July 19, 2017

TO:  President Tony Frank

FROM:  Sue James on behalf of the President’s Commission on Women and Gender Equity

SUBJECT:  Recommendation for Emergency Loan Employee-Assisted Payback or Emergency Loan Forgiveness

Background

The University, as part of its Commitment to Campus, offers an Emergency Hardship Loan Fund.  Loans range from $100-$1,000 and are available to an employee once per year.  Many University employees live paycheck to paycheck and may have difficulty repaying an Emergency Hardship Loan.  Knowing repayment is necessary and income may be low, University employees may be subject to additional stress and pressures that negatively impact the employee in various ways.  A loan forgiveness program or repayment program funded with employee donations would help alleviate the negative effects on employees that repayment of an emergency hardship loan my present.

Recommendation

The Commission recommends that the President explore implementation of a loan forgiveness program that would eliminate the need for employees to repay an emergency hardship loan.  If a loan forgiveness program is not feasible, then the Commission recommends that the President explore the possibility of establishing an employee donation fund from which repayment of emergency hardship loans could be paid.  Alternatively, the Commission recommends the President consider implementing and Employee Hardship Grant in addition to the Emergency Hardship Loan.  A grant would not require repayment but would need to be taxed as income, and an employee hardship grant program is consistent with many existing programs for employees at campuses across the United States and may reduce the burden on employees created by loan repayment.

Promotes the Mission and Goal of the Commission

Having a loan forgiveness program, employee-funded repayment program, or emergency grant fund fosters a supportive environment in which people of all genders are supported and recognized.  By relieving stress and the negative impacts associated with the need for repayment, such as identifying a source of income for repayment when many employees are living paycheck to paycheck, would allow employees, consistent with the Commission’s mission to feel empowered and supported by the institution.  This recommendation also closely aligns with the goal of Commitment to Campus, and may also align with the goals and missions of other campus committees and organizations.

Attachments:

Spreadsheet outlining existing loan/grant programs on other campuses and available criteria for the programs (representative sampling)

Summary of Emergency Loan programs by Rachael Simon-Walker, PCWGE student hourly