund, managed by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, is not bound by fiscal year limitations, making it a continuous resource.  

The primary objective of this fund is to address critical needs within the mental health and substance abuse treatment provider workforce. It aims to allocate resources for various purposes, including repaying student loans for mental health and substance treatment providers, expanding psychiatric residencies, increasing the number of clinicians at master's level and above through expanded licensure cohorts, and enhancing training, recruitment, and supervision capacity. 

To meet the fund’s objectives, the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is encouraged to collaborate with health care loan repayment programs operated by other state, tribal, and federal agencies. This collaborative effort includes seeking matching federal grants to maximize and coordinate resources and specifically aims to fill gaps in loan repayment availability for critically needed mental health professions. 

The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services has established eligibility requirements for student loan repayment for Oklahoma licensed mental health professionals (licensure candidates are not eligible).  

Eligibility includes a commitment to provide “direct clinical care in Oklahoma in a full-time (at least 32 hours per week) capacity for a period of two (2) years, or an equivalent amount of hours over a period of more than two (2) but not more than four (4) years. A minimum of twenty (20) hours per week over the employment period is required to be eligible.” 

Content generated by Chat GPT 3.5 . additional content and editing by Micah Perkins, LPC, LADC 

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