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Following Push by Kaine to Fix Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, Over 20,000 Virginians Receive Student Loan Relief

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following a push by U.S. Senator Tim Kaine to fix the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it has approved a total of $42 billion in Public Service Loan Forgiveness for more than 615,000 borrowers, including over $1.3 billion in relief for more than 20,000 Virginia public servants, since October 2021. The PSLF program provides America’s teachers, servicemembers, police, firefighters, and other public servants with needed student loan relief, but administrative errors and eligibility gaps had previously resulted in 98 percent of all public servants who have applied for relief being denied. That’s why Kaine and his colleagues have pushed for changes to improve the PSLF program. Kaine’s advocacy resulted in temporary relief that made it easier for borrowers to reach forgiveness, which enabled these 20,000 Virginia public servants to receive relief.

“America’s teachers, firefighters, and other public servants devote their careers to serving our communities, and they deserve access to the relief that they’ve earned,” said Kaine. “I’m so glad that over 20,000 Virginians were able to receive needed student loan relief thanks to my efforts to temporarily expand the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. I’m going to keep pushing for my bill to make more long-term fixes to the PSLF program, as well as other legislation to ease the burden of student loan debt and make higher education more affordable.”

In May 2021, Kaine, along with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Representative John Sarbanes (D-MD-03), called on the Administration to strengthen the PSLF program and fix eligibility barriers and program restrictions that excluded certain first responders, teachers, public health workers, and other public servants from needed student loan relief. In October 2021, Kaine applauded the U.S. Department of Education’s announcement that it would temporarily expand eligible loans and qualifying payment plans for borrowers, eliminate barriers for servicemembers and federal employees, and improve outreach to eligible PSLF applicants.

Kaine has introduced legislation to overhaul the PSLF program and help guarantee millions of public service professionals qualify for student loan forgiveness. In 2018, Kaine successfully passed a provision based on his legislation to allow loan forgiveness for public service borrowers who ended up in the wrong repayment plan.

The PSLF program was created by Congress in 2007 to encourage more students to enter public service by providing loan forgiveness after 10 years of working full-time for a federal, state, local, or tribal government organization or certain nonprofit organizations.

Kaine has long supported efforts to lower student loan debt and make higher education more affordable by increasing Pell Grant awards, expanding Pell Grant eligibility to job training programs, providing financial counseling to students and their families on the front-end, expanding dual enrollment and early college high school programs, and making it easier to transfer from community colleges to four-year schools.