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US law to allow architecture students to swap debt for work

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Legislation has been proposed to allow US architecture students to receive relief from debt in exchange for community work

Colarado representative Ed Perlmutter introduced the National Design Services Act to Congress last week.

It would allow provision of loan assistance to design students and recent graduates who contributed their services to certain areas in need.

Thousands of people have signed an online petition calling for support for the law, which is promoted by the American Institute of Architects and the American Institute of Architecture Students.

AIA chief executive Robert Ivy said: ‘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.

‘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.

‘I promise that they will have the full resources of the AIA as well as the architecture student community behind them when more than 600 AIA members convene in Washington DC next week as part of the AIA’s annual grassroots conference.’

Architecture students graduate with an average student loan debt of $40,000 (£24,000), according to the AIA. 

The Act would allow communities to receive a broad range of architecture services that would not have otherwise been available, and give experience to those starting out in the profession, it said.

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