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MAJORITY WHIP CLYBURN, REP. BOYLE INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO EXPAND AND IMPROVE THE PUBLIC SERVICE LOAN FORGIVENESS PROGRAM

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November 02, 2022
Wed, 11/02/2022 - 4:38pm -- cwhite

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (SC-06) and U.S. Congressman Brendan Boyle (PA-02) announced the introduction of the Public Service Reward Act. The announcement comes as the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Waiver period ended on October 31.

The bill aims to expand and improve the PSLF Program and remove barriers public servants encountered when attempting to have their student loan debt forgiven when the program was announced in 2007. If enacted, this legislation will provide an annual incentive for student loan borrowers in public service, help streamline the PSLF application process for borrowers, and allow those previously denied to reapply under the updated eligibility provisions.

“Student loan borrowers entering public service after obtaining their degrees provide great value to our communities and country.” said Majority Whip Clyburn. "This bill incentivizes more Americans to seek careers in public service and restores the promise of the PSLF program to millions of working people. I remain committed to providing borrowers who make significant sacrifices to provide public services with relief from the crushing debt associated with higher education and giving the next generation the opportunity to pursue the American dream.”

“I am proud to join Congressman Clyburn in introducing this legislation that will update and improve the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program," said Congressman Boyle. "As co-Chair of the Congressional PSLF Caucus, I have heard too many unfortunate stories from public servants about the shortcomings of this program. This legislation will begin to address those deficiencies and barriers that far too many public servants face while navigating the PSLF program. We must continue to do all that we can to incentivize this program to draw top-talent into the ranks of public service while providing them with an off-ramp from the crushing burden of student debt."

The PSR Act takes several legislative actions to ensure eligible borrowers are not denied forgiveness based on the amount of time they are in service or the type of loan or repayment plan they have. It requires that the PSLF Program is understandable and accessible to all. Under the bill, improvements to the PSLF Program include:

1. Providing partial debt forgiveness for every 12 qualifying payments an eligible borrower makes instead of requiring them to wait 10 years;

2. Expanding the PSLF eligible federal loans and repayment plans to include those loans and plans that were previously ineligible;

3.  Applying changes to the benefit and eligibility for PSLF retroactively to allow borrowers who have worked in public service and made student loan payments between enactment of the PSLF Program and enactment of this legislation to receive an amount of forgiveness for their time in public service; and

4. Streamlining access to and administration of the PSLF program.

"The PSLF program is life changing for people like me who thought they would never be able to pay off their loans,” said Dr. Chamarlyn Fairley, an employee with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. “To have over $100,000 in student loans forgiven for doing what I love is rewarding, but it also recognizes the dedication that those of us in public service have to our country and communities. I am grateful to Whip Clyburn, Congressman Boyle and the Biden Administration for recognizing the barriers that prevented public servants from receiving the forgiveness they were promised and doing something about it.”

This legislation receives popular support among the following organizations dedicated to rewarding public servants for their time working to serve the public good:

  • AccessLex Institute
  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • The Council on Social Work Education
  • Equal Justice Works
  • National Education Association
  • Young Invincibles

Read statements of support from each of the above organizations here.

Learn more about the benefits of the PSLF Act, read the bill summary here

Read the full bill text here.

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