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#CancelStudentDebt – Send a Personalized Letter to the Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education is requesting written comments about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Tell Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona how student loan debt has impacted you.

The Department of Education has asked for your help identifying and resolving the issues with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. This is your opportunity to share with Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona how student loan debt has affected you, your family, and your schools.  

The most effective letters to the Department of Education are customized and personal. A template letter for you to adapt and more information is below the submission form. Need further inspiration? Check out our student debt page.


 

SAMPLE LETTER TO CUSTOMIZE 

Hi, my name is [NAME] and I am a(n) [EDUCATOR, PARENT, ETC.] from [TOWN, STATE]. I am writing in response to the U.S Department of Education (ED) comment request for information regarding the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. I’m writing today because as a(n) [EDUCATOR, PARENT, etc.], I urge you to immediately cancel both the student loan debt of public service workers with at least 10 years of public service and $50,000 in student debt for all other federal loans. 

Higher education is an important way to make our dreams for ourselves and our families a reality. While there have been some transformational investments made in higher education programs in our past, private loan servicers have profited off of and mismanaged federal programs failing our students. 

[Questions from the Department of Education to consider: How has student debt affected you, your family, or your community? What were the difficulties you faced when applying for Public Services Loan Forgiveness? If you were rejected, what did that mean for your future in the public service sector?] 

The astronomical cost of higher education—even public higher education—traps students into a lifetime of debt. By denying us the ability to reach our potential, student debt keeps us from professions in need of workers, from time with our loved ones, and from contributing to our communities. 

[Share how student loan debt cancellation would benefit you and your community. For example: What dreams would you be able to pursue? How would it allow you to focus on your students and profession?] 

It is past time to keep the promise of PSLF, but also to enact broad-based student debt cancellation of $50,000 for all federally held loans. Our right to learn, grow, and thrive, should be based on how big we dream and how hard we work—not the size of our bank accounts. 

Sincerely,   

[Name] 

WHY #CANCELSTUDENTDEBT 

When the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program was created in 2007, it promised to wipe away the federal student debt of teachers, nurses, firefighters, and other public service employees after 10 years of payments. Instead, the Department of Education has rejected 98% of the PSLF applications filed since 2017, when the first public sector workers became eligible for relief. Tens of thousands more have been knocked off course or never applied for relief.

No matter who we are or how much we make, we should all have the opportunity to learn without limits. But the astronomical cost of higher education forces students to either forego their dreams or be trapped in a lifetime of debt.  

The student debt crisis is not accidental—it is working exactly as designed by lawmakers, banks, and loan servicers. Immediate and broad cancellation of federal student loan debt is a necessary step to ensure we all can thrive—no exceptions. 

Learn more about the state of student loan debt among educators in our 2021 report.

WHY LETTERS ARE IMPORTANT & TIMELINE 

The Office of the Under Secretary solicits these comments to identify operational improvements to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and to inform determinations about technical improvements, borrower experiences, policy considerations, or other factors that should be considered to improve access to PSLF. 

The more people who write authentic letters stating their experiences and positions, the harder we will be to ignore.  The official deadline for comments is September 24, 2021. We need your help to advocate for the immediate and broad cancellation of federal student loan debt. 

The most effective letters are personalized. Be sure to share: 

  • Who you are – an educator, parent, or community member; 
  • How student loan debt has affected you or people around you; 
  • If you applied for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, explain how the process went and what challenges you faced.
Person with a calculator and credit cards deals with financial issues.

NEA Student Debt Resources

From national advocacy to individual support, NEA is working to ensure that education is affordable and accessible to all.
National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.