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Architects Laud Introduction of Bipartisan National Design Services Act As Way to Cut Spiraling Student Loan Debt

 

AIA and AIAS Commit to Making Bill Reality; Enlist Help of Architecture Student Community Nationwide

Contact: John Schneidawind
202-626-7457

http://twitter.com/AIA_Media

For immediate release: 
Washington, D.C. – March 12, 2014 – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) today committed to timely passage of the National Design Services Act (NDSA), which will give architecture students the same relief from crushing student loan debt, which is already granted young lawyers, doctors and others – in return for community service. The bipartisan legislation, H.R. 4205, was introduced Tuesday by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and co-sponsored by Rep. Greg Meeks (D-NY), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) and Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) 

“Millions of young people aspire to help their communities build a better future – but a lack of opportunity and the crushing cost of education hold them back,” said AIA CEO Robert Ivy, FAIA. “As a result, the design and construction industry faces a severe shortage of talent at exactly the moment America needs to rebuild for the future.

“We commend Congressman Perlmutter for recognizing this issue, for introducing the NDSA and for enlisting his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to work for its ultimate passage,” Ivy said. “I promise that they will have the full resources of the AIA as well as the architecture student community behind them when more than 600 AIA members convene in Washington, D.C. next week as part of the AIA’s annual grassroots conference.”

"The National Design Services Act will help promote sustainable economic development and jobs by ensuring aspiring architects are able to gain valuable experience while giving back to their communities designing public projects such as schools, health clinics, housing facilities and libraries,” said Rep. Perlmutter. “In return, the bill will alleviate some of the barriers new students face as they pursue their dreams in architecture." 

“There is no shortage of enthusiasm in our membership for passing this bill,” said Joshua Caulfield, Chief Executive Officer of AIAS. “And we intend to leverage that enthusiasm to the hilt as we go forward and call on our members of Congress.” 

Student debt is one of the most critical issues facing the economy – not to mention the next generation of design professionals. Roughly 40 million Americans owe $1.2 trillion in student-loan debt, an amount that surpasses every other type of household debt except mortgage debt. Architecture student graduates come out of school with approximately $40,000 in student loan debt, ranking architecture as one of the disciplines with the highest loan balances in the country. 

The NDSA eases this burden by providing loan assistance to architecture students and recent graduates who contribute their design services to underserved areas. The bill would authorize the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to create a program allowing architecture students to work with Community Design Centers in exchange for assistance with their student loans.

As a result, communities will receive a broad range of architecture services that may not have otherwise been available, and architecture graduates will be induced to stay in the profession. 

At a recent meeting of AIAS Milwaukee-Wisconsin where AIA National staff discussed the proposal, architecture students immediately began organizing a phone bank for students to call their members of Congress to urge them to support the bill. 

Indeed, enthusiasm for such legislation knows no bounds on the campuses of architecture schools and elsewhere among the emerging professionals community. One young architect, Evan Litvin of Philadelphia, has launched an online petition that enlists the support of architects nationwide for speedy passage of the NDSA. The link to that petition can be found here:
http://www.change.org/petitions/members-of-congress-support-the-national-design-services-act-ndsa?utm_source=supporter_message&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=supporter_message.

For more information on the NDSA and how you can become involved, please visit this link on AIA.org:

http://www.aia.org/advocacy/federal/AIAB099522

About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, members of the American Institute of Architects consistently work to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders, and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

About the American Institute of Architecture Students
The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) is an independent, nonprofit, student-run organization dedicated to providing unmatched programs, information, and resources on issues critical to architectural education. The mission of the AIAS is to promote excellence in architectural education, training, and practice; to foster an appreciation of architecture and related disciplines; to enrich communities in a spirit of collaboration; and to organize students and combine their efforts to advance the art and science of architecture. Visit www.aias.org

The joint press release can also be found on the AIA website at: http://www.aia.org/press/releases/AIAB102011

 

Follow all NDSA Updates at:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/nationaldesignservicesact

Twitter: @NDSAdvocate

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