Education & Our Kids
I believe that providing a quality education should be one of our nation’s highest priorities. All across the East Bay, schools are trying to do more with less – investing in the latest technology, rewarding outstanding teachers, and expanding access to before and after-school programs. In these tough financial times, our government must strengthen public schools by providing the funds and flexibility states need to implement vital education reform.
Our students are acquiring more student loan debt than ever before. Over 44 million Americans carry more than $1.5 trillion in student loan debt – a crushing burden that slows our economy and puts the American Dream out of reach for many. The average 2018 college graduate has about $29,200 in student loan debt, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.
Much of this burden falls upon the millennial generation: the largest, most educated, most diverse generation in American history—and a generation that feels increasingly disenfranchised, disenchanted and distanced from the political and policy process. Many fully employed millennials can’t afford to save a cent to marry, have kids, buy a home or eventually retire; all their income must go to serving their debt while barely keeping themselves afloat. This is among the top concerns voiced at meetings hosted by the Future Forum, a group I founded in 2015 and now comprised of 51 young House Democrats, focusing on bridging the gap between Congress and young Americans by discussing issues of importance to millennials.
Yet millennials don’t carry this debt alone - their parents often share in the burden. Some parents mortgage their homes to help pay; some take additional jobs or delay their retirement; some bear the costs of their adult, working children living with them. Many children of millennials suffer, too; parents who strive to feed, house and clothe a family while paying off their own student debt often can’t pay or save for their children’s educations.
Obtaining the education needed to compete in today’s economy must not require entire families to incur lifetimes of debt. I believe that a quality education prepares students for future careers in our global economy, and allows students to grow and thrive in their communities. I am working hard in Congress to improve the quality of and accessability to education for students of all ages, from preschool through college.
What I am Doing for You
I am a co-sponsor of H.R. 4674, the College Affordability Act, which would reauthorize the Higher Education Act of 1965 to lower the cost of college, to hold colleges accountable for students' success, and to give a new generation of students the opportunity to graduate on-time and transition to successful careers.
I introduced H.R. 3751, the No Student Loan Interest Act, which would significantly reduce the burden of interest charges on student loan borrowers. This bill would eliminate and forgive all interest charges on new and existing student loans, and lower the student loan interest rate to zero.
To help relieve crushing debt for the people who serve our communities, I introduced H.R. 3096, the Strengthening Forgiveness for Public Servants Act, which would enhance student loan forgiveness for teachers, police officers, public health workers & others who dedicate their careers to public service. Public servants would receive loan forgiveness in proportion to their years of public service.
I’ve supported teachers and educators by introducing H.R. 3099, the STEM K to Career Act, which seeks to improve the employment of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) teachers and the education of STEM students. It would forgive student loan obligations of borrowers employed as full-time STEM teachers in low-income elementary schools, increase the tax deduction for expenses by schools relating to STEM supplies, create a tax credit for the employment of STEM interns, and a tax credit for employing individuals that participate in STEM apprenticeship programs.
I introduced H.R. 3097, the Fairness in Forgiveness Act, which would let current and former long-time workers at all 16 privately operated Department of Energy National Laboratories seek forgiveness of their federal student loans through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
Recognizing the need for student loan reform, I introduced H.R. 3098, the Student Loan Interest Deduction Act, which would expand the student loan interest deduction by increasing the maximum tax deduction for interest paid on any qualified education loan from $2,500 to $5,000 for individuals (and to $10,000 for joint filers). It also permanently eliminates income-based phase-outs at $65,000 for individuals ($130,000 for joint followers) in the current deduction.
To improve transparency and flexibility for students and their families, I introduced H.R. 3095, the Know your Repayment Options Act, which would inform all federal student loan borrowers of all repayment options on a yearly basis, particularized for each individual, so they can pick the plan that works best for them.
I’m an original co-sponsor of H.R. 865, the Rebuild America's Schools Act of 2019, which would fund $70 billion in grants and $30 billion in bonds for critical physical school construction and renovations as well as digital infrastructure needs in public schools across the country.
With bipartisan support, I co-sponsored H.R. 2653, the Safe Schools Improvement Act of 2019, which would provide dedicated funding to states for mental health services providers, thus lowering the student-to-staff ratios for school counselors, psychologists and social workers.
I pushed for financial equality for students by co-sponsoring H.R. 885, the Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Fairness Act, to restore fairness in student lending by treating privately issued student loans the same as other types of private debt are treated in bankruptcy. Until 2005, this type of student loan debt was dischargeable in bankruptcy, but a change to the bankruptcy code removed this consumer protection.
I also co-sponsored H.R. 1707, the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, which would let students refinance their student loan debt at the same low rate being offered currently to new borrowers.
To increase kids' access to the skills demanded in a rapidly advancing workforce, I cosponsored H.R. 3808, the Teacher Education for Computer Science (Teach CS) Act, which would increase expertise in computer science by building a robust pipeline from our colleges and universities to the classroom.
More on Education & Our Kids
Washington D.C. — Today, Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15) led 72 of his House colleagues in sending a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos regarding the delayed disbursement of Economic Financial Aid Grants to students under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The letter also asked the Department to reconsider the restrictive guidelines it issued in respect to the use of those funds and who is eligible to collect them.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15) introduced the No Student Loan Interest Act to help address the nation’s growing student debt crisis and ensure that all students have a fair shot at paying off their loan balance without accumulating interest charges.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Swalwell (CA-15) introduced a robust package of education bills to alleviate many of the challenges borrowers encounter within our student loan system. The five-bill legislative package offers federal student loan relief to public servants and teachers, increases access to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, doubles the student loan interest deduction for individuals and provides yearly updated information to student borrowers on their loan repayment options so they can pick plans that work for them.