APA has endorsed legislation that aims to lower the cost of federal student loans and make education more affordable for many doctoral psychology students. The bicameral Bank on Students Coronavirus Emergency Loan Refinancing Act (H.R. 7449/S. 4141), would allow both federal and private student loan borrowers to refinance their loans at the new, historically low interest rates that went into effect on July 1. The new interest rates are 4.14 percent for graduate unsubsidized loans, 5.14 percent for Grad PLUS loans, and 2.59 percent for undergraduate loans. The bills would also provide current federal benefits and protections to borrowers who refinance their private loans and ensure that any refinanced loans remain eligible for repayment programs, such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Lowering interest rates and allowing for an option to refinance are among APA’s COVID-related higher education recommendations.
APA continues to advocate for various provisions in upcoming COVID-19 relief legislation that would benefit both current students and borrowers in repayment. This includes expanding eligibility and duration of the emergency federal student loan deferment period; waiving certain requirements that would prevent some borrowers in public service from receiving emergency benefits associated with PSLF; and increasing access to broadband for low-income college students who are distance learning due to COVID-19. Lastly, APA continues to build further support for the Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act (H.R. 6720), which would forgive the student loan debt of front-line health workers, including psychologists.