IAFF Expands Student Loan Forgiveness for Fire Fighters
August 28, 2008 – The IAFF has won a major benefit for its
members through the enactment of legislation expanding student loan forgiveness
benefits for professional fire fighters. H.R. 4137, the Higher Education
Opportunity Act, creates a new program allowing fire fighters to receive up to
$10,000 in student loan forgiveness and expands Perkins loan cancellation
benefits to fire fighters.
The new benefits are separate and in addition to the new student loan
forgiveness program for fire fighters with Federal Direct loans established last
for additional information on the student loan forgiveness program and other
secondary and continuing education resources for IAFF members.
“I am proud to announce that we have achieved substantial new benefits to
provide immediate relief for IAFF members with student loans,” says IAFF General
President Harold Schaitberger. “By cancelling up to $10,000 in student loan
obligations, these new programs provide a real and measurable financial benefit
for IAFF members with college debt.”
Under one program for service in areas of national need, professional fire
fighters would receive up to $2,000 in loan forgiveness for each year of
employment on or after August 14, 2008. Benefits will be available for up to
five years, for a potential total of $10,000 in forgiveness.
The Act also expands the current Perkins loan cancellation program to include
professional fire fighters, providing up to 100 percent of such loans be
forgiven over five years.
Although the Perkins loan forgiveness program is fully funded, benefits under
the program for service in areas of national need will require additional
spending by Congress.
The new benefits were championed by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and
Representative John Sarbanes (D-MD). In addition, the chairs of the relevant
committees in the House and Senate played key roles in navigating the new
benefit through Congress. “We owe yet another debt of gratitude to Chair Ted
Kennedy (D-MA) and George Miller (D-CA) for their efforts on behalf of the
nation’s fire fighters” Schaitberger added.
The IAFF will provide members and local leadership with additional information
about the various student loan forgiveness programs for fire fighters in the