U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer joined education advocates Wednesday in urging the federal departments of Education and Labor to work harder spreading the word about a vast loan-forgiveness program that will likely apply to thousands of public-sector workers.
Teachers, cops, firefighters, state workers and nonprofit employees will be eligible for a break if they are aware of the program and meet the guidelines, the New York Democrat said.
“Very few people know about it,” Schumer said during a phone conference to tout the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007, which was designed to ease the financial burden of repaying mortgage-size college debts.
In particular, Schumer noted that those who work for the public sector or nonprofits can have their loans forgiven after making 120 payments, or 10 years.
Because that particular plan started in 2007, it would take effect in 2017 for most eligible people, experts say.
Schumer’s comments come amid a push to publicize the program as well as a related “pay-as-you-earn” plan that limits payments in some cases to 15 percent of an individual’s income. “There is clearly a need for more outreach,” said Lauren Asher, president of the Institute for College Access & Success, which works to make colleges more affordable.
And Laura Anglin, president of the state Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, said she welcomed Schumer’s efforts to publicize the program.