U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski introduced legislation last week to allow for employees who enter public service to be eligible for increased student loan forgiveness to pay off long-term debt.
The Public Service Appreciation Through Loan Forgiveness Act, H.R. 6087, would implement a partial loan forgiveness schedule for qualified employees and raise awareness about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, according to a news release.
Lipinski, D-Western Springs, argued his bill could help many public service professions that struggle to attract and retain talented workers.
“The costs of higher education are particularly burdensome for students who choose to give back to their communities and pursue lower-paying public service careers,” Lipinski said in the release. “We are indebted to the public servants who provide essential everyday services in our communities, including teachers, police officers, public defenders, municipal workers and librarians, to name a few.”
The bill would implement a partial forgiveness program so eligible participants would have their balance and interest reduced by 10% after four years of regular, on-time payments while working in public service. After six years, the balance and interest would be further reduced by 20%, followed by a 50% reduction after eight years. The program would continue to completely forgive debts of borrowers after 10 years.
The National Education Association and American Federation of Government Employees have endorsed the bill.