Joyce, Boyle Introduce Bill to Support Student Loan Forgiveness for Public Servants

Dec 18, 2023
Education

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressmen Dave Joyce (OH-14) and Brendan F. Boyle (PA-02) introduced the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Administrative Improvements Act to update and improve both the approval and administrative processes that support the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program for teachers, soldiers, public safety officers, and other public servants with student loan balances.

“By providing loan forgiveness for our nation’s nurses, firefighters, teachers, police officers, military service members, veterans, and more who choose to dedicate their careers to serving others, we are making a direct investment in our communities,” said Congressman Joyce. “We should do everything we can to support individuals who pursue careers that contribute to the well-being of Americans. I am proud to join Congressman Boyle in introducing this bipartisan bill to fix the program’s current inefficiencies and ensure we can continue to give our public servants the support they deserve.”

“I’m proud to introduce this legislation, and committed to doing all I can to help alleviate the burden of student loan debt for dedicated public servants,” said Congressman Boyle, co-chair of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Caucus. “Public Service Loan Forgiveness is an investment in our communities and a commitment to those who choose these demanding careers in the public sector. Public Service Loan Forgiveness is an incentive to our students and an investment in our future, and we must ensure that it benefits as many hardworking public servants as possible.”

Congress established the bipartisan loan forgiveness program in 2007 to help teachers, social workers, military personnel, and other public servants pursue sometimes lower-paying careers serving their communities without facing decades of crippling loan payments. The PSLF program currently requires public service workers to go through a lengthy and complicated employment certification process. This legislation would ease that burden by establishing data matching agreements between all federal agencies and the U.S. Department of Education that will enable automatic credit towards PSLF for qualifying federal employees. This includes the Department of Defense, which will ease the pathway for military service members, veterans, and civilians who support our nation’s military readiness, to their earned benefits of PSLF.

“All students deserve a caring, qualified, committed, and certified teacher in their classroom, but skyrocketing student debt has made it much more difficult to attract and retain educators because they simply cannot afford to stay in the teaching profession they love. For those educators who stay, decisions like buying a home or starting a family are delayed because of out-of-control student loan bills,” said NEA President Becky Pringle. “The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program was created to encourage talented individuals to pursue careers in public service, including educators teaching in our public schools. Since 2021, more than 715,000 individuals have received $51 billion in loan forgiveness because of the PSLF program. The PSLF Administrative Improvements Act is a genuine effort to support public sector workers under this program, helping them navigate a complicated application system while enhancing congressional oversight to prevent administrative inefficiency. The National Education Association applauds Congressman Brendan Boyle and Congressman David Joyce for once again developing a bipartisan solution to ensure teachers and other dedicated public service professionals receive the loan forgiveness they deserve.” 

“The PSLF Coalition is dedicated to making sure that the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is accessible and loan forgiveness is achievable,”said Verna Williams of the PSLF Coalition. “We are grateful to Representatives Joyce and Boyle for the introduction of the PSLF Administrative Improvements Act to help ensure all qualified public service professionals are able to successfully earn student loan forgiveness. We know that PSLF is a critical tool for recruiting and retaining public service professionals and thank the Congressmen for recognizing the value and service of professionals working in public health, public safety, and public education.”

Specifically, the bill:

  • Improves communications between PSLF applicants and federal agencies
  • Requires more transparency into the approval/denial process regarding loan cancellation verdicts
  • Creates an online portal for PSLF that is integrated with Federal Student Aid’s single sign-on dashboard
  • Directs the Secretary of Education to establish and keep up to date a database of public service employers and provide support to educational institutions that participate in the PSLF program
  • Directs the Secretary of Education to provide an annual report to Congress that will provide success and denial rates, data is currently not available and will aid the U.S. Department of Education and professional associationsin tracking which public sector jobs are using the program well, as well as fields that require more outreach and attention
  • Enhances PSLF data sharing among federal agencies who are involved in the PSLF program 

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