Action Needed: Support the Durbin Bill to Expand Student Loan Forgiveness Program to Adjunct Faculty

On July 31, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced a bill to expand the Student Loan Forgiveness program to adjunct faculty. The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will be reviewing this bill shortly. Please contact your Senators and urge them to support the proposed bill.  The AHA has endorsed Senator Durbin’s proposal.

AHA Statement of Endorsement

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  1. John L. Crow

    Having been an adjunct instructor for many years, I know the perils that accompany it including funding insecurity. A program like this would greatly help adjuncts in having more flexible ways to both honor their debts while also continuing to serve the academic community and the students of the United States.

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  2. Katherine Ahn

    I am most grateful and relieved to know about such an effort to support adjunct faculty. I have been working as an adjunct faculty for more than ten years for both private and public institutions of higher education. I possess two Master’s degrees and a Ph.D. Although I had opportunities to turn to different career tract that could provide more income security, it is the love of learning and teaching history that has kept me in this insecure life of being an adjunct. In order to supplement the income, I am obliged to accept more than a full-time load of teaching each semester. But, even though I teach 6-8 classes per year, my income still falls beneath $25,000 per year. In spite of the heavy workload I take upon myself, many of my classes have been extremely popular and often had many more students enrolled than the number of students enrolled in full-time faculty classes in many schools. But more students mean more work. At times, I do feel very much exploited by the system and schools. But again and again, I decide to stay as a historian and a teacher, because I believe in the long-term value of knowing history for the nation and the world and because I believe I am making important contributions to the lives of students and the society through teaching history. I believe the world needs people with historical awareness today more than ever before, and I wish to live for the purpose of making the world a better place using my knowledge and skil of teaching. But I do need support in order to feel that my contribution is valued and that I am not being taken advantage. The legislation introduced by Senator Dick Durbin would help many experienced adjunct lecturers to be able to continue in their service for educating the public and younger people, as they will be less likely to give up using their accumulated knowledge and experience to turn to a better way of earning income. Any school teacher who possesses a simple BA and a credential can easily earn three times more income than an adjunct like myself who possesses multiple graduate degrees, teaches more than a full-time work load, and has almost no benefit and job security. I can manage my life somehow earning such a low wage, but the school loan that I accumulated to be qualified as an adjunct person is the most oppressive and depressing part of this career journey. More than a half of university and college classes are run by adjunct faculty in this day and age. It is about the time that the federal and state governments begin to bring some justice and common sense to this situation. I strongly support the Durbin bill.

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