While many student loan borrowers focus on working within the status quo to find a solution that works best for them, others prefer to challenge the current system and are passionate about advocating for change. One simple way to do this is to write a letter to Congress expressing your position on student loan issues.
Added together with the letters of others with similar beliefs, such letters can be a powerful force for change. Here’s how to write a letter to Congress, including a sample letter to Congress from student loan borrowers that you can follow to make your voice heard.
How to write a letter to Congress
Never written a letter to Congress before? It’s simple to do by following these steps:
You’ll need to know not only who represents you in the House and Senate, but also their email and physical address, which will be available on their website.
At this point, you might be asking, “Who is my congressman or congresswoman?” You can find your representative in the House by searching the Directory of Representatives using your state and district. Each representative has a link to their website within the directory.
You can find out who represents you in the Senate by searching the listing of senators on the chamber’s official website. Filter results by state to find your representative; their contact information — including phone number, address and website — should be listed.
You should also try to understand your congress representative’s stance on the student loan issues you want to discuss. For example, you can review the stance of presidential candidates on student loans and see if your representative has expressed similar viewpoints.
Once you know who you’re sending your letter to, it’s time to write it. You’ll want to make sure you type the letter in a standard font and use an official letter format that includes the address and date at the top of the letter. Wondering how to address a congress representative in a letter? Begin with a formal salutation that addresses your recipient by their proper title.
In the body of the letter, use the first paragraph to identify who you are, where you’re from and to express why you’re writing. Since you want to keep your letter to only one page, it’s wise to focus on one issue per letter, so that your correspondence is to the point.
If you’re talking about specific legislation, be sure to reference the number. For example, if you were writing about a House resolution, you’d want to write H.R. 1234 (inserting the appropriate numbers for the resolution you’re referencing). If you were writing in regards to a Senate bill, you would similarly want to include the appropriate reference, such as S.B. 123.
You’ll also want to use appropriate facts and data to support your argument. For example, if you’re writing about student loan forgiveness, be sure you fully understand the various federal programs in place. You could also review expert student loan commentary to help inform your position. Including key data, such as statistics from survey results, can also help add credence to your claims.
If you’re looking for a specific example of how to write a letter to a congressional representative, you can review the sample letter below and include elements of it in your own correspondence.
Sample letter to Congress from student
This sample letter to Congress from a student is a template you can use to guide your letter-writing.
Your name and title
Recipient’s name and title (Ex: Senator ____ or The Honorable _____)
Recipient’s office address
Dear Representative/Senator _______,
I am writing to you as a constituent and graduate/student of [state your degree program or school] regarding the [state your issue, focus on one issue]. I am writing to urge you to [state your request].
This issue is significant because [use the next three to five sentences to provide factual support for your position].
I have witnessed the impact of this issue in my own community. [Use the next three to five sentences to provide a personal example of this issue’s importance in your life or community.]
I urge you to support the [name the legislation you want supported]. If you would like more information about how this is impacting my community, and me personally, please feel free to contact me directly. I look forward to working together with you in this process.
In addition to sending a written letter, you can also consider putting in a call to your representative in congress or emailing legislators to make your voice heard. While there is no firm data on which is the most impactful strategy, activists often recommend calling as their communication channel of choice because a barrage of phone calls is more urgent to address than a full email inbox. Whether you call or email, you will likely first reach a staffer who will compile your comments and present them to their superiors. Each elected official has a different method for engaging with their constituents. Some are known for calling each constituent back.
You can find your representative’s email and phone number in the same directories linked above. When you reach out, be sure to remain courteous, even if you’re speaking with passion. If you’re wondering, “How to call my congress representative effectively?” One idea is to write out some talking points before you get on the phone, to ensure you don’t miss crucial parts of your message. Also, keep in mind that you’ll have to verify over the phone that you are a constituent, usually by providing your name and city.
Sending an advocacy letter to Congress
Writing an effective advocacy letter to Congress requires you to be passionate but also to the point. Make your opinion clear but also succinct enough that the reader can engage with your entire letter. If you have additional thoughts to share or issues to bring up, there’s nothing to stop you from writing more letters in the future! There are even apps for contacting Congress that make it easier to continue to contact your representatives on issues that matter to you. Stay updated on news about student debt in the presidential debates or student loans in the coronavirus information center to make sure your opinions on these issues are accurately represented in Congress.
Susan Shain contributed to this report.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2020!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.99% – 5.64%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 5.90%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.25% – 6.09%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 6.77%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.39% – 6.01%||Undergrad |
|1.99% – 5.41%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews! |
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.79% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.64% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of July 31, 2020, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 7/31/2020. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2020 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.
Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.
Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.
Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.
Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of September 9, 2020. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.
The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.
To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of September 10, 2020.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.16% effective August 10, 2020.