New legislation aims to cancel student debt for healthcare workers on the front line of COVID-19

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney in Long Island City on April 5, 2019. (Photo by Mark Hallum)

A new piece of legislation aims to relieve healthcare workers on the front line of coronavirus response efforts of their student debt.

Called the Student Debt Forgiveness for Frontline Health Care Workers Act, the legislation plans to eliminate graduate school debt for health care workers who are providing direct patient care in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The legislation would apply to recent graduates as well as more experienced providers who are still paying off their student loans. Eligibility would extend to nurses, doctors and other health care professionals who have already been treating COVID-19 patients or have shifted from other specialties to support the effort.

The act will be introduced by Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney, who hopes that the legislation will help attract medical professionals in various specialties to lend their expertise to the response to COVID-19. 

“Medical professionals in hospitals and other medical settings are operating in extraordinarily difficult and dangerous circumstances to provide care for critically ill COVID-19 patients and protect our communities,” said Maloney in a statement. “New York City has been hit particularly hard in the pandemic, and many other areas of the country are beginning to experience surges in patients with COVID-19 symptoms, putting great stress on health care institutions and their employees. The least we can do to recognize their service is to forgive their graduate student loan debt so that they are not forced to worry about their financial wellbeing in addition to their health and the health of their families while they respond to a public health emergency.”