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Rep. Sweeney's HB 521 receives first hearing in House Higher Education Committee

Legislation would arm public servants with information, leverage existing federal programs for student debt forgiveness
May 19, 2020
Bride Rose Sweeney News

COLUMBUS- State Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) today announced that House Bill (HB) 521, her legislation to require the Chancellor of Higher Education to create and distribute informational materials to public service organizations regarding federal student loan forgiveness programs, received a first hearing in the Ohio House Higher Education Committee.

“We have a student debt crisis in America, and Ohio struggles with one of the highest default rates on student loans in the nation. [1] This legislation is just one small step that removes an informational barrier,” said Rep. Sweeney. “We owe it to these borrowers to inform them of this option and arm them with concise, accurate information while encouraging public service.”

House Bill 521 specifies that four simple materials be created and published online: a letter notifying public employees about loan forgiveness eligibility requirements, a fact sheet outlining loan forgiveness programs, a document with frequently asked questions, as well as any relevant document published by a federal agency and determined by the Chancellor. HB 521 would also require public service organizations to post these informational materials on their premises and provide them to employees. It would alleviate confusion about eligibility requirements and chip away at the information barrier that these public programs face.

Since 2019, about 179,ooo people have applied for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program across the United States. Only about 3,000 public servants saw their applications approved.

HB 521 now awaits additional hearings in the House Higher Education Committee.