News

View Student Debt Strategies Webinar

Since the May 19, 2022, live-streamed webinar on the NEA/Savi student loan forgiveness program, the Arkansas Education Association has received requests for a recording of the hour.

It was announced at its beginning that this seminar — led by Aaron Warner, an affiliate relations specialist for NEA Member Benefits, and Renee Johnson, AEA UniServ director — would not be taped.

Johnson, however, is sharing a PDF file of the slide presentation that’s being used by Warner and others in the administration of the National Education Association, as well as a video of the program, hosted by Ronny Lau, on the NEA Government Relations team in Washington.

The PowerPoint is “Public Service Loan Forgiveness Reforms and Temporary Waiver” (PDF).

Helping Johnson organize and promote the webinar were UA-Fayetteville Education Association / Local 965 and other NEA locals including Fayetteville Education Association, Bentonville Education Association, Springdale Education Association, Rogers Education Association, and smaller AEA chapters such as Huntsville’s and Mountain Home’s.

The NEA program focuses on federal college loans and specifically on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. That plan, which ends in several months, is for any employee of a public organization including workers in any government and some nonprofits. NEA here is helping employees in public education – from K-12 to higher ed and from teachers and professors to support staff.

Local’s Picnic Table Attracts Hundreds

Of Ants? No, UA Employees

UA Staff Appreciation Picnic 1st Since 2019

One in-person University of Arkansas event that was sorely missed during the coronavirus pandemic has been the Staff Appreciation Picnic each spring. It returned May 19, 2022, with more than 1,000 support employees coursing through the concessions corridor of Reynolds Razorback Stadium for lunch. On their way out an incredible number stopped at the table of Local 965.

  • Local 965 Vice President Mike Pierce talks across the table with a U of A staff member May 19 at the 2022 Staff Appreciation Picnic at Reynolds Razorback Stadium. At-large Board Member Chad Kieffer answers questions of two other staff employees.
  • A U of A staff member signs up for the Local 965 mailing list May 19 at the 2022 Staff Appreciation Picnic at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
  • 965 At-Large Board Member Chad Kieffer answers questions of a U of A staff member as others stand by May 19 at the 2022 Staff Appreciation Picnic at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
  • Several U of A staff members examine the brochures or sign up for the Local 965 mailing list May 19 at the 2022 Staff Appreciation Picnic at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
  • U of A staff members consider brochures and souvenirs at the Local 965 table May 19 at the 2022 Staff Appreciation Picnic at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
  • 965 Treasurer Hershel Hartford talks with a U of A staff member May 19 at the 2022 Staff Appreciation Picnic at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

They picked up brochures and souvenirs, and many dozens signed up for the campus union’s mailing list.

” A big day for the Local 965,” said 965 President Bret Schulte. “We were bowled over by the interest.”

Running the table in addition to Schulte, were Vice President Mike Pierce, Treasurer Hershel Hartford, At-Large Board Member Chad Kieffer, member John Riley and Arkansas Education Association UniServ Director Renee Johnson. Secretary Ben Pollock did advance work.

This is the biggest event of the year where Local 965 members can explain to UA support staff who we are. The purpose is education not recruitment.

By the way, lunch included hot dogs, grilled chicken breasts with barbecue sauce, Beyond vegan burgers as well as potato salad, veggie baked beans and chips, with ice cream and snack cakes for dessert along with cold drinks. A great late spring day on the Fayetteville campus.

965 President Bret Schulte talks with two U of A staff members May 19 at the 2022 Staff Appreciation Picnic at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Local 965 President Bret Schulte talks with two U of A staff members May 19 at the 2022 Staff Appreciation Picnic at Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Also helping run the table are Vice President Mike Pierce (from left), member John Riley, At-large Board Member Chad Kieffer and Arkansas Education Association UniServ Director Renee Johnson.

Local Officers Discuss Student Loan Strategies with NPR Station

Fayetteville public radio station KUAF broadcast a discussion on how the National Education Association is helping members strategize student loan debt.

Pete Hartman, KUAF operations manager and host of its “Community Spotlight” interviewed Local 965 President Bret Schulte and Secretary Ben Pollock for the May 17, 2022, edition of his “Community Spotlight” series.

The 4:44 interview should play on most digital devices.

They were promoting a webinar to be livestreamed 5:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 19. Renee Johnson, UniServ representative for the Arkansas Education Association, will lead the Zoom session for UA-Fayetteville Education Association / Local 965 and other NEA locals including Fayetteville Education Association, Bentonville Education Association, Springdale Education Association, Rogers Education Association, and smaller AEA chapters such as Huntsville’s and Mountain Home’s.

The NEA program focuses on federal college loans and specifically on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. That plan, which ends in several months, is for any employee of a public organization including workers in any government and some nonprofits. NEA here is helping employees in public education – from K-12 to higher ed and from teachers and professors to support staff.

All educators in Arkansas are invited to the webinar. Further details are at “Webinar May 19: Drop Your Debt.”

Local 965 President Bret Schulte and 965 Secretary Ben Pollock meet with students at the Aug. 25, 2021, Razorbash information fair on the Fayetteville campus.
Local 965 President Bret Schulte (left) and 965 Secretary Ben Pollock meet with students at the Aug. 25, 2021, Razorbash information fair on the Fayetteville campus.

Webinar May 19: Drop Your Debt

Free Zoom Hour on Federal Loan Forgiveness

5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 19, via Zoom

Many public service employees — you bet that includes staff and faculty of public universities and teachers and staff of public schools — are eligible for forgiveness of our federal student loan debts. But there are hoops — it is complicated!

We are hosting a free webinar on a free program of the National Education Association that eases the way through the loan forgiveness process 5:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 19, 2022. You do not need to be an NEA member to livestream the forum. Everyone is welcome!

Renee Johnson, UniServ representative for the Arkansas Education Association, will lead the Zoom session for UA-Fayetteville Education Association / Local 965 and other NEA locals including Fayetteville Education Association, Bentonville Education Association, Springdale Education Association, Rogers Education Association, and smaller AEA chapters such as Huntsville’s and Mountain Home’s.

Logs for the National Education Assocation and the Savi company

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

Leading among NEA member benefits is the NEA Student Debt Navigator neamb.com/Savi, powered by Savi Solutions, which helps members better manage all types of student loans. The chief feature is Savi’s team of financial experts 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 repaying 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 staff who are or become 965 members.

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

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 online software including a calculator, 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 with NEA members who hold non-federal loans.

Wait: Doesn’t union membership mean monthly dues? Yup, but consider:

Those monthly loan couponsYour money’s worth: NEA, AEA and Local 965
Remaining loan balances in the $$ thousandsAnnual dues: ~$300 from staffers to $615 from tenured profs
How many years remaining to take balance to zeroSavor other NEA benefits — but our real deal: Returning our power back to us!

We’ve gathered other information on the NEA/Savi program at “Student Loan Forgiveness — A New U of A Labor Union Perk” that answers more questions.

We are asking UA employees — especially non-members — to complete this 2-minute survey. The data gathered inform AEA and NEA to further build higher education resources in Arkansas.

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

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