WASHINGTON, DC — Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12) has announced the introduction of a bill to make it easier for Americans pursuing careers in public service—including teachers, police officers, firefighters, military service members and more—to receive the student loan forgiveness they were promised by Congress in 2007 under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. The Simplifying and Strengthening PSLF Act would make permanent the recent improvements to the PSLF program under the Biden Administration, and would implement other common sense reforms to help America’s public servants lower the cost of higher education.
“The debt is too damn high, and that is why it is especially egregious that the federal government isn’t keeping its promises to public servants,” said Adams, founder and co-chair of the Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus. “The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program was designed as an incentive for talented graduates to enter public service careers where they are desperately needed. Unfortunately, historically, 98% of applicants were denied loan forgiveness due to bureaucratic red tape. Our bill, the Simplifying and Strengthening PSLF Act, ensures we keep the promise to our public servants by codifying administrative fixes made by the Biden administration. At a time when so many students and borrowers are awaiting debt relief, we must honor our promises.”
The bill was introduced last week in the U.S. House of Representatives. A companion bill to the legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate in May by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. Upon introduction in the House, Adams was joined by lead sponsor Rep. Joe Courtney (CT-02), as well as Reps.Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Adam Smith (WA-09), Federica Wilson (FL-24), and Jamaal Bowman (NY-09) as original co-sponsors. The Simplifying and Strengthening PSLF Act has also drawn support from nationwide non-profit organizations representing teachers, social workers, military service members and other public service professions, including the Modern Military Association of America, the Peace Corps Association, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the Council on Social Work Education, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), the National Education Association, and the Connecticut Nonprofit Alliance.
“The Biden administration put the Department of Education back on the side of students and hardworking American people—they made that clear when they overhauled PSLF last fall, and our new bill would make those improvements permanent,” said Congressman Courtney. “PSLF was established to reward Americans who entered careers that our communities depend on, like teachers, nurses, firefighters and police officers. My office has heard from many people in these professions who worked hard, followed the rules, but were still denied the PSLF relief they were promised, and we’ve been pressing on their behalf to make the program more transparent and fair. October’s overhaul of PSLF was a big step in the right direction, and our new bill would codify those improvements along with an additional slate of upgrades to make it easier for America’s public service workers to qualify for, navigate, and benefit from this patriotic program.”