HESAA Makes Awards for FY24 Behavioral Healthcare Provider Loan Redemption Program

February 16, 2024

Last week, New Jersey’s Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) began notifying applicants of award approvals and denials for the Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) Behavioral Healthcare Provider Loan Redemption Program.

For the second year in a row, the FY24 state budget included $5 million to address the critical shortage of behavioral healthcare providers across the state. Under this program, eligible providers were able to receive up to $50,000 to redeem a participant’s cumulative outstanding student loan balance in exchange for every two full-time years of service at an approved site. Participants were eligible to redeem a total of $150,000 in loan payments in exchange for up to six years of service.

The application opened on October 1, 2023, and applications were accepted through the end of the month. HESAA received more than 850 complete applications in the FY24 round. Those applications were reviewed, scored, and – new for this year – ranked using weighted criteria such as geographic location and in-demand occupation, based on New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development occupational demand data.

Due to funding limitations, HESAA made 44 awards in six high-demand occupations. Among those occupations are Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA). Other professions receiving awards include licensed professional counselors, licensed associate counselors, licensed clinical drug and alcohol counselors, licensed social workers, and licensed clinical social workers.

The average outstanding loan for the FY24 program is $86,000. Awardees who work primarily with children will receive an additional $5,000 annual stipend under the program.

Looking ahead to the Fiscal Year 2025 (FY25) budget, and the growing demand for autism treatment from BCBAs, Autism New Jersey has submitted a budget request to the Governor to increase funding for the Behavioral Healthcare Provider Loan Redemption Program from $5 million to $15 million and recommended a program carve out for behavior analysts to address the long-standing unmet treatment needs of individuals with autism. The Governor is scheduled to deliver his proposed state budget on February 27, 2024, and the final FY25 state budget will be signed into law by June 30, 2024. The new fiscal year begins on July 1, 2024.

Read Autism New Jersey’s FY25 Budget Request