Student Loan Debt Relief for Social Workers
The National Association of Social Workers is committed to advocating for policy changes that address the critical issue of student loan debt.
NASW is disappointed that on June 30 the Supreme Court
struck down a plan for student
loan cancellation from President Biden through Executive Action. Recognizing the profound impact of student loans on social workers and the broader public service workforce, NASW consistently monitors the political landscape for opportunities to make progress and create meaningful impact.
Student Debt Cancellation Is Still Alive
Although the U.S. Supreme Court on June 30, 2023, struck down President Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 of federal student debt for 40 million borrowers, the Department of Education’s (ED) July 14 Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Account Adjustment announcement and President Biden’s June 30 “Plan B” response to the Court’s ruling offer alternative ways to cancel and reduce student debt.
The first wave of the IDR Account Adjustment includes the automatic canceling of $39 billion in federal student loan debt for more than 804,000 borrowers. Eligible borrowers will not have to do anything to get this relief; the Biden Administration will contact the eligible borrowers and cancel their debt automatically.
President Biden’s Plan B will use the Higher Education Act to begin a new process through “negotiated rulemaking” to establish a new debt relief/cancellation program. We will keep you informed of advocacy to get Biden’s new student debt relief program implemented quickly.
With student debt payments to resume this fall, President Biden announced another effort, the “12-month onramp” plan, that will bar the Department of Education from reporting delinquent borrowers who have missed payments to credit agencies for 12 months.
Learn more from our partner, the Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC), about these new student debt relief efforts.
In recent years, NASW achieved a substantial victory by helping to secure a Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) waiver, which offers crucial relief for social workers pursuing careers in public service. This accomplishment underscores NASW's dedication to supporting its members and ensuring their financial well-being.
As part of its ongoing efforts, NASW actively participates in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness coalition and maintains a close partnership with the Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC). Through these collaborations, NASW works towards expanding student loan debt relief options, strengthening the PSLF program, cancellation measures, employer-sponsored relief, and other means, including scholarships.
One of NASW's key objectives is to broaden PSLF eligibility to encompass social workers employed by nonprofits and for-profit organizations that currently do not qualify. This pursuit is not without its challenges, but NASW remains resolute in its commitment to advancing the interests of social workers and expanding their access to critical student loan benefits.
NASW responds to Department of Education (ED) requests for comments, and also actively engages with external organizations to provide support on this issue. As an example, NASW was one of 261 organizations calling on members of Congress to reject Republican efforts to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to retroactively reverse the federal student loan payment pause and block President Biden’s debt relief plan. NASW's proactive involvement in these collaborations help ensure we are shaping the dialogue surrounding student loan debt relief and ensuring the interests of social workers are represented in advocacy on student loan debt relief measures.
Through its continuous monitoring, strategic partnerships, and active engagement in policy discussions, NASW demonstrates its unwavering commitment to addressing the challenges posed by student debt and championing the needs of social workers nationwide.
Read this article to learn more about what you need to know as student loan payments resume and how NASW advocates and supports student debt relief efforts for social workers. President Biden has also announced new initiatives to provide debt relief and support for student loan borrowers. Take time to learn more about them.