Whitehouse and Padilla introduce bill to grant student loan forgiveness to frontline health workers

17.03.22

The Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Healthcare Workers Act recognizes the sacrifice and dedication of healthcare workers. The bill “is an important step, helping our frontline workers cope with their burden of student debt and continue their important work in our communities” – AFT’s Randi Weingarten

washington d.c. – Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Alex Padilla (D-CA) introduced the Student Debt Forgiveness for Frontline Healthcare Workers Act to forgive student loan debt for healthcare professionals. frontline healthcare. The legislation honors the sacrifice of healthcare workers and the enormous burden of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We owe our healthcare workers so much – something we have come to appreciate even more during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Whitehouse. “This bill honors the contributions of these public servants by helping them wipe the slate clean of student debt.

“Our brave frontline healthcare workers have fought tirelessly throughout the pandemic to keep our communities safe, often putting their own health at risk,” said Padilla. “Unfortunately, too many of these workers are burdened with crushing student debt, which is simply unacceptable. We must work to strengthen this essential workforce and ensure that we do not continue to face the staffing shortages that this pandemic has revealed. That’s why I’m co-leading the Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Healthcare Workers Act to forgive student loan debt for the very people who have been critical to our response and recovery.

The bill recognizes the service of healthcare workers who have made a significant contribution during the pandemic by canceling their current medical and vocational training loans. Healthcare professionals who have provided care to COVID-19 patients, performed medical research or vaccine testing, or built the capacity of the healthcare system to respond to this urgent crisis would be eligible.

“Nurses, healthcare technicians and other frontline healthcare professionals devote their careers to caring for others, often at the expense of their own personal safety, financial well-being and mental well-being and physical appearance of their own family,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. “During the COVID crisis, in particular, they have worked tirelessly to save lives and provide comfort and care during a national emergency. But healthcare degrees and training for those careers come at a high cost, and as the demands on frontline healthcare workers continue to grow, these heroes deserve more than thanks and prayers. The Student Debt Forgiveness for Frontline Health Care Workers Act is an important step, helping our frontline workers cope with the burden of their student debt and continue their important work in our communities.

The law project:

  • Directs the Department of Education to create a program to cancel outstanding federal loans for frontline health care workers, and the Department of the Treasury, in consultation with the Department of Education, to create a program to cancel private loans;
  • Excludes the amount of canceled loans from taxable income;
  • Establishes an open application process through an independent interagency board for individuals whose work may not meet the definition of “frontline health care worker” to apply for rebate eligibility. ready ;
  • Requires public notice of loan forgiveness program and processes to ensure awareness of potential applicants;
  • Sets no loan amount cap; and
  • Makes eligibility for loan forgiveness applicable to volunteers and paid employees.

press contact

Rich Davidson (White House), 202-300-2538

Tess Whittlesey (Padilla), (202) 224-3553



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