OLYMPIA – The Washington State Senate approved legislation this week to expand access to loan forgiveness for people who work in public service. 

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is a federal program that allows borrowers employed full-time in public service jobs to get their student loans repaid. Senate Bill 5847, sponsored by Sen. Marko Liias (D – Everett), requires employers to notify public service employees of their eligibility and provide them with resources on how they can enroll and have their public service recognized. 

“Too many of our neighbors are feeling the burden of student loan debt, and by increasing access to this crucial program we can ensure they feel some relief,” said Liias. “This program is a great way to help those who have decided to serve our state, and I’m eager for more folks to utilize it.” 

In Washington state, about 800,000 people owe over $27 billion in student loan debt total – more than $35,700 per average borrower. SB 5847 would help to alleviate that debt for public employees. 

SB 5847 passed on a 37-12 vote and will now head to the House for consideration. The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn March 10.