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Student Loan Forgiveness Bill for Adjunct Faculty Introduced in U.S. Senate

As the reliance on part-time faculty grows at colleges and universities across the country, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced legislation that would allow part-time faculty – who are often paid low wages with few benefits – to be eligible to participate in the federal student loan forgiveness program for public servants. In Illinois, more than half of all faculty at public and non-profit colleges and universities work on a part-time basis, which often makes them ineligible for most benefits, including participation in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

“As their budgets have tightened, colleges and universities have become increasingly reliant upon part-time adjunct faculty who face low pay, few if any benefits, and minimal job security,” Durbin said. “The vast majority of these educators hold advanced degrees, and as a result, bear the heavy burden of student loan debt. It is only right that we expand their access to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, a benefit already available to many of their full-time colleagues.”

Between 1991 and 2011, the number of part-time faculty in the United States more than doubled. Simultaneously, the percentage of professors holding tenure-track positions steadily decreased, reaching a record low of only 24 percent

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