Your help is needed - A letter from a local professional in their 30s

Friends, 

As a first-generation college student, I currently have over $119,000 in student loan debt, including both undergraduate and graduate loans. Like many in this country, it was not an option for my working-class parents to pay out of pocket for my higher education.  I have committed myself to working in education and the nonprofit sector, and I did so with the understanding that, after making ten years’ worth of monthly payments while working as a public servant, the balance of my student loans would be forgiven under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. It is devastating to hear that national lawmakers may be planning to end PSLF, the only program that provides financial security for those who borrowed extensively in order to pursue a career in public service. 

As we all know, college and graduate degrees are increasingly a prerequisite for employment. The debt that students incur in obtaining their degrees often compels them to work in the private sector rather than in lower-paying public service positions. As a result, public service employers, in both urban and rural areas, have difficulty recruiting and retaining talented employees. PSLF has become an important tool for attracting and retaining these individuals to work in critical jobs within their communities – as educators, firefighters, police officers, librarians, nurses, social workers, teachers, prosecutors and public defenders, and so many other government and nonprofit professionals. 

PSLF was enacted with bipartisan support, including from our very own Senator Enzi during the Bush Administration, and has given Americans from every region of the country the ability to accept and remain in critically needed public service jobs, including those in underserved communities.  The average wage gap between the public and private sector for individuals with graduate degrees is about $15,000 per year for individuals aged 25–29. This might not seem like much, but it grows over time, reaching over $50,000 per year for workers aged 55–59. And the disparity adds up: someone working from 25 to 59 will earn $1,500,000 less than their private sector counterpart over the course of their career. Without PSLF, many government and nonprofit employees would be left struggling with student debt for up to thirty years, or deterred from public service altogether.

 Using the template below, please take a moment to contact Senator Enzi to urge support for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.  He will likely be the pivotal vote on the Health and Education Committee, chaired by Senator Alexander (R-TN), regarding an upcoming bill to curtail or eradicate the program. 

E-mail Senator Enzi Here: enzi.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/e-mail-senator-enzi

For more information on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program go to http://preservepslf.com/

---------------------------------------- Letter to Senator Enzi---------------------

Dear Senator Enzi, 

Thank you for your past support of the Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. I am a constituent and I am asking you to please vote to preserve PSLF. We all rely on firefighters, police officers, postal workers, teachers, nurses, social workers, and many other public servants (such as yourself) in our communities. Many of these service providers were only able to pursue public service careers because of the student debt relief provided by the PSLF program. To ensure that we can continue to attract and retain these critical public servants in the future, we must preserve PSLF. Without this program, public service would not be a financially viable career path for those with student loan debt, and, in turn, our college graduates, our communities, and our country would suffer. 

The PSLF program is an investment in our state and nation’s values of public service and community involvement. I ask that you do not allow PSLF to be limited or eliminated - it is a vital program. Thank you for your consideration.

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Please feel free to pass this information along to anyone you think would be interested in supporting this effort. This is a wholly nonpartisan issue and I'm reaching out to folks of all political persuasions from around our wonderful state to help protect this program. If you are a member of a professional organization please share this with that group as well. I am not the kind of person to grab Enzi's attention, but some of you are, so thank you in advance for your help to save this very valuable program.

E-mail Senator Enzi Here: enzi.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/e-mail-senator-enzi

For more information on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program go to http://preservepslf.com/