Swalwell & Blumenthal Introduce Bill to Reduce Student Debt for Public Servants

June 22, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15) & Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced the Strengthening Loan Forgiveness for Public Servants Act to enhance the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLFP), which offers student loan forgiveness to teachers, police officers, public health workers and others who dedicate their careers to public service.

Swalwell introduced this legislation as part of a week of action he announced on Tuesday, which is aimed at seeking solutions for the student debt crisis our nation faces.

The PSLFP provides student loan forgiveness after qualified borrowers make 120 full, scheduled, monthly payments while employed full-time in public service. The Strengthening Loan Forgiveness for Public Servants Act would let new PSLFP participants have their eligible Direct Loans deferred while they work in public service and receive loan forgiveness in proportion to their years of public service – after every two years, they would have a certain percentage of their eligible balance cancelled.

“The rising cost of a college degree is taking a toll on the ability of students to freely make a career decision after graduating,” said Swalwell. “Young people shouldn’t be dissuaded from pursuing a career in public service due to a looming, debilitating monthly student loan payment. The PSLFP does a good job of incentivizing a public service career, but it takes too long to help many people with debt. The Strengthening Loan Forgiveness for Public Servants Act does more to support graduates who serve their communities while helping to lighten the load of student debt along the way.”

"We should reward public service-particularly as the need for talented and dedicated public servants grows,” said Blumenthal. “This bill gives a helping hand to the police officers, teachers, and healthcare workers who often make significant personal and financial sacrifices to keep our communities safe and successful. By expanding the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program and easing their student debt burden, we can make these careers more attractive and financially attainable for young Americans."

Swalwell is the founder and chair of Future Forum, a group of 26 young House Democrats that has engaged with thousands of millennials across the nation on the issues most important to them. Student loan debt consistently ranks high among the concerns of millennials, who now are the largest and most diverse generation in U.S. history.