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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 year.

Click here 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 near future.

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