The Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act of 2020
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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Congress is gearing up for another relief package, while additional bills have been introduced that assist health care workers who are on the frontlines of this national emergency in an effort to include these measures in any legislative package moving forward this month.
As noted in an April 1 blog posting, Congress has provided some relief for those with federal student loans. However, APTA continues to advocate and support other proposals to provide additional relief for student loan borrowers.
On May 5, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., introduced H.R. 6720 The Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act of 2020. This bill would forgive public and private student loans to health care workers who are on the front line in response to COVID-19. The bill does the following:
- Creates a program that forgives student loan debt acquired while receiving medical and professional training for health care workers.
- Applies to public and private loans accrued in undergraduate, graduate, or licensing programs.
- Loan forgiveness is not counted as taxable income.
- Eligible to any "health care professional who is licensed, registered, or certified under federal or state law to provide health care and has made significant contributions to the medical response to the qualifying emergency. " Section 9(1)(b)
- Eligible health care services include "treatment of the coronavirus,” assessment or “care of a patient suspected of having the coronavirus,” or patient care in a “setting with risk of exposure to coronavirus. " Section 9(4)
- Providing services through telehealth is included in this bill.
Physical therapists and physical therapist assistants working to end this pandemic would be eligible for this student debt relief, and APTA strongly supports H.R. 6720 The Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act of 2020 for inclusion in the next COVID relief package.
Addressing student debt burden and loan repayment challenges remains a top priority for APTA. APTA has advocated to Congress to have physical therapists participate in student loan forgiveness programs, such as the National Health Service Corps, and APTA's Financial Solutions Center offers valuable tools and information to help members make the best financial decisions possible.
Want to make your voice heard and advocate for your profession and patients? APTA offers a variety of ways and assistance to get involved in advocacy efforts that affect the profession and physical therapy patients. Learn more and take action today!
David Scala, Senior Specialist, APTA Congressional Affairs