SPRINGFIELD – Senate Agriculture Chairman Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) introduced a resolution to add farming to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program Wednesday.

Student loan debt is on the rise, totaling more than $1.5 trillion, creating an additional barrier for young farmers to make a living. This is causing young people to steer away from farming as a profession.

Bennett urges U.S. Congress to expand the PSLF program so that it includes farming as an applicable career for loan forgiveness.

According to the Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education, the PSLF program forgives the remaining balance on Direct Loans after you have made 120 (10 years) qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer.

“It is critical that beginning farmers have resources to help them get started in the industry,” Senator Bennett said. “Adding farmers to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program will create a pathway for young people with student debt to succeed in agriculture.”

Senate Resolution 992 awaits consideration in the Illinois Senate. Lawmakers are scheduled to return to Springfield Feb. 18.

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