WHEREAS, the Nation benefits greatly from the contributions of persons who obtain higher education, including graduate and professional degrees, and then devote much of their careers to public service at the federal, state or local level; and

WHEREAS, one of the greatest impediments to careers in public service is the level of indebtedness student borrowers have at the end of college and/or professional school which discourages them from pursuing lower-paying public service employment; and

WHEREAS, according to a recent study, 66 per cent of responding students cited high education debt and low pay in public service jobs as the reason for not pursuing such public interest careers; and

WHEREAS, by creating a means that encourages and enables some of the best and brightest college and professional student graduates committed to working in the public interest and the public sector an opportunity to do so is in the best interest of the nation; and

WHEREAS, in 1993, the Congress created the income contingent loan repayment option (ICR) to assist high-debt student borrowers by enabling them to consolidate their loans and reduce their debt burden; and

WHEREAS, the goal of income-contingent repayment can be better achieved by reducing the option loan period for repayment and forgiving a portion of the loan as a result of public service employment after a shorter period of loan repayment than 25 years; and

WHEREAS, other student borrowers have been discouraged from going into public sector employment due to the severe marriage penalty payment requirements; and

WHEREAS, by consolidating oneís student loan becomes a benefit in the repayment process; and NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that U.S. Conference of Mayors supports amending federal student aid legislation to provide for an incentive to choose a career in public service by establishing a policy that forgives a studentís loan if within the first 15 years of repayment a graduate, who has taken advantage of the income contingent repayment option, has been employed for at least 8 of those years in the public service as defined by the statute;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the U.S. Conference of Mayors urges the Congress to amend the severe marriage penalty portion to the income contingent repayment option so that no more than half of the joint income of married borrowers is attributed to each spouse; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the U.S. Conference of Mayors is committed to improving policies and practices that will enable college and professional graduates better opportunities to serve in the public sector.

©2005 The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Tom Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. 202.293.7330 ~ Fax 202.293.2352