Save Student Loan Forgiveness for Social Workers

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

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The Trump Administration's proposed education budget will harm millions of students and college graduates by making deep cuts to programs that make college more affordable and ease the burden of student loan debt.

As social workers, we serve the most marginalized in our society by providing highly specialized services in health care, substance abuse treatment, mental health, child welfare, and many other areas. Our work requires high levels of specialization that often requires an advanced degree while only providing modest salaries.

Proposed cuts to federal subsidized loans will shift billions of dollars of debt in interest alone  to current students over the next 10 years. These added costs will make it harder for students and new professionals to build a secure financial future. What's more, the proposed budget increases the amount that must be paid each month as part of the income-based repayment plan from 10% to 12.5% of borrowers' income and would require payments for 30 years for individuals with advanced degrees before any chance debt forgiveness.

The most egregious change is the proposed elimination of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. The PSLF allows anyone working in a public service job--which includes most social workers--to have their remaining student debt forgiven after 10 years of payments. The program was designed to encourage more people to enter professions such as social work, education, and rural health care that provide essential services to underserved populations.

These proposals directly impact social workers and will make it harder for already struggling professionals to make ends meet.

To: Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
From: [Your Name]

I am a social worker and deeply concerned about many of the changes proposed in the current education budget. Repaying student loans is already difficult for millions of Americans, particularly those in professions like social work that pay modest salaries.

Proposed elimination of federal subsidized loans stands to add to the current debt burden of underpaid professionals by shifting an estimated $27 billion dollars to borrowers over the next 10 years. Changes to the income-based repayment program will also place an undue burden on social workers by increasing the minimum payment from 10% to 12.5% of income and increasing the repayment schedule from 25 to 30 years for those with advanced degrees.

Many social workers have looked to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program as the only feasible means of becoming debt free. Elimination of this program will throw the financial security of thousands of hard working professionals into question, making it even more difficult to plan to start a family, buy a home, and fully participate in the economy.

Like millions of Americans, I will be directly impacted by these changes and I ask that you vote against any budgetary changes that will make higher education less affordable or make it more difficult for graduates, especially those in fields like social work, to pay off their student loan debt.