Duluth and St. Louis County Bring Attention to Student Loan Forgiveness Program

The federal program forgives the debt of public sector employees

Student loan debt has reached more than 1.3 trillion dollars across the country and that number increases every day. 

Duluth and S. Louis County announced a way to let their employees know about  a possible solution to the growing problem.

Minnesota ranks fifth in the nation for highest student debt with many students graduating with an average debt of $31,000.

The federal program designed to help those in the public service sector has been in place since 2007, but it’s something many of the employees didn’t know about.

The program will forgive the student debt to any public and 501c(3) non profit employee who works there for ten years and makes consistent payments.

“It’s one of those things that will at least alleviate a little bit of stress and that when it comes to financials,” said Josh Abraham, a Duluth Parks and Recreation employee. Abraham has nearly $44,000 in student debt.

The city and county both say they will use the progam as a new recruiting tool and as a way to keep their current employees.

“We want to keep these folks and by keeping these folks in. It not only provides a better service for our constituents but it’s easier on the tax base too by not having to continue to rehire and re–educate employees,” said County Commissioner Patrick Boyle.

The city and county have already let their 1,600 employees know about the program.

State representative Erin Murphy was at the press conference. She had introduced a bill requiring public sector employers to notify their employees of the program.

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