Student Loan Forgiveness—A New U of A Labor Union Perk

A "celengan babi," Indonesian for piggy bank

Join Your Labor Union, Drop Your Debt

By Ben Pollock, 965 secretary

Easing the burden of student loans — even out-and-out debt forgiveness — is available to all of us working in public education right now.

Members of the UA-Fayetteville Education Association / Local 965 are eligible for all benefits of the National Education Association. New among those is the NEA Student Debt Navigator neamb.com/Savi, powered by Savi Solutions, which helps members better manage all types of student loans. Besides its online calculator, the chief feature is that Savi’s team of financial experts is standing by for personal, one-on-one consultations with NEA members.

The ideal option of course is ending one’s debt with loan forgiveness. If you are an educator or other public-service worker with a federal student loan, several programs are available, depending on the type of loan and one’s current status. Savi can help with various student loans; many are eligible for refinancing, deferment or consolidation. Besides U of A faculty from tenured professors through instructors, the program is available to staffers who are 965 members.

Staff, whom the NEA calls “education service professionals” or ESPs, serve a wide variety of functions on campus:

  • clerical services
  • custodial and maintenance services
  • food services
  • health and student services
  • paraeducators
  • security services
  • skilled trades
  • technical services
  • transportation services

Just last October, U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona modified the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, following an email campaign of more than 48,000 messages from NEA members. (The Trump administraton had denied 98 percent of the applications.) Deadline warning: The Cardona waiver ends Oct. 31, 2022.

Logo for Savi Solutions PBC

The NEA Student Debt Navigator is a subscription program where the first year of service is free to us NEA union members, if they sign up by October 2022. Besides the online software, the subscription includes electronic form filing, cloud storage for documents, and personal phone or chat assistance from Savi’s debt experts. Savi also shares its tools and advice to those holding non-federal loans.

Wait: Doesn’t union membership mean monthly dues? Yes, you do have to pay to play, so to speak. But reconsider your numbers, please. These loans after years of repayments still have many thousands of dollars due. Then, Local 965 membership for full-time faculty members is $615 a year and staff employees pay $300.48 a year. Sign up at arkansas965.org/join. Or ask questions at uarkansas965@gmail.com.

Source List

Many details of this program — including multimedia files and an extensive FAQ list — can be found at the NEA article “Navigate Your Student Debt: NEA’s Student Debt Experts Have Created Tools Designed to Help Educators through the Complicated Student Debt System.”

NEA has published other articles on the topic as well:

Thanks to Bret Schulte and Kim Martin for editing.

A "celengan babi," Indonesian for piggy bank
A “celengan babi,” Indonesian for piggy bank. Photos from Wikimedia Commons

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