SCVNews.com | County to Proclaim August 2022 Student Loan Debt Awareness Month

At the upcoming August 9 meeting, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is expected to proclaim August as Student Debt Awareness Month.

The motion submitted by supervisors Hilda L. Solis is part of the meeting consent schedule, which is a set of motions approved or denied with a single vote.

Although some calendar motions may be withdrawn for discussion, they are generally approved as a block.

Below is the full motion submitted by Supervisor Solis:

Nearly four million Californians have more than $145 billion in student loan debt, and the average student today graduates with more than $38,530 in student loan debt. Black and Latino borrowers disproportionately take out more student loans than other populations to access higher education and frequently experience higher delinquency and default rates.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, in Los Angeles, borrowers from majority-minority ZIP codes have higher percentages of those in default than borrowers from majority-white ZIP codes. In addition, two-thirds of total national student debt is held by women, who make up only 57% of total higher education enrollment, and black women accrue more student debt over the course of their studies. undergraduate than any other group.

This debt burden is compounded by the fact that there is a great lack of information that too often prevents student borrowers from knowing about and accessing federal programs that could help them manage their student debt. These federal programs offer affordable repayment options and full debt forgiveness opportunities.

The Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) was created to provide public service workers with federal student debt relief in exchange for a decade of public service.

The PSLF program is designed to support individuals in life-saving public service jobs in sectors such as nonprofits, social services, healthcare, law enforcement, government at all levels and other public service professions. Since its inception, the PSLF program has suffered from multiple problems, including a lack of awareness among eligible borrowers, processing errors, and failure to provide correct information about program guidelines.

On October 6, 2021, the United States Department of Education revised the PSLF program for a limited time, offering previously ineligible borrowers a limited PSLF waiver to receive loan forgiveness credit for their years of work in public service. Borrowers have until October 31, 2022 to apply for this limited PSLF waiver. We encourage employees and voters to review the eligibility criteria before the October 31, 2022 deadline.

Earlier this year, in response to a motion drafted by Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, the Human Resources and Consumer and Business Departments launched an outreach campaign to educate county employees and our contracted partners on the civil service loan cancellation program. Efforts included posting information on the county’s intranet site, engaging and training the department, and working with the state’s Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, which is the lead government efforts for this program.

Since the awareness campaign was launched, interest from county employees has increased, with more than 25,000 employees viewing campaign materials distributed countywide by the Department of Human Resources. This month, the California State Legislature will vote on two resolutions, HR 118 (Bonta) and SR 96 (Limón), to proclaim August as “Student Debt Awareness Month” in the entire state of California.

As part of Student Debt Awareness Month, a statewide awareness campaign called The California Student Debt Challenge will begin, led by the Campaign for California’s Borrowers’ Rights, a diverse coalition at the statewide from more than 80 organizations across the state.

The California Student Debt Challenge, launched in August, urges all employers, especially public service employers and state agencies, to engage in raising awareness and informing employees of the California Student Debt Program. civil service administered by the federal government and the time-limited exemption from the PSLF. It is imperative that we help public service workers access loan forgiveness who contribute greatly to our communities and have sacrificed so much during the pandemic.

THEREFORE, I MOVE that the Board of Supervisors: 1. Proclaim August 2022 as “Student Loan Debt Awareness Month” throughout Los Angeles County; 2. Assign the Director of the Human Resources Department to lead the county by joining the “California Student Debt Challenge”; and 3. Direct the Director of the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs to continue to encourage residents to learn about the federal program, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and to apply for the limited waiver, if applicable.


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