AAUP@FHSU


How has two years without student debt affected you?

The past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic have been challenging ones for American higher education. And, given how 2022 has started, we have many more fights ahead of us to protect faculty and quality education.

There is one bright spot. The pause on federal student loan repayment has given Americans much-needed breathing room as the pandemic threatens livelihoods and economic recovery. Let’s keep it going. Join with our partners at the Debt Collective, and tell President Biden to cancel student debt today.

We’ve heard from borrowers what this pause on federal student loan repayment has meant for them. The student debt crisis is part and parcel of the faculty labor crisis, and adjunctification has made it more difficult for faculty to pay back their loans. Beyond faculty, we all know staff whose hours were reduced or eliminated, students who graduated into a turbulent job market, or friends and family who are struggling to pay the bills in a time of high inflation. Imagine what a world without student debt would look like!

I recently talked about the student debt crisis on our podcast, AAUP Presents, with AAUP Pennsylvania state conference president Jessica Sponsler. You can listen to that here.

While there are some promising signs that the Biden administration may fix the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program and hold bad loan servicers accountable, more needs to be done. At the very least, we need another extension of the repayment pause while student loan reforms are implemented. Beyond that, our leaders need to clear out student debt and chart a path toward free college for all. Sign on to a letter to President Biden today, telling him to cancel student debt.

Thanks for taking action.

Onwards,
Kaitlyn Vitez, AAUP Government Relations

Graphic of AAUP Presents podcast with link to episode.


Join our push to save Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Today, hundreds of thousands of faculty members face financial uncertainty. They were promised student loan forgiveness in exchange for years of public service. But after rising to the moment and transforming their teaching methods during a global pandemic, faculty have been left behind.

That is why the AAUP is partnering with the Student Borrower Protection Center and the American Federation of Teachers to host a webinar highlighting what faculty need to know about managing student loans, how to access the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, and how to get involved in a campaign to restore the promise of PSLF. Register here.

The webinar will feature first-hand testimony from faculty about their struggles with student debt, and the opportunity for participants to ask questions about their student loans. Join us on Tuesday, September 21, from 4:00-5:00pm EST, and please amplify in your networks!

Even if you cannot attend the webinar, you can share your story as a public comment. Now, for the first time ever, the US Department of Education is asking faculty, especially those who work part-time or on a contingent contract, to share their stories about public service and debt forgiveness. Working part-time on short-term contracts, often at multiple institutions, compounds the pervasive issues in student loan servicing.

This is our chance to make the case directly to President Biden that the PSLF program is broken and that only sweeping action to deliver debt relief can right a decade of wrongs by the student loan industry—wrongs that have particularly hurt contingent faculty. We need more of our colleagues to speak up about the issues faced by contingent faculty, so that the Department of Education can prioritize fixing them.

Thanks for sharing your story—and I hope to see you on Tuesday!

In solidarity,

Kaitlyn Vitez, AAUP Government Relations


Student debt relief?

Today, hundreds of thousands of professors and other campus workers face financial uncertainty. Faculty were promised student loan forgiveness in exchange for years of service to our communities and our country. But after rising time and again to meet unprecedented financial challenges for our colleges, faculty have been denied debt relief and left behind.

Now is the time to tell President Biden and the Department of Education your Public Service Loan Forgiveness story and demand student debt relief.

This week, for the first time ever, the US Department of Education is asking for borrowers to share their stories about public service and debt forgiveness. This is our chance to make the case directly to President Biden and Secretary Cardona that Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is broken, particularly for adjunct faculty, and that only sweeping action to deliver debt relief can right a decade of wrongs by the department and the student loan industry.

PSLF was created to alleviate the burden of student debt for dedicated public service workers. The idea was simple: work in public service for ten years and have your remaining student debt forgiven. Unfortunately, PSLF has been plagued by problems and abuse at every turn, with 98% of borrowers applying for forgiveness being rejected. Because of the program’s failures, some public service workers may not even know this student debt relief is available to us – or may be left out entirely if they cannot find full-time employment.

That is why it’s so important for you to tell President Biden your story and demand he deliver on the promise of PSLF.

The department’s public inquiry into the PSLF program offers renewed hope for public service workers. For the first time, the federal government is asking those of us who depend on the program to help decide what comes next – and to shape the way the program will operate in the future.

Join us today in calling on President Biden to deliver on his promise to public service workers and provide immediate debt relief.

Best,

Kaitlyn Vitez, AAUP Government Relations