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CalNonprofits and the global society: Tackling student debt for a sustainable future

CalNonprofits and the global society: Tackling student debt for a sustainable future
CalNonprofits and the global society: Tackling student debt for a sustainable future

The California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits) has been a beacon of support and advocacy for the nonprofit sector in California, addressing a myriad of challenges faced by nonprofit organizations and their staff. One of their key initiatives, the Nonprofit Student Debt Project, exemplifies their commitment to improving the lives of nonprofit employees and fostering a more sustainable and equitable society. This project aligns seamlessly with the goals of the Global Society and several UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly those focused on education, decent work, and reduced inequalities.

The nonprofit student debt project

The Nonprofit Student Debt Project by CalNonprofits aims to educate and inform nonprofit staff and employers about the burgeoning crisis of student debt and its detrimental impact on the nonprofit workforce. By advocating for public policy changes and engaging the community in finding solutions, CalNonprofits is working to alleviate the financial burdens that hinder the sector’s growth and sustainability.

At the heart of this initiative is a strong emphasis on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. PSLF offers a lifeline to nonprofit employees, providing loan forgiveness after 120 qualifying payments. This program is crucial for attracting and retaining talent in the nonprofit sector, ensuring that financial constraints do not deter passionate individuals from pursuing careers in public service.

Recent developments and resources

The PSLF program has seen significant changes since its inception in 2007, with notable updates in the past year. CalNonprofits keeps the nonprofit community informed about these changes and provides essential resources to ensure that staff members remain eligible for loan forgiveness. Key updates include:

  • Loan payments made during the COVID-19 payment pause still count toward PSLF if other qualifications are met, provided that a PSLF form certifying employment is submitted.

  • Borrowers can now receive credit for past payments on previously ineligible loans, expanding the reach and effectiveness of the PSLF program.

  • The introduction of the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan, a new Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) option, which reduces monthly payments to 5% of discretionary income for undergraduate loans and 10% for graduate loans.

CalNonprofits also offers valuable tools and resources to help navigate the complexities of student debt. The online platform Savi, available to all members, assists employees in managing repayment and loan forgiveness options, providing both free and premium plans to suit individual needs.

Impact and alignment with global goals

CalNonprofits' efforts resonate deeply with the goals of the global society, particularly in promoting social equity and economic sustainability. By addressing student debt, they contribute to several UN SDGs:

- SDG 4: Quality education - By alleviating student debt, CalNonprofits helps ensure that financial burdens do not impede access to quality education and professional development opportunities for nonprofit staff.

- SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth - The initiative supports decent work by enabling nonprofit employees to pursue their careers without the looming pressure of student debt, thereby fostering economic growth within the sector.

- SDG 10: Reduced inequalities - By advocating for policies that address student debt, CalNonprofits works to reduce inequalities, ensuring that financial constraints do not disproportionately affect those dedicated to public service.

Future directions

CalNonprofits is not resting on its laurels. They have assembled a task force of knowledgeable advisors to enhance awareness and expand knowledge about the PSLF program and other debt relief options. In the coming months, they plan to:

  • Share the results of a new student debt survey.

  • Hold a webinar to disseminate vital information.

  • Offer a new toolkit for both employers and employees.

By continuously updating and expanding their resources, CalNonprofits is empowering the nonprofit community to navigate the student debt crisis effectively, thereby fostering a more resilient and sustainable sector.

CalNonprofits' Nonprofit Student Debt Project is a testament to their commitment to the well-being of the nonprofit workforce and the broader goals of the global society. By addressing the critical issue of student debt, they are not only supporting individual nonprofit employees but also contributing to a more equitable, educated, and economically sustainable society. This initiative underscores the importance of collective efforts in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals and building a better future for all.


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