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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 5, 2016 04:26 PM
From: Senator David G. Argall
To: All Senate members
Subject: Student loan forgiveness program for architects
In the near future, I will introduce legislation to create the Pennsylvania Neighborhood Restoration Act. This legislation will establish an architect loan forgiveness program in the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to encourage architects to provide pro bono architectural services for blighted properties in impoverished areas of the state. The program will help improve cities and neighborhoods throughout Pennsylvania, while leveraging the wealth of talent of architects.

Under the proposal, DCED will provide funds on a competitive basis for qualifying educational loan repayment to individual architects who provide the pro bono services. Examples of eligible architectural services would include the design and planning of housing facilities, schools, health clinics, community centers; the development of plans for neighborhoods that are appropriate for rehabilitation or conservation activities, including blighted, deteriorated, or deteriorating neighborhoods; the identification of buildings appropriate for retrofitting for energy efficiency, water efficiency, and conservation improvements; and, designs for improvements to buildings to address existing mobility and accessibility barriers.

According to a survey conducted by the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), students graduating with a Bachelor of Architecture degree leave school with over $42,000 in debt, while students graduating with a Masters in Architecture degree have over $72,000 in debt. Compare that with the $26,600 average loan debt of non-architecture college graduates, according to the nonprofit Project on Student Debt, and architecture students are graduating with some of the highest loan balances in the country.

Introduced as SB459