Durbin: We're Finally Making Good On Our Promise To Forgive Public Servants' Student Debt

Durbin applauds Biden Administration’s efforts to improve Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today spoke in support of the Biden Administration’s recently announced changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. The U.S. Department of Education projects that the changes will immediately eliminate the debt of 22,000 borrowers and result in a reduction in the amount of additional time more than 550,000 borrowers are required to make payments before qualifying for forgiveness. The long overdue changes come after Durbin relentlessly advocated for revisiting the PSLF Program’s procedures during the Trump Administration.

“In 2007, Congress made a promise to college students. Here’s what we said 14 years ago. If you will give us 10 years of your life in public service and you make your student loan payments during that 10 year period of time, at the end of it, America will forgive the remainder of your student debt…More than a million people took us up on the promise,” said Durbin. “They passed up perhaps higher salaries and more lucrative professions in order to service the country. Then they discovered at the end of the ten year period that the loan forgiveness they were promised wasn’t coming.”

Durbin explained that nearly 99 percent of PSLF Program applicants, including military service members, were denied debt relief because of clerical errors or loan-servicing mistakes during the Trump Administration. Under the revised PSLF Program, service members whose loans were deferred during active duty will now have those periods of active duty service applied toward their loan repayments.

“Those days of broken promises are over…The Education Department estimates that the changes will immediately erase the debt of 22,000 borrowers – more than the total number of loans that have been forgiven so far under the program…I want to thank President Biden and Education Secretary Cardona for following through on their commitment to fix this important program and recognize the essential work of these public servants,” Durbin concluded.

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.

In July, Durbin joined his Democratic colleagues in urging Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to expand student debt relief and to make key improvements to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.