Social Work Student Loan Debt Continues to Outpace Social Work Salaries: Learn More About Loan Forgiveness for Social Workers
Social work student loan debt is a growing issue in the social services community. Being a social worker is a multifaceted role that requires caring, committed, and educated people to deliver the crucial services to populations in need. As tuition continues to increase at many colleges and universities, more social workers are looking into loan forgiveness for social workers programs.
Find out about signing the petition below to do something about it!
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 U.S.
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.
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.”
Median Social Work Salaries Per the Bureau of Labor Services
Median annual wages for social workers in May 2015 were as follows:
|Social workers, all other||$58,560|
|Healthcare social workers||52,380|
|Child, family, and school social workers||42,350|
|Mental health and substance abuse social workers||42,170|
In May 2015, the median annual wages for social workers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:
|Hospitals; state, local, and private||$56,650|
|State and local government, excluding education and hospitals||46,940|
|Ambulatory healthcare services||46,050|
|Nursing and residential care facilities||40,440|
|Individual and family services||38,760|
Take Action to get loan forgiveness for social workers: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/social-work-student-loan
Similar Movements at Other Institutions
A sibling movement in Texas, Social Work Reinvestment Initiative has drafted this petition on Loan Repayment https://www.gopetition.com/petition/43163.html.
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.”
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. We hope more social workers will sign this petition to help reduce social work student load debt.
When social workers act in solidarity, they act as one, with their collective compassion and power. Let’s work together to get loan forgiveness for social workers!