How Student Loans Affect Students
Being a social worker is a multifaceted role that requires caring, committed, and educated people to deliver the crucial services to populations in need. Most social work positions require an MSW at entry level or to advance, while the cost of graduate social work education is on the rise across the United States. Student loan forgiveness for social workers is possible through awareness and advocacy.
Even as the demand for social work services increases faster than the national average, and the profession continues to expand in its specialties and influence, social worker students can incur heavy education debt that impacts their own ability to manage their personal resources and well-being, which in turn compromises their capacity to serve others in need.
How You Can Advocate Loan Forgiveness For Social Workers
The social work students who penned this open letter petition to the University of Maryland Baltimore Board of Regents declare:
“High student loan debt and low salaries are a reality for social workers. The average UMB MSW student loan debt upon graduation is $62,000 (not including money borrowed for undergraduate education). Meanwhile, the average income for a social worker is $43,000.
This staggering educational debt affects our life decisions and can influence or delay home purchasing, retirement planning, and personal savings. We encourage you to take proactive measures to prevent social workers from accumulating unmanageable debt.”
A sibling movement in Texas, Social Work Reinvestment Initiative has drafted this petition on Loan Repayment.
The petitioners, The University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work Student Association echo their Maryland colleagues:
“As social work professionals, students and faculty, there is a need to provide assistance with student loan repayment as a way to reinvest in the profession of Social Work. Student debt is a burden to new professionals in the workforce and loan forgiveness / repayment provides opportunities to relocate to underserved areas without the financial constraints of loan repayment.
Social Workers Can Create Change Together
While these petitions focus on a local episode, they reflect situations across the United States related to how social workers are valued, compensated, and empowered with the educational and financial resources to optimally serve society their expertise in social justice and mental health while also sustaining themselves and their families.
When social workers act in solidarity, they act as one, with their collective compassion and power.