Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Background information on Federal Loan Forgiveness

For those who may not have seen what National NASW efforts have been regarding loan forgiveness here is some background.

July 10, 2007
Support Loan Forgiveness for Social Workers!!


The Senate is currently considering important legislation that would make it easier for students to afford a college education, thereby directly assisting the social work workforce through loan forgiveness and other incentives.

The Higher Education Access Act of 2007 would allow social workers in a public child or family service agency to take advantage of loan forgiveness programs because it would cancel their obligation to repay federal loans after 25 years if they earn less than $65,000 annually and have worked full-time for 10 years in a “public sector job” without defaulting on their loan. Other “public sector jobs” eligible for loan forgiveness are:

* Public Emergency Management* Public Law Enforcement* Public Early Childhood Education* Public Services for the Elderly * Public library sciences* Public interest legal services (including prosecution or public defense)* Public services for individuals with disabilities
* Public Safety* Public Law Enforcement* Public Education* Public school library sciences* Other public school-based services
* Government* Public Health* Public Child Care

In addition to loan forgiveness, the bill reduces interest rates on subsidized student loans from 2008 until 2013. Although this legislation would grant loan forgiveness to certain social workers in the public sector, it does not extend to social workers in the private sector. We see this as a shortcoming of the bill. However, this legislation is crucial for all college students, but especially for social workers who are among the least paid professionals; almost 45% of social workers make under $40,000 annually. In addition, the average social worker has between $25,000 and $33,000 in debt, depending on whether they earned a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate degree.

Action Needed
Please call your Senator at 202-224-3121 and urge them to support the Higher Education Access Act of 2007. Let your Senator know that you are a constituent and a social worker requesting their support for loan forgiveness provisions for social workers in the public and private sector.

Contact Nancy McFall Jean, Lobbyist, Government Relations Department at 202-408-8600 x 440 for more information.


Anonymous said...

Public Library Science, huh? What about Substance Abuse/Mental Health Services? What about HIV/AIDS work? Or work with the homeless? Not to complain, but....

Jack Register, MSW, LCSW said...

Federal loan forgiveness is something that many professions have been working toward. I agree that it seems like "not enough" as of now. However, just having the conversation is what is important. I do believe we will see loan forgiveness happen.