APA is endorsing legislation that provides student loan forgiveness for psychologists working to address the effects of COVID-19. The Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act (H.R. 2418), reintroduced on April 8 by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), would forgive the federal and private student loan debt of front-line health workers, including psychologists, who are providing care for those impacted by COVID-19 or conducting research related to the pandemic. This loan forgiveness would apply to paid and volunteer workers, including current trainees, interns, fellows, and current students, who served for any period during the qualifying emergency related to COVID-19. APA worked with Rep. Maloney’s staff to add language in the bill explicitly stating that “behavioral health interns or fellows” and “health service researchers” are eligible.
“The American Psychological Association applauds Congresswoman Maloney for introducing this critical legislation that aims to provide a much-needed economic benefit to front-line health care workers, including psychologists, caring for those affected by COVID-19 or conducting research related to the pandemic,” said Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, CEO, American Psychological Association. “Psychologists strive to deliver the best care possible to their patients, including during the pandemic, when demands for their services continue to increase. However, it cannot be ignored that earning a doctoral degree in psychology requires a significant economic investment, including incurring a substantial debt burden over a period of many years. The Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act would provide added economic security at a time when it is most needed, while also helping to address the shortage of mental health care providers in some parts of our country.”
Additionally, APA joined 96 student, consumer, public interest, higher education, public health, workforce, professional, military, and faith organizations calling on the Department of Education to conduct a review of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, to seek input from public service workers on how to improve the program, and to cancel the federal student loan debt of any public service worker who has been in repayment for at least 10 years.
For more information, contact Kenneth Polishchuk.