The Student Bar Association Senate passed a resolution declaring its support for the continuation and improvement of the federal government’s student loan forgiveness program at a meeting Tuesday.
The senate issued a joint resolution to express its support for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, passed by Congress in 2007 to relieve all student debt for workers employed in public service for at least 10 years. The U.S. Department of Education had announced in July that it is requesting information to address public workers’ issues with the programs, and officials opened a portal for institutions and individuals to submit public comments to identify how to improve the program.
SBA President Jordan Michel said opening up the PSLF program for public comment should have been initiated long ago since the program has been failing since its onset.
“The program essentially says that after 10 years of working in a public service job, you will get your loans forgiven,” he said. “It doesn’t quite work that simply. It’s really 120 payments and if you defer payment or miss a payment or anything happens in between that, it either resets or pushes back your clock.”
Michel said this resolution resonates with him because he plans to go into public service, and the program could benefit GW students who go into the public sector.
About 98 percent of public service workers do not receive student loan forgiveness because student loan companies mismanage students’ loans, according to the legislation. A report published by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in June highlighted how loaners have misinformed borrowers on the program, resulting in the borrower taking missteps in repaying their loans.
Senators approved a resolution to thank all University staff members for continuing their work during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure students could continue to receive a quality experience amid the virtual environment. The legislation states that staff provided “consistent” emotional support and guidance while the students remained online.
“Staff and employees are a core pillar of the GW Law School community thanks not only to the hard work they regularly perform but also because of the many genuine friendships that exist between law school staff and law school students,” the resolution states.
The senate also passed legislation to amend its bylaws to clarify the relationship between the SBA and student representatives to “external bodies” like GW Law faculty committees. The legislation also provides a standardized procedure for the conduct of all potential future committees to faculty or administrative bodies.
Tara Suter contributed reporting.