Padilla Cosponsors Legislation to Expand Federal Loan Forgiveness for Educators

Bill helps address educator shortages across the country and increases children’s access to a diverse and well-prepared educator workforce

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla joined Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) along with Representatives Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.) and Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.) to introduce the Loan Forgiveness for Educators Act of 2022 to expand the federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness program. The bill helps address educator shortages across the country and increases children’s access to a diverse and well-prepared educator workforce. Under the provisions of the bill, the federal government would make monthly federal student loan payments for educators serving in early childhood education programs and high-need public schools and completely forgive any outstanding debt after five years of service.

The legislation ensures that, in addition to teachers, school leaders and early childhood educators can access these benefits. It would also allow service under this program to concurrently count toward the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. These changes would help recruit and retain more educators and ensure more diverse candidates can afford comprehensive educator preparation programs, a key strategy to decrease shortages and help increase educator diversity in early childhood and K-12 education.

“Education is the key to bright futures for our nation’s children, yet educators throughout the country remain crippled by student loan debt,” said Senator Padilla. “By expanding access to student loan forgiveness for educators, we can ensure that students have access to the highest-quality education from teachers who represent the diversity of their communities. That’s why I am supporting this much needed legislation to address the shortage in our educator workforce and empower future educators to pursue a career in the classroom.”

“Educators are the foundation of our classrooms and child care centers—preparing the next generation of leaders and giving them the tools to be successful in life. But teachers, child care workers, and school leaders are faced with high costs of education and the financial burdens that follow, creating hurdles that have only contributed to workforce shortages impacting New Mexico and countless other states,” said Senator Luján. “That’s why I’m introducing legislation to improve the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program and empower a more prepared and diverse workforce to educate our students at every level. By strengthening and expanding this program, this bill will help increase educator recruitment and retention and ensure more children can access the quality education they deserve.”

Senator Padilla has been a consistent advocate for students and student borrowers and has urged the President to provide meaningful student debt cancellation, who recently took action to eliminate up to $20,000 in federal student debt per borrower. Padilla cosponsored a resolution calling on President Biden to use his authority under the Higher Education Act to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt for federal student loan borrowers. Padilla also cosponsored the College for All Act to make college tuition-free and debt-free for working families and introduced the Basic Assistance for Students in College (BASIC) Act to ensure college students are able to meet their basic needs while pursuing their education.

A list of 50 organizations that endorsed the Loan Forgiveness for Educators Act of 2022 can be found here.

A summary of the bill can be found here.

Full text of the bill is available here.


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