NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The American Federation of Teachers, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO that represents more than 1.7 million members, in partnership with Summer, a Certified B Corporation whose digital education assistance solution empowers individuals to reach their financial goals, today announced it has helped nearly 25,000 teachers with their student debt, connecting borrowers to $22 million in realized student loan forgiveness.
“While the Biden Administration’s student loan forgiveness plan hangs in the balance at SCOTUS, we continue to fight to keep the promise of Public Service Loan Forgiveness for America’s teachers, nurses and all public employees,” said Randi Weingarten, President of AFT. “We embarked on this partnership with Summer united by a shared mission for our members, to make sure every borrower gets the best outcome possible, but also to make them feel seen, heard and supported in this daunting process. It’s gratifying to empower our members by creating hundreds of millions of dollars in savings.”
As borrowers working in public service await a decision on the Biden Administration’s student loan forgiveness plan, many student loan holders and their employers remain unaware of the existing full suite of options available to them, and even those in the know can get overwhelmed by the process, timeline, and paperwork required to see relief.
Through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, Summer has helped AFT members see $22 million in student loans canceled to date. Additionally, AFT members enrolled in an Income-Driven Repayment plan through Summer are anticipating an average of nearly $53,000 over the lifetime of their loan. In the first three years of partnership alone, Summer is on track to provide nearly $400 million in projected lifetime savings for AFT members.
According to a 2020 survey, the average outstanding balance for a K-12 teacher with student debt is $58,700, with one in eight teachers owing more than $105,000. With an average teacher salary of $65,090 in 2021, paying down student debt can prove incredibly challenging for educators.
Summer’s online tools allow borrowers to check their eligibility, loan by loan, for forgiveness options and repayment plans, and to weigh those options against each other with clear next steps. Summer can tell if a loan needs to be consolidated to qualify for PSLF, or if a borrower received a Pell grant to attend school, all online in an automated experience. This automated approach will be especially critical once payments resume. Borrowers can use Summer’s tools to enroll in all of these programs on their own time without needing to wait. Plus, borrowers are reminded to recertify annually via Summer for both PSLF and IDR over the 10-year repayment period.
“Unions like AFT have always served as a critical resource for members seeking guidance in navigating programs like student debt relief,” said Summer CEO Will Sealy. “We’re incredibly proud of our work with AFT to take things one step further, empowering them through our platform to make even more impact with better tools and resources that have already created tens of millions of dollars in savings for members.”
“I am forever grateful for the Summer partnership with AFT,” said Nicole, an AFT member in Ohio. “I didn’t really see paying $145K+ off in this lifetime without winning the lottery, but this helped eliminate five more years of stress with the PSLF waiver, and I have great credit now thanks to forgiveness improving my score by 70 points.”
Organizations can learn more about bringing the digital Summer solution to their employees or members at www.meetsummer.com/employers.
About American Federation of Teachers
The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators. For more information, visit www.aft.org.
Summer partners with organizations to empower their populations to reduce education costs and student debt through proven technologies, policy expertise and human support. Founded in 2017 by industry experts, its mission is to alleviate student loan debt for 46 million borrowers by providing leading solutions for college cost planning, automated enrollment for loan assistance plans, tuition assistance, student loan contributions and retirement matching, and emergency savings. Summer is a Certified B Corporation. For more information, visit www.meetsummer.com.