The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has proposed a phasing out of the HEAL program, according to Richard Miller, ACA Director of Governmental Relations. "The proposed phasing out of the HEAL program is of concern to us because our students depend on these loans, so we are going to work to lobby the Congress to see that the program is continued," Mr. Miller said.
Default rates on student loans are a growing concern. A legislative effort to limit default rates is one issue of concern. "Should this occur, any effort which would single out chiropractic colleges or students as a class or group, which might be punitive to our profession, would have to be resisted tooth and nail," said Mr. Miller.
"If the default rate issue does arise," Mr. Miller added, "We need to be treated fairly, like everyone else, and not singled out for any punitive measures."
In addition to lobbying for the continuation of the HEAL program, ACA and ACC representatives are also pushing for chiropractic students' eligibility in the HPSL program. Other students in the health care field are eligible for this loan, but chiropractic students are not.
According to Roger Miller, the ACA is seeking to devise a strategy in which Student American Chiropractic Association (SACA) representatives can play a visible role.
The ACA's SACA representatives are articulate, energetic, and well-versed on this issue, and they represent the future of the profession," Mr. Miller said. "They want to help on this issue, and we intend to mobilize them for this purpose."
"I've long thought that as an organization we should seek better opportunities for the SACA representatives to work in support of our legislative agenda," added Reeve Askew, D.C., District 3 governor and board liason for SACA. "I'm proud of the role they play now and can play in the future."
David R. Shingler
Director of Communications
American Chiropractic Association