On June 4, Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15) introduced a package of education bills designed to alleviate many of the challenges borrowers encounter within the student loan system. The five-bill legislative package offers federal student loan relief to public servants and teachers, increases access to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, doubles the student loan interest deduction for individuals and provides yearly updated information to student borrowers on their loan repayment options so they can pick plans that work for them.
“This package of bills addresses some of the fundamental flaws in our borrowing system,” Swalwell said. “For too many Americans, college is not working the way it is supposed to. Getting an education should not cost you your livelihood, and these bills will help address the growing student debt crisis, affecting more than 42 million borrowers in the United States.”
Specifically, these bills address the following issues:
Strengthening Loan Forgiveness for Public Servants: Enhances the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which offers student loan forgiveness to teachers, police officers, public health workers and others who dedicate their careers to public service. Borrowers would receive loan forgiveness in proportion to their years of public service.
STEM K to Career Act: Offers federal student loan relief to STEM teachers and provides tax credits to certain employers who work to provide internships or apprenticeships in the STEM field. It also amends the Federal Work Study program to offer more STEM opportunities.
Fairness in Forgiveness Act: Allows current and former long-time workers at all 16 privately operated Department of Energy National Laboratories to seek forgiveness of their federal student loans under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
Student Loan Interest Deduction Act: Doubles tax deductions for student loan interest (from $2,500 to $5,000) and eliminates income phase-outs that prevent people who live in high-cost areas from participating.
Know Your Repayment Options Act: Directs the Department of Education to inform all federal student loan borrowers of all their repayment options on a yearly basis, with specific information for each individual.
As students around the country graduate from high school and college, many are encountering the realities of student loan debt for the first time. This package aims to alleviate many of the challenges borrowers encounter within the educational loan system. Student loan debt consistently ranks as one of the highest concerns for millennials. The bills propose the removal of barriers to education, helping students achieve a debt-free future.