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Loan Forgiveness: Real Life Stories
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Loan Forgiveness: Real Life Stories

Making a Difference in the Lives of Social Workers

February/March 2007

 

NASW-NYC received correspondence from social workers expressing appreciation for its ongoing loan forgiveness lobbying efforts. We thought it would be of interest to hear directly from some of the beneficiaries of the program. We are sharing a snap-shot of the comments, which reaffirm the importance of our involvement in this work.

One social worker who was a recipient of the program shared, “I received a $6,500 which allowed me to pay off, in full, a Sallie Mae loan with an interest rate of 7.75%. I thank NASW for keeping me up-to-date as this moved through the State budget.”

A LCSW who works as a Program Coordinator and Geriatric Care Manager for a mental health organization responded, “I received a check to pay off two student loans in the amount of $1,501. Thanks for advocating for all the hard working social workers who choose to work with the aging population. Now if we could get the Legislature to raise our salaries in agencies where we are overworked and underpaid advocating for our frail elderly, that would be terrific.”

After receiving her first disbursement, another social worker wrote us to say, “I wanted to thank you for your lobbying efforts. I will receive an award of $26,000 over four years. This will take a big load off my mind, and I hope you’re successful in increasing this much needed program.”

A LCSW, who has worked for nine years in various hospital, mobile crisis and school settings, discussed how the program helped to pay off his loans and opened the door for further education. He offered, “The Loan Forgiveness Program helped me to take control of my loans in a way that I hadn’t been able to do in the past. I was able to make a substantial payment on the principal of my loan and to speed up payment while working in a special needs school, providing support to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.” Reflecting on the overall impact, he concluded, “NASW’s participation in the program creates a feeling of solidarity and is making a significant difference in my life and the lives of those that I serve.”

Amid the growing pressures, one NASW member found the answers to her prayers upon being approved to receive $26,000 from the Loan Forgiveness Program. “It has been such a struggle for me as a single mother to repay my student loans since I finished school,” she said. “I always made my payments little by little. I deferred twice, once for health reasons and the other due to financial hardship. I am so grateful to everyone who made this possible. My mission is still to one day be debt free. Thank you to all the members who sent letters and advocated for this program.”

Another participant in the program who serves as the Director of Counseling Services for a mental health agency shared, “I have been able to pay off one of my loans in total and to make a substantial payment on another loan. The program also freed me up to continue to develop myself professionally. I am now enrolled in a post graduate training program.” Recognizing the important role the program plays in providing opportunities for social workers of color and younger generations, she added, “The Loan Forgiveness Program will go a long way in making the field more attractive to populations that have traditionally been underrepresented and to expanding the pool of workers in areas that are underserved.”

We would like to encourage other beneficiaries of the program to come forward and share their experiences. Send us your stories at nasw@naswnyc.org

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