Published On: March 12, 2024

Senator Elizabeth Warren brought BTU member Benadette Manning as her honored guest to the State of the Union Address on March 7th, 2024. Benadette was selected after having tens of thousands of dollars of student loans forgiven under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

“When Manning, a mother of four, went into public school teaching, she had $30,000 worth of student loan debt. Despite working full-time for decades — mostly at Fenway High School — she fell behind on payments and was forced to take on side jobs.

Still, late penalties and interest continued to accrue and Manning had thousands of dollars left in payments. She applied for debt relief — twice — under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which makes public service workers with student loan debt eligible for forgiveness after making 120 qualifying monthly payments.

Manning was denied both times.

According to Warren, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, enacted in 2007, has seen little success.

“It was a way of saying ‘thank you’ for getting an education, and then using that education in the public interest,” she said. “But here’s the deal: The program just didn’t work.”

Just 200 people in Massachusetts actually got their loans canceled under the program before Biden took office, Warren said. But since 2021, when his administration made changes to the program, that number has increased to 17,000 — one of whom is Manning.

Since the Supreme Court struck down a sweeping student loan forgiveness plan last June that could have affected up to 43 million borrowers, the Biden administration has moved forward with more targeted programs that have still eradicated tens of billions of dollars in debt.

“Getting my student loans canceled by President Biden was a tremendous weight off my shoulders, allowing me to pay off my car loans and finally retire,” Manning said in a press release.”


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