PSLF Coalition Receives ABA Grassroots Advocacy Award
/ Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 28, 2023—Equal Justice Works, the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law, announced today that the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Coalition has been awarded the American Bar Association (ABA) Grassroots Advocacy Award. Equal Justice Works is a founding member of the PSLF Coalition.
PSLF is the only educational debt program specifically for public service professionals. The bipartisan program, signed into law in 2007, requires 10 years in full-time public service and 120 monthly on-time loan repayments, at which point borrowers are then eligible to earn forgiveness on their remaining federal education debt.
In 2017, Equal Justice Works established the PSLF Coalition, currently comprised of 97 allied members (see full list here), who are committed to ensuring the promise of PSLF is accessible and achievable.
“Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) allows professionals like lawyers, teachers, or EMTs to serve communities full-time, which is essential to the nation’s well-being,” said Verna Williams, Equal Justice Works CEO. “For example, according to the Legal Services Corporation, 97 percent of families and individuals don’t have attorneys to help with critical matters like domestic violence or child custody. Yet, for too many law students, high tuition means exorbitant debt, putting public service out of reach. PSLF is critical to making public service careers accessible, particularly for students of color, who are most likely to graduate with substantial debt.”
Coalition members focus on increasing awareness of the program, coordinating and sharing resources on how to successfully earn loan forgiveness including free monthly webinars, and advocating to improve the administration of the program. Since its inception, the Coalition’s work has resulted in substantial administrative fixes to the program, including the Education Department implementing a limited waiver that enabled more than an estimated 550,000 borrowers to receive additional credit for loan repayments.
“These sweeping changes to the PSLF program and the creation of a limited waiver could not have happened without the diligent efforts of the 97 Coalition members ,” said Aoife Delargy Lowe, vice president of law school engagement and advocacy at Equal Justice Works, “As a result of these changes, more eligible public service professionals can receive the educational debt forgiveness they are owed and continue to provide vital public health, public safety, or public education services in their communities.”
Each year, the ABA honors members of the legal profession for their instrumental role in successfully advocating or advancing ABA/organized bar legislative priorities each session of the U.S. Congress. Past recipients of the Grassroots Advocacy Award include The National Association of Bar Executives, Kids in Need of Defense, Military Spouse J.D. Network, and other trailblazers in the legal profession.
Visit here to learn more about the PSLF Coalition.
About Equal Justice Works
Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that creates opportunities for lawyers to transform their passion for equal justice into a lifelong commitment to public service. As the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law, Equal Justice Works brings together an extensive network of law students, lawyers, nonprofit legal aid organizations, and supporters to promote a lifelong commitment to public service and equal justice.
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