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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 an average 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 professionals 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 workers on their case.

    I firmly believe that appropriate compensation and loan repayment/forgiveness would help qualified, caring social 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, but all 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 loan borrowers. 
  • 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 dollars.††
  • 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 loans.
  • Ö I hear a lot of upcoming social workers stating that they do not want to continue in the program due to the high expenses 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 2002 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 loan.†††
  • 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.
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