LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, First District, released the following statement after the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved her motion on creating an awareness campaign for federal and state student loan forgiveness programs:
“Given that the U.S. Department of Education has recently set forward a number of actions that will restore the promise of Public Services Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) through a limited waiver that will end on October 1, 2022, making County employees and eligible community members aware of this news is critical. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the lives of our constituents and County employees, including financial burdens. To that end, my hope is that through this motion our County workforce and residents learn about how these programs provide invaluable opportunities to reduce or eliminate their student debt.”
County employees are eligible for the PSLF program if they have worked at the County for the required number of years and have qualifying loans. Additionally, residents who work for nonprofit agencies are also eligible for these programs. However, despite being eligible, many are not aware of the programs.
The Education Data Initiative reports that, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), there are 3.2 million new student loan borrowers, and that along with a spike in unemployment, we are witnessing the largest increase in the total student loan debt since 2013. This is certainly true in California, where Californians owe the largest cumulative student loan debt: 3.86 million Californians, or 9.8% of the State’s population, have some form of student debt; the total amount of student loan debt in California is $142.7 billion; 53.4% of student loan borrowers are under the age of 35. Additionally, a growing body of research points to startling inequality in the debt burdens carried by minorities, an inequality that in many cases was further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The motion approved today directs the County’s Department of Human Resources in collaboration with the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs and its Center for Financial Empowerment to create an awareness campaign to educate employees and constituents on loan forgiveness programs and return with recommendations in 60 days on how to implement the campaign.
To view the full motion, click here.