Your source for the social work profession in North Carolina.
NASW has been working to secure student loan forgiveness legislation for social workers for many years. Last year, we were able to secure loan forgiveness for social workers in the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007 http://www.socialworkers.org/advocacy/updates/2007/092107.asp, an important victory for our Social Work Reinvestment Initiative. H.R. 4137 provides for a few new initiatives, one of which is the establishment of a program to award grants to Hispanic Serving Institutions that provide graduate students with fellowships, scholarships and academic support and faculty exchanges. The Patsy Mink Fellowship Program has been created to encourage minorities and women in graduate school programs to pursue academic areas in which they are underrepresented.
Beyond loan forgiveness and the aforementioned new programs, the new law also impacts the social justice community with a provision requiring the Department of Education to collect college campus hate crime categories identical to the categories that have been collected by the F.B.I. since 1991. NASW believes that this essential component would give students and parents a comprehensive picture concerning campus safety in addition to redressing substantial gaps in the hate crimes data promulgated by the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) within the Department of Education. Every year, numerous students are the victims of bias-induced slurs, vandalism, threats, and physical assaults on college campuses. In 1998, to increase awareness of hate violence on college campuses, Congress enacted an amendment to HEA requiring all colleges and universities to collect and report hate crime statistics to the OPE.
Colleges must document only those crimes involving bodily injury when the victim was targeted because of his or her race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or disability. Unfortunately, the Department of Education’s present hate crime statistics reflect abysmal underreporting and do not corroborate with hate crime information collected by the F.B.I. under the original statute. The delineation had been the definition of a hate crime as well as the omitted crime categories contained within the Department of Education’s data collection protocols. To this end, NASW and other national organizations are profoundly committed to a revision in the Department of Education’s hate crime categories ensuring that they would parallel those collected by the Department of Justice. The aforementioned provision alleviates any discrepancies between the F.B.I. definition of a hate crime and the HEA definition and, moreover, includes omitted crime categories to the Department of Education’s hate crime data collection mandate. The Association contends that this vital provision will further provide foundation for the total enactment of hate crimes legislation.
Loan forgiveness, new scholarship programs, and enhanced hate crime data collection procedures are some of the key issues included in the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEA) for social workers and students. NASW will keep its members apprised of any implementation or regulatory changes as a result of this legislation.
To learn more about loan forgiveness programs and information provided to members by NASW-NC, click here.