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Assembly Committee Approves Cervantes Bill to Reduce Student Debt

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO) – Today, the Assembly Committee on Higher Education approved Assembly Bill 140 by Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes (D-Corona) by a vote of 8 to 2. AB 140 would create the California “Kickstart My Future” Loan Forgiveness Program which would provide qualified recent college graduates with relief from federal student loans for up to 24 months after graduation.

The growing burden of student debt faced by recent college graduates remains an ongoing issue in California. The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS) found that the average percentage of students in debt is 50 percent, with a total debt average of $22,785 per graduate. Student loan companies often provide recent graduates with a 6-month grace period before their loan payments are required to begin. However, this grace period is generally an insufficient amount of time for many recent graduates, who are often faced with difficulties entering the workforce.

“Too often, student debt threatens to hold back our recent graduates just as they are beginning to enter the workforce. AB 140 will provide them with more time to enter and adjust to the workforce before taking on the daunting task of paying down their federal student debt,” Assemblymember Cervantes said. “We must do all that we can to ensure that our college graduates are not saddled with a burden of debt that stands in the way of their career and life goals and hinders their upward mobility.”

In order to help address the growing problem of college student debt, the State of New York enacted the “Get on Your Feet” Loan Forgiveness Program. AB 140 would replicate the “Get on Your Feet” Program in California, providing recent graduates with up to 24 months of debt relief for federal student loans, so long as students meet certain qualifications. The California “Kickstart My Future” Loan Forgiveness Program would be administered by the California Student Aid Commission.

AB 140 is supported by the California State Student Association, University of California Student Association, and the California Federation of Teachers. The bill will next be heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. You can find more information about the bill here.

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Sabrina Cervantes proudly represents the 60th District of the California State Assembly, which encompasses the cities of Corona, Eastvale, Jurupa Valley, Norco, a portion of Riverside, and the unincorporated communities of Coronita, El Cerrito, and Home Gardens. Cervantes serves as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy.