Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Wednesday proposed legislation that would make it even easier for government workers to have their student loan debt forgiven.
Blumenthal said the bill is needed to help people like teachers and "others who dedicate their careers to public service."
Teachers, like these educators from Illinois celebrating a new union contract, would have their student loan debt forgiven more quickly under a new Democratic bill. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch,Laurie Skrivan)
"Teachers, police officers, public health workers and other public servants should be applauded and supported — and not drowned in debt to pay for the degrees many such jobs require," he said.
Some public sector employees already get to have part of their student loans canceled under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. That program requires people to work in the government and make student loan payments for 10 years — after that, the rest of their loan is "forgiven."
But Blumenthal says that isn't good enough, and introduced a plan that would cancel part of workers' qualifying student loan debt after every two years.
"The current Public Service Loan Forgiveness program should be expanded — and made more flexible — to enable student debt to be worked down or off completely," he said. "My bill strengthens the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to ensure that it enables repayment assistance proportional to years of service. We should reward public service — particularly as the need for talented and dedicated public servants grows."
Specifically, his bill would forgive 15 percent of a government worker's student loan after just two years. After two more years, another 15 percent would be canceled.
After six years of working in the public sector, another 20 percent would be forgiven, followed by another 20 percent after eight years. Ten years into the job, the remaining 30 percent would be canceled.