By Samantha Neudorf (Editor-in-Chief) “Kids need college.” Those were the words Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., opened with when he addressed the Hofstra community about a loan forgiveness program on Monday.
This loan forgiveness program provides incentives for students to consider public sector jobs, but it might not be the right fit for everyone.
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer visited Hofstra University on Monday to promote his Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. PSLF is a program that allows workers in the public sector to pay off student loans and eventually have the loan forgiven, as long as the loan was borrowed after 2007. Public sector jobs include government and non-profit jobs, such as teachers, nurses, firefighters, and soldiers.
The program allows students to pay 15 percent of their discretionary income each month for the loan payment. After 10 years, qualified loans will be forgiven.
As a strong supporter of the PSLF program, Schumer believes that students should receive pursue a college degree and be able to pay for it without the fear of debt.
Schumer drafted a letter to the federal Department of Education and the Department of Labor to make sure that students know about these benefits.
Rosanna Perotti, a political science professor at the University, attended the conference and agreed that the program was something that students should take advantage of.
“This is a wonderful thing,” Perotti said. “Students who major in political science usually go on to work in government… it’s a real financial sacrifice.”
Perotti explained that private sector jobs tend to have a better pay than public sector jobs.
“Many of the students in entry level jobs in government and interest groups barely make enough money to keep themselves going,” Perotti said. “They do it because they love it.”
Senior community health major Jade Coyle said she considered pursuing a public sector job after hearing about the PSLF program because she has student loans.
“It would be beneficial… if I can pay it back,” Coyle said.
Bushra Huq, freshman undecided major, said that she might want to pursue a job in chemistry and does not have a large amount of student loans. She considered trying out the program, like Coyle.
“If I want to take another student loan or take another loan to pay off my tuition in the future, then sure, why not? It would probably be a good idea,” Huq said.
The only question Huq raised was if the PSLF program would charge an interest rate.
“It would depend if they have to pay more or pay less,” Huq said.
Sophomore broadcast journalism major Joseph Toomey said he might give the program a chance, but not right away. He has student loans and eventually wants to become a television reporter.
“Maybe down the line, [I’d want to do] teaching if I was in television for a while. But, probably not right away,” Toomey said. “Maybe 20 years down the line.”
Toomey thought that the program is a good idea because it would help him pay off his loans faster and get out of debt sooner, but it might not be ideal at the moment.
“It would be a good idea for those who are interested in those types of jobs,” Toomey said.
Schumer noted that the program might eventually open for students pursuing private sector jobs, but this is a good start.
“This is a good step for your compadres — a good step for them to go to college,” said Schumer. “But, we’re working on it.”