Bills Introduced to Make Forgiving Student Loan Debt Easier, Offer 0% Interest Rates

A trio of bills have been introduced in the Senate aimed at making student loan debt more easily forgiven and more easily repaid. The bills were all introduced in the past week by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse [D-R.I.]. Two of the bills are aimed at amending the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and the third bill would allow individuals to refinance their student loans at 0% interest.

S.4342 and S.4345 are the bills aimed at amending the PSLF program and to create a new forgiveness program. S. 4344 is the bill creating a temporary program to allow student loans to be refinanced.

The bills aimed at amending the PSLF program — which allows individuals working in certain public service positions, like teachers, to have their student loan debts forgiven if certain conditions are met — would make it easier for those eligible for the program to have their debts forgiven. The number of payments needed to be made, for example, would be reduced to 60 payments during a five-year span from its current level of 120 payments during a 10-year span.

S.4344 — as well as a companion bill that was introduced by Rep. Joe Courtney in the House of Representatives — would allow anyone with an eligible federal student loan to refinance their student loans to 0% interest through the end of 2024. All direct loan holders would be automatically refinanced, if the bill were to be enacted.

“Big student loan interest payments can create a treadmill of debt that many Americans can’t escape,” Sen. Whitehouse said in a statement. “Those interest payments often stand between borrowers and the financial freedom to focus on the future, whether it’s buying a home, saving for retirement, or investing in their children. This bill will help people pay off their loans more quickly and get on with their lives.”

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