Higher education costs and debt are continuing to grow, weighing heavily on new lawyers in legal aid and public service and creating a new access to justice challenge. The federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program and several income-based repayment (IBR) programs for federally backed student loans have made these legal careers viable for thousands of dedicated lawyers who otherwise would have to take a different path due to the financial challenges.
The CBF has long prioritized these programs in our advocacy efforts as a critical part of recruiting and retaining dedicated lawyers who play a key role in access to justice here and throughout the country. Over the past two years, we have been working with legislators and other partners to incorporate these programs into a more comprehensive solution to our nation’s student debt crisis.
Congress this year will be considering reauthorization of the federal Higher Education Act, which among other things will address student debt and related issues. The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) recently requested public comments for consideration, and the CBF submitted our initial recommendations for resolving the student debt crisis in a comprehensive and sustainable way that preserves these critical loan repayment and forgiveness programs.
You can read our Senate submission here, and we welcome your feedback as we look forward to advocating for these issues this Spring and beyond.