Maloney Joins Health Care Professionals, Union Leaders, and Educators to Introduce Bill to Forgive Student Loans for COVID-19 Frontline Health Workers

Apr 8, 2021
Press Release

New York, NY - Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney joined health care professionals, union leaders, and educators to re-introduce her Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act. The bill will alleviate the burden of student loan debt resulting from medical/professional healthcare training for frontline health workers who have made significant contributions to the ongoing health response against COVID-19.


“I don’t need to remind anyone of the fear and uncertainty during those first few months of the pandemic, as the disease ravaged our communities and overwhelmed our hospitals,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “While the majority of New York City was told that the best way to help was to stay home, our city’s frontline healthcare workers exposed themselves and risked their health – and their families’ health – every single day in order to save lives. Being a frontline health worker during this pandemic meant that every day was life-or-death. Yet, they had no reprieve. These healthcare workers should not have to worry about their financial stability and be struggling to pay down their debt while fighting on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. And so today, I am reintroducing the Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act. I hope that this bill will be a steppingstone to student loan debt cancellation for all. If we can garner widespread support for this legislation, and therefore recognition of the immense financial and mental strain student loan debt can inflict, that is huge step forward for broader student debt forgiveness.”


"Since the COVID outbreak began, nurses and other healthcare professionals have proven to be our most valuable resource in fighting the pandemic. As these frontline workers heroically provide care at the bedside of critically ill patients, their service should be recognized,” said Eileen Sullivan-Marx, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean of the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and President of the American Academy of Nursing. “Providing loan forgiveness to nurses on the front lines would alleviate their financial burdens and acknowledge their sacrifice during this unprecedented time."


“After risking our lives without adequate PPE, working in the severely understaffed state, and suffering the trauma of making life and death decisions precisely because we did not have enough caregivers, functioning in an environment that even before COVID  was severely underfunded, to then be faced with college debt and the conscionable interest that goes along with it is beyond acceptable.  College debt has become an albatross around the necks of students and the workers they become.  This bill is a start to address this egregious situation,” said  Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, RN, President, New York State Nurses Association.


"As resident physicians, CIR members across the country have experienced a dangerous and traumatizing year. Along with our fellow healthcare workers, we have risked our lives, and continue to do so, braving the Covid frontlines to provide care to our communities. We have seen more death in a short time than any of us ever imagined when we chose to become doctors. With an average physician student debt of $241,000, we have also done all this while the debilitating burden of our student loans hang over us. CM Maloney’s bill means many things to us healthcare workers. It is relief so we can breathe easier while we take care of our patients. It is recognition for the work we're doing to pull our country out of this crisis. It is appreciation for our sacrifices over the course of the pandemic. While the work continues to fully address the broad student debt crisis and the system that created it, this is an important step in the right direction and we thoroughly applaud CM Maloney’s leadership and efforts," said Dr. Keriann Shalvoy, President,Committee of Interns and Residents Service Employees International Union.


“Due to this pandemic, nurses, and all healthcare professionals dealing with the crises, now must cope with debilitating burdens, emotionally as well as physically. Crushing student loan debt shouldn’t be one of them,” said Eileen Toback, Executive Director, New York Professional Nurses Union.


"Congresswoman Maloney’s bill to forgive student loan debt would be a life-changing gift to thank our selfless and devoted healthcare heroes," said Dawn Feldthouse, Nurse, New York University.


“Nurses, health techs and other frontline healthcare professionals devote their careers to caring for others, often at the expense of their own personal safety, their financial wellbeing, and the mental and physical wellness of their own families,” said Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers. “During the COVID crisis, in particular, they have worked tirelessly to save lives and provide comfort and care during a national emergency. But healthcare degrees and training for these careers come at a high cost, and as the demands on frontline healthcare workers continue to grow, these heroes are deserving of more than thanks and prayers. The Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act is an important step, helping our frontline workers address their student debt burden and continue their important work in our communities.” ​


“The American Psychological Association applauds Congresswoman Maloney for introducing this critical legislation that aims to provide a much-needed economic benefit to frontline health care workers, including psychologists, caring for those affected by COVID-19 or conducting research related to the pandemic.” said Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, CEO, American Psychological Association. “Psychologists strive to deliver the best care possible to their patients, including during the pandemic, when demands for their services continue to increase. However, it cannot be ignored that earning a doctoral degree in psychology requires a significant economic investment, including incurring a substantial debt burden over a period of many years. The Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act would provide added economic security at a time when it is most needed, while also helping to address the shortage of mental health care providers in some parts of our country.”


The bill has been endorsed by American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), Weill Cornell Medicine, NYU Rory Meyers School of Nursing, American Psychological Association (APA), CIR/SEIU, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), Nurse-Family Partnership, American College of Physicians, Medical Society of the State of New York, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Medical Association (AMA), American Federation of Teachers, New York Professional Nurses Union (NYPNU), and the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA).