AIA calls on Congress to address student loan debt forgiveness

AIA leadership is working with members of Congress to create potential pathways for service-based student loan forgiveness.

WASHINGTON – Sept. 24, 2021 — The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is working with members of Congress to help shape student loan debt relief and to create additional pathways to the architecture profession.

“In order to increase equity in the profession and to break down barriers of entry, it’s essential that Congress do more to reduce the student loan debt burden on our younger generations,” said AIA 2021 President Peter Exley, FAIA. “The high costs of education, especially as the profession requires study beyond a four-year college degree, coupled with the financial strain that can be caused by the licensure process, are real deterrents to many considering a career in the profession. AIA is committed to working with all members of Congress to find solutions that will reduce the student loan debt burden, which will also allow us to attract greater diversity and talent to the profession.”

Currently, AIA is working with members of Congress to help shape potential pathways for student loan debt relief, including service-based loan forgiveness in the newly proposed Civilian Climate Corps. AIA is teaming up with the American Bar Association to stress that high student loan debt is an equity issue, deterring students from considering the professions. During a meeting on Sept. 21, Exley and AIA EVP/Chief Executive Officer Robert Ivy, FAIA, met with Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) to inform on how student loan debt is negatively impacting the architecture profession.

“AIA stands ready to work with Congressman Clyburn on a path forward for service-based loan forgiveness programs, so that architecture students who want to use their design education to better their communities are financially able to do so,” said Ivy.

AIA has also supported the bipartisan Retirement Parity in Student Loans Act (H.R. 2917), which would allow employers to count an employee’s student loan repayments the same as contributions to retirement for the purposes of an employee match. This means that those graduates who cannot afford to save for retirement while paying down their student loans will still be able to start accruing some retirement savings.  

Visit AIA’s website to learn more about its advocacy efforts.

About AIA

Founded in 1857, AIA consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through more than 200 international, state and local chapters, AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing.

AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation, and world. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards.


Jessie Cornelius
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