Congressman John Sarbanes

Representing the 3rd District of Maryland

Legislation Would Ease Student Loan Debt for America's Public Servants

June 7, 2019
In The News

The statistics are staggering. More than 44 million Americans with a total student debt of $1.5 trillion. It’s a crushing burden for many, particularly our nation’s public servants – teachers, public defenders, social workers, service members, health care workers and others who keep our communities strong…. That’s why I authored and helped pass into law the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF), which helps qualified participants earn student loan debt relief after working full-time for 10 years at certain nonprofit organizations or at local, state or federal government agencies. Over the last several years, however, an implementation breakdown at the U.S. Department of Education has created numerous problems for the PSLF program, denying many eligible participants the loan forgiveness they have earned. In fact, a recent GAO report found that only 1 percent of eligible PSLF applicants obtained loan forgiveness. To make matters worse, Secretary Betsy DeVos and the Education Department under President Donald Trump have found several ways to undermine the PSLF program by failing to provide clear, consistent and accurate information to borrowers and failing to conduct meaningful oversight of loan servicers…. To address this crisis, I recently introduced the What You Can Do for Your Country Act with my colleague, U.S. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier. This bill would take a number of important steps to shore up the PSLF program and ensure that public servants receive the student loan debt relief they have earned…. We must honor America’s teachers, service members, public defenders, social workers and community health care workers. The What You Can Do For Your Country Act delivers on Washington's original promise to ease the burden of student debt for those who choose public service.