Tester Bill to Protect Montanans Seeking Student Loan Forgiveness Signed Into Law

Senator’s legislation will prevent penalization for missing student loan payments during the COVID-19 pandemic

U.S. Senator Jon Tester is announcing that the coronavirus relief package, signed into law by President Trump last week, included his bill to ensure that those working to qualify for Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) will not lose eligibility if they miss payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With many of Montana’s public servants braving the front lines of this pandemic, it would be completely out of line to penalize them for missing a student loan payment when they’re risking their lives to keep folks healthy,” said Tester. “The way I see it, this bill was a no-brainer, and I’m glad that our teachers, nurses, and first responders working to qualify for loan forgiveness can rest a little easier.”

PSLF, and its 2018 expansion, provide debt relief to Americans who agree to work in public service as teachers, firefighters, nurses, and nonprofits for ten years. To qualify for PSLF, applicants must work for ten years for a qualifying employer and make 120 qualifying payments. PSLF is also a critical tool for rural employers who want to recruit recent graduates to fill jobs in their communities.

Tester fought to include additional protections for student loan borrowers in the COVID-19 stimulus legislation, including a deferral on federal student loan payments until October as the country weathers the pandemic.

He has also led efforts in Congress to strengthen education and PSLF benefits for Montanans. Last year, he urged Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to better implement the program, and blasted her following revelations that she blocked the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from gathering data about student loans.

Tester has been working tirelessly to ensure that Montana is prepared to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, after 72 hours negotiating substantial, bipartisan improvements to COVID-19 stimulus legislation that had previously fallen far short, Tester voted to deliver critical, urgent relief to Montana workers, families, small businesses, hospitals and others hardest hit by the outbreak.

Visit tester.senate.gov/coronavirusresouces for a list of resources for Montanans during the COVID-19 outbreak