Sarbanes Efforts to Improve PSLF Program Result in Biden Administration Overhaul

Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) applauded the Biden Administration today following an announcement it will overhaul the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program over the next year and increase qualifying payments for potentially as many as 550,000 borrowers who have previously consolidated loans.

As the author of the law creating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, Congressman Sarbanes has long advocated for reforming the program to fully honor its promises to the nation’s public servants whose careers, while rewarding and important, typically offer lower pay and fewer benefits than private sector careers.

“This announcement is welcome news for first responders, teachers, social workers, service members, community health care workers and all public service workers who have been vital to our communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “PSLF was designed to thank public servants by providing them with a pathway to loan forgiveness, but many eligible public servants encountered glitches, bottlenecks, frustration and confusion that have prevented them from participating in the program. For years, I have been pushing for reforms, and I am pleased the Biden Administration has committed to making improvements that will provide for easier navigation, more transparency and greater accessibility. I believe these changes put us one step closer to the overdue thank you public servants deserve.”

U.S. Department of Education today announced it will begin implementing changes in the weeks and months ahead that will make 22,000 borrowers who have consolidated loans – including those previously ineligible – eligible for $1.74 billion in forgiveness without further action. Another 27,000 borrowers could potentially qualify for an additional $2.82 billion in forgiveness upon certifying additional periods of employment.

This announcement follows the calls of Congressman Sarbanes and many Democrats in Congress to improve the program. In May, Congressman Sarbanes and Senators Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) led more than 50 colleagues in calling on the Biden Administration to simplify the program, provide greater transparency and ensure that all public servants receive the student loan forgiveness for which they are eligible.

Many of the changes included in the overhaul reflect those proposed in the What You Can Do for Your Country Act, which Congressman Sarbanes introduced in the 116th Congress.

See here for more about the U.S. Department of Education’s announcement.