The AFT and CFT applauded President Biden’s plan announce August 24 to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for some borrowers and extend the pandemic pause on loan repayment.
AFT President Randi Weingarten in a press release said, “Today, millions of Americans can breathe easier knowing that some of the crushing burden of student loan debt has been lifted. Make no mistake—this is a transformative action that will change countless lives.”
In 2018, Jessica Saint-Paul, who has a doctorate in medical science and teaches public health and health occupation courses at Southwest and Trade Tech colleges, attended a benefits conference put on by her local, the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild. They covered Public Service Loan Forgiveness, a federal program that promised if you worked in public service for 10 years and made 120 payments, the remainder of your loan would be forgiven.
After years of pressure and lawsuits from AFT and other advocates, the U.S. Department of Education recently announced sweeping changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program that will make it easier to qualify and easier to achieve forgiveness.
Just as the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted public education, so too did it impact the California Legislature and CFT’s legislative goals.
What would normally have been a rigorous six-month period to discuss the state budget and legislation, was reduced to two virtual sessions, one running from May 4 to June 19, and the other from July 27 to August 31. This forced the Legislature, which was slated to hear and discuss some 2,390 bills, to shelve consideration of any bills not deemed related to the pandemic, wildfires, and affordable housing.
Governor Newsom signed CFT co-sponsored AB 376, the Student Borrower Bill of Rights, on Friday, September 25. This critical piece of legislation will bring much-needed reforms to the student loan market and regulate the private sector companies that service both federal and private student loans for California borrowers.
Budgetarily, it’s been a tough year for winning greater gains for part-timers in Sacramento, but with regard to legislation which CFT succeeded in getting to the governor’s desk, and for legislation already in the wings for next year, part-timers are on the edge of good things.
Update: The governor signed AB 463 into law on October 4, 2019.
Presently working its way through the Assembly, AB 463, Cervantes, D-Riverside, seeks to make it easier for California part-time community college instructors to gain eligibility for the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
Last year, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) made headlines with his “Adjunct Faculty Loan Fairness Act,” a bill that would have made it much easier for part-time faculty to benefit from the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, designed to encourage graduates to pursue a career in public service by offering loan forgiveness for those working full-time in government or the non-profit sector.
Watching Default: The Student Loan Documentary, movie viewers feel the emotion when a borrower chokes up talking about how he can’t ask the woman he loves to marry him because he wouldn’t want her to share the burden of his debt.