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MDHHS Student Loan Repayment Program For Behavioral Health Workers

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MDHHS has transformed the MI Kids Now Loan Repayment Program into a new, tiered student loan repayment program covering both juvenile and adult care workers:

MDHHS Behavioral Health Loan Repayment Program offered to help retain, attract providers through student debt relief

Up to $300,000 available per award to repay educational debt

LANSING, Mich. – As part of the state’s effort to attract and retain talent and expand access to behavioral health services, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is offering the Behavioral Health Loan Repayment Program. Previously known as the MI Kids Now Loan Repayment Program, this program encourages behavioral health providers to offer their services within nonprofit outpatient organizations statewide.

The program is available to behavioral health providers, including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, counselors, therapists, case managers and certified behavioral analysts. Those eligible must provide in-person, outpatient behavioral health services through eligible nonprofit practice sites, including public school-based systems and community mental health organizations.

“Under Governor Whitmer, MDHHS has prioritized expanding access to behavioral health services across Michigan,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. "We are continuing to offer loan repayment programs to ensure providers have the supports they deserve, and families can receive services when and where they need them.”

The loan repayment program is open to providers who serve both children and adults, but priority will be given to those who serve children. Eligible providers will be selected to enter into consecutive two-year agreements. The program will assist those selected with up to $300,000 to repay educational debt over a period of up to 10 years. A prioritization system will be used to rank applicants as follows:

  • Priority Group #1: Child providers in a Community Mental Health Authority setting.
  • Priority Group #2: Child providers in a public school-based setting.
  • Priority Group #3: Child providers in any nonprofit, eligible setting.
  • Priority Group #4: Adult providers in a Community Mental Health Authority setting.
  • Priority Group #5: Adult providers in any nonprofit, eligible setting.

Current behavioral health providers are encouraged to apply for the loan repayment program. The application period is April 29 through May 24. Further information regarding eligibility, selection criteria, application instructions and frequently asked questions can be found on the MDHHS website.

Providers should note that guidelines, eligibility criteria and application instructions have changed for the 2024 application cycle. During previous grant cycles, MDHHS has enrolled around 500 providers and awarded $12.3 million in funding to eligible providers. Further information can be found on the program website. Providers who have questions or need more information can email



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