How to Write a Letter to Congress About Student Loan Issues

While many student borrowers focus on the status quo to find a solution that works best for them, others prefer to challenge the current system and are passionate about promoting change. A simple way to do this is to write a letter to Congress expressing your position on student loan issues.

Added to letters from others who share similar beliefs, these 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 Borrowers that you can follow to make your voice heard.

How to Write a Letter to Congress

You’ve never written a letter to Congress before? It’s easy to do by following these steps:

1. Find out who your congress representative is
2. Write your letter
3. Try calling or emailing your congress representative

1. Find out who your congress representative is

You will need to know not only who represents you in the House and Senate, but also their email address and physical address, which will be available on their website.

At this point, you might be wondering, “Who is my congressman?” You can find your House Representative by searching the Directory of Representatives using your state and district. Each representative has a link to their website in the directory.

You can find out who represents you in the Senate by consulting the list of senators on the official website of the chamber. Filter the 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 representative’s position in Congress on the student loan issues you want to discuss. For example, you can look at where presidential candidates stand on student loans and see if your representative has expressed similar views.

2. Write your letter to Congress

Once you know who you’re sending your letter to, it’s time to write it. Be sure to 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 congressional representative in a letter? Begin with a formal greeting that addresses your recipient by its appropriate title.

In the body of the letter, use the first paragraph to identify who you are, where you are from, and to express why you are writing. Since you want to limit your letter to a single page, it’s wise to focus on just one issue per letter, so your correspondence is relevant.

If you are talking about specific legislation, be sure to mention the number. For example, if you were writing about a House resolution, you would write HR 1234 (insert the appropriate numbers for the resolution you are referring to). If you were writing about a Senate bill, you would also want to include the appropriate citation, such as SB 123.

You will also want to use appropriate facts and data to back up your argument. For example, if you are writing about student loan forgiveness, make sure you understand the different federal programs in place. You can also check out student loan expert reviews to help clarify your position. Including key data, such as statistics from survey results, can also help add credibility 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 parts of it in your own correspondence.

Sample Letter to Congress from a Student

This sample letter to Congress from a student is a template you can use to guide writing your letter.

Dated

Your name and title
Your address

Name and title of recipient (Ex: Senator ____ or The Honorable _____)
Consignee office address

Dear Representative/Senator _______,

I am writing to you as a voter and graduate/student of [state your degree program or school] with regard to the [state your issue, focus on one issue]. I am writing to invite you to [state your request].

This issue is important 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 invite you to support the [name the legislation you want supported]. If you would like more information on the impact of this on my community and on me personally, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. I look forward to working with you in this process.

Truly,

Name/Title

3. Try calling or emailing your congress representative

In addition to sending a written letter, you may also consider calling your congressional representative or emailing lawmakers to make your voice heard. Although there is no solid data on which strategy is most effective, campaigners often recommend calling as the communication channel of choice because a deluge of phone calls is more urgent to deal with than a box of full reception. Whether you call or email, you will likely first reach a staff member who will compile your comments and present them to their superiors. Each elected official has a different method of interacting with their constituents. Some are known to remind every voter.

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 speak with passion. If you’re wondering, “How do I effectively call my congressman?” One idea is to write down a few talking points before you pick up the phone, to make sure you don’t miss crucial parts of your message. Also remember that you will need to verify that you are an elector over the phone, 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 succinct enough for the reader to read your entire letter. If you have any other thoughts to share or issues to raise, there’s nothing stopping you from writing more letters in the future! There are even apps to contact Congress that make it easier to continue to contact your representatives on issues that matter to you. Stay up to date on student debt news in presidential debates or student loans in the Coronavirus Information Center to ensure your views on these issues are properly represented in Congress.

Susan Shain contributed to this report.

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