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Pennsylvanians Look to SAVE Plan to Help with Student Loan Debt 

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Danielle Smith, Producer

Monday, July 17, 2023   

The new student loan forgiveness plan known as “SAVE” could lower monthly bills and reduce the amount some borrowers have to pay back over the lifetime of their loans.

Pennsylvanians hold about $65 billion of the more than $1.7 trillion in U.S. student loan debt.

Katherine Gilmore Richardson, a member of the Philadelphia City Council, said she was encouraged to see President Joe Biden had an alternative for debt relief, after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a previous plan. She noted students of color are more likely than white students to go into debt for their education.

“It’s an economic justice issue for so many of us and particularly for Black women,” Gilmore Richardson emphasized. “We typically know that we make less than our white male counterparts. And so, because of that, it really impacts us and our ability to just move on in life and deal with everything that we have to deal with, particularly post-COVID.”

President Biden’s SAVE plan, which stands for Saving on a Valuable Education, would begin with income-based repayment amounts once it has been finalized.

Gilmore Richardson noted she co-sponsored a resolution to examine the impacts of student loan debt in Philadelphia. She pointed out lawmakers have been discussing alternatives to pursuing a college degree and how it will lead to expanding the workforce in the Keystone State. 

“One of the first things that Gov. Shapiro did when he came in was to say, ‘You should be college or career ready. And if you want to get into a career with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, not every career will require a college degree,'” Gilmore Richardson recounted.

She added her office has created an apprenticeship guidebook — the first of its kind in Philadelphia — listing all apprenticeship programs in the city. It includes the application requirements, information about training programs and career fields, as well as the benefits of having an apprenticeship.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation. 

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