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Boyle, Costello Pass Bill to Provide Public Service Loan Forgiveness to those Disqualified for Paying Too Much

March 23, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, a bipartisan measure authored by Congressmen Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA-13) and Ryan Costello (R-PA-6), Co-Chairs of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Caucus, to fix a glitch in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program was signed into law as part of the Omnibus Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2018.  The PSLF Technical Corrections Act, H.R. 4399, will relieve a significant financial burden for those who thought they were enrolled in the PSLF program to reduce the burden of their student loan debt after 120 on-time student loan payments during full-time public service employment – but mistakenly enrolled in repayment plans that caused them to pay more than the PSLF program would have required.  Under current law, they would be disqualified from the program.  Now that key provisions of H.R. 4399 have been enacted, they will be grandfathered into the program so long as the Department of Education verifies they did not pay less than the program required, and they otherwise fulfilled all of the program’s requirements.

The PLSF program forgives the balance of federal student loans for public servants like teachers, social workers, and law enforcement after years of service and timely repayment.  Congress established the program in 2007 to help public servants pursue sometimes lower-paying careers serving their communities despite the crippling burden of student debt.  The program allows borrowers to erase the balance of their student debt after working for a nonprofit or government employer for 10 years and making 120 qualifying loan payments.  Due to complex program requirements, some borrowers believe they are making qualifying payments under the program only to find out that in fact they are not, as profiled in the New York Times.

“The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is an investment in public servants who dedicate their careers to serving their fellow Americans despite financial obstacles,” said Congressman Boyle.  “It creates an incentive to draw top-talent into the ranks of public service and offers a path out from the crushing burden of student debt.  It was wrong to disqualify individuals who did everything right except paying the federal government more than they had to.  I am proud to have led the fight for this correction as a matter of fundamental fairness, and will continue to combat efforts to limit or end PSLF.  We should be providing every lifeline we can to hardworking individuals faithfully repaying their loans – especially those dutifully serving their communities in public service careers – not imposing bureaucratic barriers.”

“Many teachers, first responders, and law enforcement officers are working hard to make a difference in their communities and also working towards student loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program,” said Congressman Costello. “In some instances, borrowers are making good-faith payments toward PSLF while unknowingly enrolled in a plan that does not qualify. Our public servants should not be penalized for administrative glitches that were no fault of their own, and I am glad to see provisions from our legislation enacted so that loan forgiveness these borrowers have been working toward will be honored.”

Congressmen Boyle and Costello serve as Co-Chairs of the bipartisan Public Service Loan Forgiveness Caucus in the House which is leading the charge to preserve this program from efforts to terminate it.