Art degrees are often seen as useless degrees because of the employment and salary prospects of graduates. In fact, according to a study by Salary.com, jobs depending on an art degree ranked in the 8 College Degrees with the Worst Return on Investment.

But one New York Congresswoman is fighting for the arts. Nydia Velazquez proposed a new bill, which she’s calling the American Arts Revival Act, that would provide student loan debt relief to arts workers.

“Those working in the arts and related fields make invaluable contributions to New York City and to our entire nation,” said Velázquez. “Individuals that dedicate themselves to these professions enrich our culture and my bill would provide many of them with relief from mounting student loan debt.”

The American Arts Revival Act would provide $10,000 of student loan forgiveness to qualifying arts workers. The program would expand the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to include arts workers whose work benefits seniors, children and adolescents. This includes some arts and humanities teachers, museum professionals and artistic professionals.

This bill will help college graduates working in the art industry, but it will do more than that. It will encourage people to pursue art in school. Studies have shown that students who take art classes score better on tests like the SAT than those who don’t. Classes that foster creativity also increase community involvement and reduce the risk of a student dropping out of school.

“Investing in arts and arts education is an investment in our children,” noted Velázquez. “Not only will this initiative assist arts educators, but by attracting additional talent to the field, it will benefit students, young people, seniors and adolescents who take these courses.”  

Over 100 organizations have endorsed Velazquez’s bill. Thomas Schutte from the Pratt Institute said that creative work “impacts our country” and shapes our diverse culture. Ravi Rajan, president of the California Institute of Art praised the American Arts Revival Act, saying it will “strengthen our country in many ways, as artists play a vital role in a healthy democracy.”