Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) introduced bipartisan legislation to cut through red tape and make it easier for current and former military service members to access the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. This vital program forgives some student debt for qualified public servants including teachers, firefighters, and military service members.
In 2021, the U.S. Department of Education announced they would automatically count military members’ service toward the PSLF program instead of requiring them to go through a lengthy and complicated certification process, but the change was never implemented because the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Defense failed to finalize a critical data-sharing agreement. Senator Cortez Masto repeatedly called for this to be completed administratively, and has now introduced legislation to ensure that it gets done.
“We should be making it easier for service members and veterans to get their loans forgiven after serving this country,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “My bipartisan legislation will remove barriers that are keeping too many military members and veterans from accessing benefits they’ve earned.”
“The men and women in our military selflessly serve their nation, which entitles them to these benefits,” said Senator Moran. “Streamlining the process to access loan forgiveness will help our military members receive their earned benefits and help them achieve financial freedom.”
“It can be surprisingly difficult for service members and veterans to have their military service honored for credit when working toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). While the Department of Education (ED) announced plans to work with the Department of Defense (DOD) to give borrowers automatic credit toward PLSF for their military service, those efforts have stalled,” said Justin Hauschild, Policy Counsel, with Student Veterans of America (SVA). “The bipartisan Ensuring Military Access to Higher Education Benefits Act of 2023 puts this initiative back on track by requiring DOD and ED to share existing information so borrowers receive automatic credit toward PLSF for their qualifying military service. SVA applauds Senators Cortez Masto and Moran for their leadership on this common-sense legislation to ensure military borrowers get the PSLF credit they have earned.”
Specifically, Senator Cortez Masto’s bill would require the Department of Education to complete a data-matching agreement with the Department of Defense, enabling automatic credit toward PSLF for military service members. The legislation is endorsed by Student Veterans of America and Veterans Education Success. The full bill text can be found here.
Senator Cortez Masto is a champion for our service members and veterans. Last year, Cortez Masto passed her the Brian Neuman Act to remove roadblocks for disabled veterans accessing their benefits. She passed the PACT Act to ensure veterans suffering from toxic exposure in the line of duty get the medical care they need and worked across the aisle to get legislation helping veterans exposed to Agent Orange and expanding benefits for women veterans signed into law.