Testimony on SB 271: An Act Concerning Student Loans

Banking Committee

March 10, 2022

Submitted by: Stephen Wanczyk-Karp, LMSW

On behalf of the National Association of Social Workers, Connecticut Chapter representing nearly 2,400 members, we thank the Banking Committee for including licensed social worker in SB 271. NASW/CT fully supports the provisions of this bill.

The costs of attaining a master degree in social work (MSW) can be as high as $80,000 for a two-year program or $40,000 for a one-year program (requires a baccalaureate degree in social work). For most social workers these costs mean graduating with significant loan debt. A MSW’s starting salary can be as low as $40,000-$50,000, not very much given the amount of education required.

Licensed social workers (LCSW) working directly with clients, have been recognized as essential workers since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. LCSW are amongst the hidden heroes of this pandemic. To have a Hero Loan Subsidy Program that recognizes the valuable work of LCSWs is most appropriate.

LCSWs provide the majority of mental health services in Connecticut. The pandemic has skyrocketed the need for mental health care and the LCSW workforce is stretched to is limits. SB 271 will encourage behavioral health students to pursue the social work degree and will assist in the expansion of qualified mental health professionals at a time when the need for mental health services will exist for many years to come.

Speak Your Mind