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Council seeking solutions to ease burden of student debt

Providers’ Council members regularly point to burdensome student debt as one of the biggest challenges facing their workforce and a key impediment to being able to retain staff. 

The amount of debt carried by college graduates in Massachusetts averages more than $32,000, and the highest in the country. Many human service jobs require specific certifications and sometimes advanced degrees, while entry-level salaries can start near minimum wage.

The Providers’ Council is tackling the issue of student debt from several directions, including proposing legislation for a loan-repayment program, scheduling workshops and informational sessions for human service workers carrying debt from college loans, and sharing information and resources from the state Attorney General’s Office on taking loans and repaying loans.

On Friday, April 28th, the Providers’ Council will host a free, members-only information session in Watertown on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program with American Student Assistance’s Center for Consumer Advocacy. Generally, individuals who have worked in public service for 10 years and made 120 consecutive student loan payments may qualify for loan forgiveness.
Betsy Mayotte, ASA’s director of Consumer Outreach and Compliance, will explain the federal program and what type of loans may be eligible for forgiveness; who qualifies and how to apply; and how to maintain eligibility for the program. More information and registration is available here.

The Council has also filed An act establishing a loan repayment program for direct care human service workers (House Bill 116/Senate Bill 42). This bill would create an education loan repayment program for qualified direct care workers allowing them to receive up to $150 per month for no more than 48 months to repay educations loans. Complete information is available here.    

The Council website providers.org includes news and resources from the AG’s office as they become available.