Legislation Builds on Senator Hassan’s Effort to Fix and Expand Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced bipartisan legislation to expedite student loan forgiveness for service members. The bipartisan Recognizing Military Service in Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Act would allow service members who pause their student loan payments while deployed or on extended active duty orders to count that period of time toward their student loan forgiveness – which is currently not allowed. Senator Hassan is leading efforts to strengthen the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to help ensure that millions of public servants -- such as fire fighters, law enforcement, teachers, and members of the military -- qualify for the loan forgiveness that they have earned.
The Recognizing Military Service in PSLF Act is cosponsored by Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Jack Reed (D-RI), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).
“Service members take enormous risks to protect our freedoms, and it is unacceptable that members of the military can return home after active duty and not be any closer to receiving loan forgiveness,” Senator Hassan said. “This bipartisan bill is a commonsense fix to help some of our country’s most deserving public servants get out from under the burden of their student debt more quickly. I will continue working to find common ground to better support our service members and veterans, and I look forward to working with Senator Rubio to move this important legislation forward.”
“Currently, active-duty members of the military who pause student loan payments during a deployment get the short end of the stick when it comes to benefitting from the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program,” Senator Rubio said. “This shouldn’t be the case -- our service members make an incredible sacrifice to serve our country, and we should do everything in our power to recognize their service and provide them with the option for loan forgiveness.”
Service members are eligible to enroll in Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which allows them to have their loans forgiven after 10 years of issuing qualifying payments. Right now, when eligible service members are deployed and decide to put their loans into deferment or forbearance through the military, that period of service does not count toward their 10 years of qualifying payments. The Senators’ bipartisan bill would change this policy and allow service members who defer or forbear their federal student loans during a period of active duty service to count those months toward their Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which will allow them to receive the loan forgiveness that they have earned more quickly. The Government Accountability Office recently released a report recommending improvements to help ensure that service members can effectively access the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and Senator Hassan’s bill builds on these efforts.
You can read the Senators’ bill here, and the one pager here.