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Proposal Would Overhaul Public Service Loan Forgiveness

April 12, 2019
 
 

Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill Thursday that would cut the wait time for debt relief under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness and expand eligibility to any borrower who holds a federal student loan.

The PSLF program promises debt cancellation for borrowers in eligible public or nonprofit sector jobs who make 120 monthly qualifying payments. It also requires that borrowers hold federal direct loans.

The bill, which was introduced by New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Virginia senator Tim Kaine, would allow borrowers to have half their debt forgiven after meeting eligibility requirements for five years. And it would expand eligibility to all types of federal student debt, including FFEL loans issued before the switch to direct federal lending in 2010.

The legislation would also require the Education Department to provide clearer guidance to borrowers up front about eligibility for loan forgiveness and simplify the application process.

The bill is co-sponsored by 13 other Democrats, including presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker.

The Trump administration has repeatedly proposed eliminating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. A 2017 House Republican proposal to reauthorize the Higher Education Act also called for eliminating PSLF, although it would grandfather in current borrowers.

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