Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to cosponsor the What You Can Do For Your Country Act to encourage more students to enter public service by expanding the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program and allowing more Americans to qualify for the program. The Act would close loopholes that mean that less than 1 percent of all public servants who apply receive forgiveness.
“Young Nevadans interested in serving their fellow citizens through government and nonprofit work deserve our support. This legislation will allow the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to do what it what was intended to in the first place: decrease the burden of educational loans for college graduates who want to give back to their communities.”
In addition to Senators Cortez Masto and Gillibrand, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) also cosponsored this legislation.
The What You Can Do For Your Country Act would amend the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to make it easier for Americans to qualify for loan forgiveness:
- All types of federal loans would qualify. The bill would allow borrowers with both Direct Loans, and loans in the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program, to qualify for forgiveness. Under current law, borrowers who took out federally-backed FFEL loans have been deemed ineligible for PSLF with little recourse. This bill would allow borrowers to consolidate their loans without losing credit toward forgiveness.
- All federal repayment plans would qualify. Borrowers enrolled in any federal student loan repayment plan could receive forgiveness. Under current law, borrowers who are on “extended” or “graduated” repayment plans fall into a loophole and are generally ineligible.
- Public servants would receive clearer information and guidance. The U.S. Department of Education would be required to give borrowers better up-front information about whether they qualify, how many payments are counted and why, and what they can do to dispute any issue with how their progress is determined. Borrowers who “pay ahead” will be clearly able to apply these payments toward forgiveness.
Full text of the bill is available here.