Washington Post: Trump and DeVos Are Shortsighted on Student Loan Debt
SATURDAY, MAY 27, 2017

The Washington Post ran a Letter to the Editor from Seymour W. James Jr., the Attorney-In-Charge, about a wrongheaded proposal by President Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to defund Public Service Loan Forgiveness, a program many Legal Aid attorneys and staff utilize.

Washington Post
Trump and DeVos are shortsighted on student loan debt
Letters to the Editor
May 22, 2017

Regarding the May 18 news article “School choice is a priority in proposed budget”:

President Trump’s latest shortsighted and slipshod budget proposal twists the knife on Americans struggling with extortionate student loan debt and disincentivizes pursuing careers serving the public interest.

As the nation’s largest and oldest public defender organization, we rely on student loan programs such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness to support our lawyers’ careers and their stake in our work and to keep our ranks full with talent. PSLF has also served to diversify the nonprofit defender sector, with more and more law graduates from black and brown low-income communities using the program to solidify a lifelong career in public service work.

Mr. Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos fail to fully grasp the nature and intent of these programs. They’re not welfare or big-government giveaways but proven investments that pay dividends and allow lawyers to remain engaged in a selfless line of work. Some politicians ostensibly like to view public service with a sort of reverence and always fall back to the same answer when asked why they ran for office: “to give back and serve the community.” We hope Washington doesn’t turn a deaf ear and stifle others from pursuing that shared dream. Congressional leaders should lead this wrongheaded idea to the chopping block.

Seymour W. James Jr, New York
The writer is attorney-in-chief of the Legal Aid Society.

This letter originally appeared in The Washington Post.