United States Representative Joe Courtney speaking at the Connecticut veterans wartime service medal award ceremony.
A bill was introduced in Congress around mid-February that would allow young farmers with student debt to be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness according to a press release from the sponsor, Rep. Joe Courtney of Connecticut.
The move comes at a time when many young farmers are putting off farming, opting to cut down their student debt until they are on safer financial ground. Many Midwesterners worry that there simply aren’t enough young people entering the field.
With that in mind, the Young Farmer Success Act of 2017 was introduced in the House of Representatives. The bill would add full-time farmers to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. The legislation, H.R. 1060, would allow farmers to make monthly income-based payments over a decade on their student loans, then qualify for loan forgiveness.
In addition to the help offered by the bill, the Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA) tries to offer assistance by offering low interest loans for new farmers and ranchers. Last year, the agency distributed more than $6 billion in farm loans to about 40,000 recipients. Young farmers can secure a loan at an interest rates as low as 2.875 percent after June 1, 2017 according to the FSA.
While these low interest loans are helpful in starting a farm, they do not address the underlying issue. Since the younger generation is experiencing difficulty with starting new farms, student loan debt, currently up to $1.4 trillion, is looked upon as one of the major culprits behind the lack of young farmer startups.
Aside from farming and agriculture, other industries in the United States are supposedly suffering from student debt. Similar to the initiatives of the FSA and lawmakers, politicians are introducing solutions to supplement labor fields and industries in the face of hampering student debt. One such labor field includes graduates entering education field as teachers.
In Minnesota, there is a teacher shortage within its state education system; more specifically, the state has trouble recruiting and retaining young teachers to stay and work in Minnesota. The culprit in this case is student loan debt. To counter this problem, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) introduced legislation back in March that banked on federal loan forgiveness and incentives to retain teaching talent in the state.
A similar problem was addressed by the state senate in North Dakota where there was another shortage of teachers according to The Student Loan Report. State Sen. Donald Schaible sponsored the bill that offered grants and assistance with student loan payments to teachers who stay in the area.
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