Is there any assistance or student loan forgiveness for first responders or front-line healthcare workers during the coronavirus pandemic?
There is not yet any specific loan forgiveness for front-line healthcare workers, but healthcare workers may be able to qualify for student loan forgiveness for doctors, student loan forgiveness for nurses or public service loan forgiveness.
However, there are a few legislative proposals which would provide student loan forgiveness for front-line healthcare workers. None of these legislative proposals have been reported out of committee, nor have they been incorporated into any other COVID-19 relief package, such as the Heroes Act.
Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act
There is a legislative proposal for student loan forgiveness for first responders and front-line healthcare workers, the Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act (H.R. 6720).
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12) introduced this legislation on May 5, 2020 in the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation would forgive the outstanding federal and private student loan debt of front-line healthcare workers who are treating patients with coronavirus. The loan forgiveness will be tax-free.
Front-line healthcare workers are defined in the legislation as including doctors, medical residents, medical interns, medical fellows, nurses, home healthcare workers, mental health professionals and emergency medical services workers. Laboratory workers involved in coronavirus testing and medical researchers who conduct research concerning the prevention, treatment and cure of coronavirus are also eligible.
Administrative staff who don’t treat or transport patients are not eligible. Veterinarians are not eligible.
Although the legislation has 20 cosponsors, it has not yet been reported out of committee.
The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) has endorsed the legislation.
Opportunities for Heroes Act of 2020
The Opportunities for Heroes Act of 2020 (H.R. 6699) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Anne Kuster (D-NH-2) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1) on May 5, 2020.
This legislation will provide up to $25,000 in student loan forgiveness for the federal and private student loans of an essential worker.
The bipartisan legislation has 39 cosponsors, but has not yet been reported out of committee.
Public Health Workforce Loan Repayment Act of 2020
The Public Health Workforce Loan Repayment Act of 2020 (H.R. 6578) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO-6) on April 21, 2020.
This legislation will provide up to $105,000 in student loan forgiveness for federal and private student loans of borrowers who have a public health or health professions degree or certificate and who have accepted employment with or are employed by a local, State or Tribal public health agency. U.S. citizenship is required.
The student loan forgiveness will be provided over a three-year period in exchange for a commitment to work for a qualified public health agency. The student loan forgiveness consists of annual payments of one-third of the eligible loan balance, up to a maximum of $35,000 per year, for three years.
Borrowers may receive an additional loan repayment incentive if they agree to relocate to a priority service area.
Additional payments will be made to cover the tax liability resulting from the loan repayments.