US Senator Kamala D. Harris and colleagues call for fixes to civil service loan forgiveness program to be included in relief program

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The bill would ensure that public servants and frontline workers, like nurses and first responders, receive forgiveness for the student loan they have earned.

July 27, 2020 – WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) joined Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Elizabeth Warren on Friday (D-MA) and 14 of their colleagues in calling on Senate leaders to include fixes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) in the upcoming COVID-19 relief plan. In a letter, the senators called for the inclusion of elements of theWhat you can do for your country Take actionin the relief program to ensure that frontline workers receive the waiver of their student loans they have earned.

(Left) US Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA)

Along with Harris, Gillibrand, Kaine and Warren, the letter was signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jacky Rosen ( D- NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

Senators wrote,“The COVID-19 pandemic has made the work of our nurses, health care providers, teachers, first responders and countless other public sector workers more important than ever. For many of these essential workers, who are disproportionately people of color, the combination of extreme job insecurity, dangerous working conditions caused by the pandemic, and unmanageable student debt has been devastating. This crisis has highlighted the need for immediate action to ensure that we give our core workers the support and forgiveness they rightly deserve. “

The PSLF was created by Congress in 2007 to encourage more students to enter the public service by granting a loan forgiveness after 10 years of full-time work for a federal, state, local or tribal government organization or certain organizations. non-profit. Unfortunately, the flawed implementation of the PSLF program by the US Department of Education and the “donut holes” of eligibility resulted in 99% of all officials who asked for forgiveness were denied the help.

the What you can do for your country Take action would close donut holes and correct technical errors in the current PSLF by ensuring that all types of federal loans and federal repayment plans would qualify, require clearer information and better advice for borrowers, and simplify the process application process so that all eligible borrowers are able to work towards and receive the loan discount they have earned.

The full text of the letter can be viewed HERE and lower.

Dear Chef McConnell and Chef Schumer,

As the country continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are writing to you today to ask you to provide critical support to frontline workers and government officials across our country in the COVID-19 relief legislation that you trade by closing the donut holes in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) with components of theWhat you can do for your country Take action(S. 1203). These provisions will ensure that people who have dedicated their careers to public service and who work in the trenches to help their communities fight the virus receive the waiver of their student loan they have earned.

The PSLF was created by Congress in 2007 to encourage more students to enter the public service by granting a loan forgiveness after 10 years of full-time work for a federal, state, local or tribal government organization or certain organizations. non-profit. Unfortunately, the flawed implementation of the PSLF program by the US Department of Education and the “donut holes” of eligibility resulted in 99% of all officials who asked for forgiveness were denied the help. As a result, tens of thousands of nurses, first responders, teachers, social workers, members of the military and countless other professions committed to serving their communities have been denied help or deterred. to ask for it. As borrowers drown in a growing pool of $ 1.5 trillion in federal student loan debt, these issues add unnecessary pain and burden to those working tirelessly to support their communities during this unprecedented public health crisis. .

We must do more to tackle the crushing burden of student debt on our frontline workers and other public servants. theWhat you can do for your country Take actionwould close donut holes and correct technical errors in the current PSLF by ensuring that all types of federal loans and federal repayment plans would qualify, require clearer information and better advice for borrowers, and simplify the process application process so that all eligible borrowers are able to work towards and receive the loan discount they have earned. While Congress created the Temporary Extended Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) program in 2018 to help some borrowers with bad repayment plans that were excluded from relief, this program has also been poorly implemented. and has an extremely high rejection rate. More comprehensive fixes for PSLF are urgently needed.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the work of our nurses, health care providers, teachers, first responders and countless other public sector workers more important than ever. For many of these essential workers, who are disproportionately people of color, the combination of extreme job insecurity, dangerous working conditions caused by the pandemic, and unmanageable student debt has been devastating. This crisis has highlighted the need for immediate action to ensure that we give our core workers the support and forgiveness they rightly deserve.

It is high time that Congress honored its commitment to workers who have dedicated their careers to serving their communities. We must include provisions to help these borrowers recover from the pandemic and its economic ravages. Thank you for your attention to this important request.

Truly,
Source: US Senator Kamala D. Harris

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