Forgive Student Loan Debt for Healthcare Providers Responding to COVID-19

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We implore the United States Congress to pass legislation forgiving all remaining student debt for the heroes fighting to keep our country alive.

Student debt is only one of the many burdens faced by those combating COVID-19 to save as many patients as possible, but it is one Congress has the power to ease. 

Healthcare workers are putting their lives and those of their families at risk on the front lines of the international COVID-19 crisis. As a group, nurses, attending physicians, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, and resident physicians are working in uncertain, understaffed, dangerous conditions. Some have been redeployed from their usual clinical duties, many without appropriate personal protective equipment and other supplies. 

We have been seeing stories of healthcare workers separated from family, depressed, anxious, working extended hours, sick, and dying. On 3/24/2020 a nurse from New York passed away from complications of COVID-19, likely contracted while working with patients, and there are more to come. 

The mounting pile of student debt is an enormous weight carried by these workers, especially those who attended college and graduate school for 8+ years. For instance the average medical school graduate’s debt load now exceeds $200,000 (Source: National Center for Education Statistics). 

The recently enacted CARES Act mandating a six-month freeze on interest and the option to take a break from payments on federal student loans is helpful, but does not go far enough to give assistance to those providing direct care during this pandemic.  

Let’s show our support as a nation by easing the financial burden - allowing them to afford housing away from family, care for their children while they are working, medical care including mental health services, and relief from the many other extraordinary, intangible costs of providing on the front lines during this time. 

Thank you for considering supporting this bill. Your constituents, those benefiting from the thankless work done by these healthcare workers every day, want to see this debt forgiven.