October 06, 2021

Praising New Student Debt Relief Action, Cardin Urges More Support for Future Public Service Careers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) applauded the Biden administration for streamlining the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program for more than half a million public servants, including teachers, military service members, federal workers and others. According to the Department of Education, more than 99.6 percent of initial PSLF applicants were denied loan forgiveness despite having met the 10 years of service requirements.

“The federal student loan forgiveness program has been complex and convoluted for many years. President Biden finally is streamlining debt relief for public servants, which we have been trying to do for years,” said Senator Cardin. “No individual willing to serve their community should be denied benefits that Congress promised in exchange for 10 years of public service. We need to continue knocking down financial barriers that have discouraged minorities, first-generation students and low-income students from pursuing critical public service careers.” 

The Department’s announcement today makes the following improvements to the PSLF program:

  • Implementing a Limited PSLF Waiver to count all prior payments made by student borrowers towards PSLF, regardless of loan program;
  • Automatically help service members and other federal employees qualify for PSLF;
  • Review Denied PSLF Applications and Identify and Correct Errors in PSLF Processing; and
  • Simply the PSLF Application progress.

In July, Cardin joined more than 20 Senate colleagues in a letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona asking for the Department of Education to expand student debt relief for federal borrowers and to simplify the process.

Senator Cardin is the author of the Strengthening American Communities Act that would transform public service loan forgiveness by advancing funds to students willing to commit three years to public service, rather than forcing them to take out costly student loans. It also would accelerate the existing Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to provide debt relief for every two years of service.

The waivers provided by the Department of Education will last for one year until October 31, 2022. Click here for information on how to apply for the new waiver and additional information on the changes to support our hard working public servants.