Government Relations Update
The Need for Loan Forgiveness for Social Workers
In Their Own Words...
- I have an MSW (masterís degree in social work) and am working in child
welfare in Detroit, Michigan. Every month I struggle
to pay my bills, but I stay at my job because I love
my work and I love the children I work with. I put in
of 50-60 hours per week, but only get paid for 37.5 of
them. I earn $25,112 per year and am repaying my loan
for my masterís.
I strongly believe that the children
and families I work with in the foster care system need
and deserve qualified
that are trained in social work. Everyday I see the negative
effects that worker turnover and unqualified workers have
on children and their families. The children, especially "system
children," know when a worker doesn't care and they
believe that they don't matter when they have had 5 plus
I firmly believe that appropriate compensation
and loan repayment/forgiveness would help qualified, caring
workers stay in child welfare
and continue to make a difference in children's lives.
Because these are children after all, not cases, not intakes,
too often the forgotten.
- Being an older student with an established household leaves me with a
tremendous amount of debt to worry about once I graduate.
I really want to continue on in the social work field
and attain a masterís. However, the huge loan payment from
finishing my bachelorís and continuing on really frightens
me! I have been "in the field" since 1999
and I know what a future LSW (licensed social worker)
or masterís-level salary consists of.
- I am an LCSW (licensed clinical social worker) with a masterís degree
who earned a 3.8 GPA (grade point average), but was forced
to rack up $40,000 in student loans to finance my undergrad
and MSW (masterís in social work) education. For the first
three years of my employment, my take home pay was $1400
monthly, and $600 of that went to student loans! I am now
only paying 1/3 of take home pay to student loans, but this
is ghastly for a single person with my earnings. I live in
a terrible neighborhood because I can not afford to live
anywhere else. I love my career and am honored to be a social
worker, but have not found any repayment options for Stafford
- I am a recent MSW (masterís in social work) graduate and have worked
with children in various state system situations for almost
10 years now. I recently consolidated both my undergraduate
and graduate loans through a federal program. I was wondering
why federal consolidation loans would not be eligible for
loan forgiveness. As you know, social service jobs do
not pay near enough to even pay the every day bills.
- Student loans are the only alternative for many African-Americans to
attend college and become productive contributors to society.
... I have graduated with $40,000 worth of student loans
and will be paying them off for the next 15 years. I personally
know individuals who will never be able to pay back his or
her student loan. They will die with student loan debt. Ö If
I pay my student loans on time, the total cost will be $65,000
- I would like to take an opportunity to respond to the lack of parity
that the proposed bill(s) demonstrate to indebted social
workers involved in the child welfare system whose student
loan debt predates the possible enactment of the bill--"what
about us?" For those of us who are--and have remained--committed
to working in child welfare, this proposal is extremely discouraging.
We remain unfairly represented in this endeavor. Therefore,
I feel that while I can support the spirit that this proposed
bill represents, I cannot help but feel that more must be
done to retain those who have a demonstrated track record
in the field of child welfare.
- I am a graduate of Shawnee State University 1997 with a Bachelor
of Arts in Social Sciences. Ö I work at a mental health
center which serves severely mentally disabled (SMD) clients
in a community setting and a residential setting. I currently
only make $8.87 an hour and it is almost impossible to make
my student loan payments.
- I am a graduate of Temple University. I completed the social work
program in 2002 and earned a BSW (bachelorís degree in social
work). I have worked in the child welfare system for four years. I
am currently seeking assistance with loan forgiveness programs
as I am struggling to pay my student loans. I have been accepted
into a master's program to obtain my MSW (masterís degree
in social work), but am putting that off due to my current
- Ö I hear a lot of upcoming social workers stating that
they do not want to continue in the program due to the high
of college and the low pay that is offered in this profession.
I have often encouraged fellow social workers to remember
how rewarding this field is in so many other ways.
- I have Stafford student loans from 1993-1999. I worked as a child
therapist from 1999-2002 in two substance abuse agencies
in low income areas. I have been working since September
in a school setting. Drowning in student loans!!!!!
- In the 1980's I went to school with the thought that I would some day
be able to have a job that would provide for me and my children. Ö In
1994 I graduated after severe struggles raising 4 children,
the youngest at that point was 12. I took a per diem job
and after several months moved to full-time. Since then I
have held three jobs and have excellent references for them
all! But I can't pay my student loan.
Ö I have worked with some wonderful social workers and they
work incredible hours and give from their soul, but some can't
afford to get mastersí degrees as they don't want the debt
and the others ask why they did as their aren't valued any
more than they were before they did. Ö Is this right?
- I currently have a large loan from SUNY Buffalo School of Social Work.
I graduated in 1995 concentrating in child welfare. I still
pay $206 per month for my consolidated loans and will be
paying that for years to come. I worked in child welfare
for over 7 years and now make slightly more in a home-based
mental health setting, which still feels a lot like child
welfare. I am also 56, handicapped, single but divorced with
three grown children, and with no savings for the future.
I consider myself in poor financial shape and fear my old
age for financial reasons.
- As an employee of a non-profit organization working with children and
adolescents, I am interested in loan forgiveness legislation.
It occurred to me as I completed my income tax this year
(and noticed the credit for teachers) that I not only make
less than the special education teachers who teach at the
residential care facility were I work, but I also work longer
hours. I will soon complete my supervision hours and I am
struggling with making a decision whether or not to remain
in this line of work. I know that I provide a needed service,
but struggle with the need to provide for myself, as well.
- I am a child welfare social worker at a child and family services agency.
I received my MSW (masterís degree in social work) in 1997
from Howard University. My student loan debt is
now up to $70,000+. I am struggling to repay my student
- This is my 4th year as school social worker providing services to at-risk
children in an identified low-income district. I currently
have approximately $60,000 in student loans. I now owe more
on my student loans than I did when I graduated from graduate
school with my MSW (masterís degree in social work) in 1999.
This is really discouraging to say the least...to know that
I am in a needed field doing a needed job, but not making
enough money to even lower my student loans much less ever
get them paid off.†
- I wanted to express my great disappointment when I tried to have my substantial
loan (over $10,000) forgiven last year (I was working as
a school social worker in Special Education for the 5th year)
and all inquiries I made ran into dead ends. I am certainly
interested in seeing any loan forgiveness program, and I
wish that school social workers would be included, and the
program would be retroactive.
- I have read the proposed loan forgiveness bill and
it appears that Child Protective Services (CPS) workers,
such as me, would not qualify. I have 5 years of experience,
a BSW and $35,000 of student loan debt. Why is this program
only for new graduates? What about the people that do this
job, very well, day in and day out for $35,000 a year??
- I am a licensed social worker in the state of WV. I have worked in the
field for 13 years, and am now completing my MSW (masterís
degree in social work). Social workers work in many fields,
in many different positions, and I don't know any social
worker, be it a children's worker or geriatric worker,
hospital social worker, etc., who makes enough money to easily
pay back the loans they've incurred to further their education. Ö I
know that I am going to have a loan balance of $20,000 to
$30,000 to pay off when I graduate next May from my program.
I will not make enough money to adequately address my bills,
but I still plan on working in the field of social work.