We have a huge opportunity to advance our student loan campaign.
The Senate is rewriting the Higher Education Act, which includes federal student loan policy and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. They’re soliciting input from key stakeholders—we need to speak up for young farmers!
The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee has set up a special email address to receive public comments about what their new Higher Education Act should include. Please take a few minutes to tell them that it should include student loan forgiveness for farmers, and send your comments to highereducation2018@help.
The deadline for comments is Friday, February 23rd. We have some suggested email language below, but any message that calls attention to the burden of student loan debt for farmers will go a long way with Senators on the Committee.
Here’s what to say:
[Note: these emails are always most effective when they’re personalized.]
Dear Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray,
Thank you for the opportunity to provide input into the Committee’s work to reauthorize the Higher Education Act.
[Insert personal info. For example: are you a farmer, former farmer, or aspiring farmer? Where? What’s the name of your farm and what do you grow? Do you have student loan debt? How has that impacted your career?]
According to a 2017 national survey of young farmers in the U.S. conducted by the National Young Farmers Coalition, student loan debt is the #2 challenge young farmers face—second only to land access.
Bringing young people back to the farm or ranch is a national priority. The average age of the American farmer is increasing, and farmers over the age of 65 outnumber farmers under the age of 35 by a margin of six to one. Young people are ready to farm, but student loan debt is keeping them from starting.
A bipartisan bill in the House, the Young Farmer Success Act (H.R. 1060) would address this urgent issue by adding farmers to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. We strongly urge the Committee to include this language when it reauthorizes the Higher Education Act. Providing loan forgiveness for farmers after ten years of income-based payments would help new farmers reinvest in growing their businesses and incentivize more young people to enter careers in agriculture at the exact time our country and our rural communities need them.