Architects Push for Passage of Bipartisan National Design Services Act to Cut Spiraling Student Loan Debt

Washington, D.C. – June 26, 2015 – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) today committed to push for passage of the National Design Services Act (NDSA), which will give architecture students the same relief from crushing student loan debt already granted young lawyers, doctors and others – in return for community service.

The bipartisan legislation, H.R. 2938, was reintroduced Thursday by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and co-sponsored by Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fl), Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN) and Rep. Brad Ashford (D-NE).

“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 President Elizabeth Chu Richter, 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,” Richter said. “There is no doubt they will have the full resources of the AIA as well as the architecture student community behind them.”

"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."

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.

About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects consistently works 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.

Contact:
John Schneidawind
202-626-7457
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