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Student Loan Forgiveness
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Student Loan Forgiveness

NASW promotes student loan forgiveness as part of its ongoing effort to improve working conditions, salaries, and other benefits for social workers and to ensure that consumers have access to qualified professionals. As many as 37% of public four-year school graduates have too much debt to manage on a social work salary. According to a Council on Social Work Education’s report, 2013 Statistics on Social Work Education in the United States, 81% of baccalaureate graduates, 80.5% of master’s graduates, and 65.5% of doctoral graduates have loan debt. The mean amount of loan debt ranged from $31,880 to $42,149.1 While there are at least three federally authorized loan forgiveness programs available to social workers, additional resources are required.

 

    Loan Forgiveness Resources:

    1. NASW Advocacy Efforts - http://socialworkers.org/loanforgiveness/default.asp
    2. Submit your loan forgiveness story here
    3. How Loan-Forgiveness Programs Can Help You Pay for Your MSW
    4. Student Loan Forgiveness - The U.S. Department of Education has created a new call center for borrowers to obtain information about the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007 (H.R. 2669). The number for the Federal Student Aid Information Center is (800) 433-3243. The law forgives outstanding education debt for those persons that meet the eligibility requirements. Those that would benefit are employees that have made 120 monthly payments on their loans while serving full-time in social work in public child or family service agencies, government, nonprofit, military, education, and others areas. The loan forgiveness provisions became effective on October 1, 2007. It is important to note that payments made after October 1, 2007 on an existing loan can count towards the 120 payments if the loan meets certain criteria.
    5. Michigan State Loan Repayment Program - MSLRP helps employers recruit and retain primary medical, dental, and mental healthcare providers by providing loan repayment to those entering into MSLRP service obligations.  MSLRP service obligations require participants to provide full-time primary healthcare services in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) at not-for-profit health clinics for two years. MSLRP will assist those selected by providing up to $200,000 in tax-free funds to repay their educational debt over a period of up to eight years. Participants will enter into consecutive two-year MSLRP service obligations requiring them to remain employed for a minimum of 40 hours per week for no less than 45 weeks per year at eligible nonprofit practice sites providing primary healthcare services to ambulatory populations.  MSLRP loan repayment agreements are funded by a federal/state/local partnership.
    6. Student Loan Forgiveness - The experience of higher education should be an enriching one. However, too often it is burdened by an unfortunate factor: cost. The School of Social Work at Eastern Michigan University has compiled the following information to help to ease the financial burden of your journey. Social workers have a number of student loan forgiveness and student loan repayment plans available for them.
    7. Direct.ed.gov created this calculator for several repayment options: http://www.direct.ed.go/calc.html 
    8. Saltmoney.org created “ 60+ Ways…” as a comprehensive resource for locating and understanding loan forgiveness programs. The resource includes much of the information listed above, including resources for states other than Michigan.
    9. Have some basic questions about student loans? Here are some facts, provided by Studentaid.gov. Studentaid.gov is an excellent resource for finding basic information about the process of taking out student loans.
    10. The Educational Credit Management Corporation resource outlines many of the programs listed above. However, it also sheds light on some other options, such as joining the military and has a link to a student loan cost calculator: http://www.ecmc.org/details/loanForgiveness.html#need
    11. There are several advocacy groups who specialize in student debt reduction. These groups, including the Project on Student debt reduction can be a great source for pending legislation and the latest tips.
    12. Equal Justice Works is also very active when it comes to education on student debt. View one of their prerecorded webinars for a breakdown of the kind of loans that qualify for certain repayment plans.
    13. The Huffington Post also put together this resource.
    14. USA Today has a helpful glossary of common loan terminology.
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