US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has urged the Republican-controlled Senate to include measures that bolster a student loan waiver program for public workers in the next round of federal coronavirus relief.
Gillibrand said less than one percent of eligible public workers who applied for the Public Service Loan forgiveness program received relief last year. The federal program helps students who choose a career in the public service get their loans canceled after 10 years of employment in the federal, state or local government.
Rukhsar Asfe studies Social Welfare at Stony Brook University and works for a qualifying nonprofit organization. She joined Gillibrand on Monday to ask Congress to help her reform the program.
“The process was exhausting and my [federal] the loan providers can’t seem to give me straight answers, ”Asfe said.
“After trying to get the information several times, and between the demands of work and school, I stopped trying.”
Gillibrand, a democrat, blame the US Department of Education for mismanagement of the program.
“The failures of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program only make the situation worse, adding unnecessary suffering and burdens to those who did the right thing. These officials have held their end of the bargain – now is the time for the government to hold its end.
She said she wants the Senate to ensure that clerical errors in the program are corrected, demand clearer guidelines for borrowers, and streamline the process to help get more eligible public workers out of debt.