Back in 2007, Congress made a simple promise to student-loan borrowers: Stick with a public-service career for 10 years, making monthly payments along the way, and we’ll forgive the rest of your debt.
Now, as the bill gets closer to coming due, a growing chorus of analysts and observers is asking: Was that the right promise to make?
At issue is a program known as Public Service Loan Forgiveness. The program, included in the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, is an attempt to fight two problems at once: ballooning student-loan debt and a scarcity of graduates serving the public good.
At least, that’s the thinking. And it’s been the thinking behind loan forgiveness for quite a while. Since 1958, when Congress created the first such program—to forgive the loan debts of teachers—lawmakers have offered loan forgiveness to people working in a wide variety of fields, including military-service members, doctors working on American Indian reservations, even large-animal veterinarians and U.S. Capitol police officers. <Read more.>