PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The Oregon Health Authority announced it is accepting applications from behavioral health care workers for student loan repayment grants.

According to OHA, the Oregon Behavioral Health Loan Repayment Program provides tax-free grants to help the behavioral health workforce in underserved and underrepresented areas in the state.

The health authority said program participants who qualify will get tax-free grants to repay qualifying undergraduate and post-graduate loan debt – noting the agency may also consider other educational loan debt. Awards will be calculated based on the balance owed on qualifying loans, OHA said.

Under the loan program, behavioral health care professionals who work full-time — more than 32 hours per week — may be awarded equal to 70% of their qualifying education debt balance, up to $50,000 per obligation year.

Part-time behavioral health care professionals — who work between 16 and 31 hours per week — may be awarded equal to 35% of their qualifying debt, or up to $25,000 per obligation year.

Participants in the program are required to meet a two-year service obligation or risk repaying some or all of their grant. Applicants must be currently employed in behavioral health care.

Applications close Jan. 3, 2023.