Press Release

December 20, 2021
Cardin, Van Hollen and Garamendi Urge U.S. Secretary of Education to Include Peace Corps Volunteers in new Student Loan Relief

Seeking Fix of New Temporary Waiver Period to Allow Public Student Loan Forgiveness Credit for Return Peace Corps Volunteers

WASHINGTON U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Chris Van Hollen  (D-Md.) and Congressman John Garamendi (D-Calif.) led a bicameral letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona urging the U.S. Department of Education to include returned Peace Corps volunteers in the Biden Administration’s recent improvements to the Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. The members were joined in sending the letter by over a dozen of their colleagues. Congressman Garamendi is the only returned Peace Corps volunteer currently serving in the U.S. House of Representatives and co-chairs the bipartisan Congressional Peace Corps Caucus.

On October 6, 2021, the Department announced reforms including a new temporary waiver period that allowed some borrowers to receive credit towards Public Student Loan Forgiveness for periods of public service that would have not previously qualified under the program. The newly available temporary waiver period fixed issues that prevented some public servants from receiving Public Student Loan Forgiveness credit during their service due to the repayment status of their student loans.

Unfortunately, returned Peace Corps volunteers, who had faced similar challenges in receiving the student loan relief that they were otherwise due, were not made eligible for the temporary waiver period and are precluded from having their service count through the adjustments to Public Student Loan Forgiveness.

In their letter to Secretary Cardona, Senators Cardin and Van Hollen and Rep. Garamendi said, “We strongly support your Department’s efforts to reform, strengthen, and expand the Public Student Loan Forgiveness Program, including the time-limited waivers for additional student borrowers announced on October 6, 2021. We simply request that you provide for current and returned Peace Corps volunteers by creating a new waiver or expanding current waivers to allow volunteers to credit their full service overseas towards PSLF or Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness, even if their federal student loans were placed into deferment or forbearance status during their service.”

The full text of their letter is available here.