News

Swalwell, colleagues seek to cancel student loan debt for local lab employees

Workers at Livermore Lab, Sandia could be eligible

Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) has called on the U.S. Education Department to forgive the student loans of employees at Livermore and Sandia national laboratories.

Swalwell, whose district includes San Ramon, this week urged the department to make employees of all privately operated Department of Energy (DOE) labs eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. The program forgives the federal student loans of workers at qualified nonprofit or government organizations after 10 years of full-time employment.

While employees of some DOE labs are eligible for this loan forgiveness program, five labs, including Lawrence Livermore and Sandia in Swalwell's congressional district, are not because they are operated by for-profit companies.

"The employees of Department of Energy Labs like Sandia and Lawrence Livermore are committed public servants," Swalwell wrote in a letter to the DOE.

"These labs have a long history of scientific breakthroughs, but when faced with high student loan debt, some young scientists and engineers are forced to opt for more lucrative careers in the private sector," Swalwell said.

"It makes perfect sense to offer all DOE lab employees, regardless of how their lab is operated, the opportunity to participate in the (program)," he added. "Growing student loan debt should not be an impediment to the next generation of our best and brightest from devoting their careers to the critical endeavors of our DOE national labs."

There are 16 DOE national labs operated by private entities nationwide. These labs are operated by contractors but owned by the government with a public interest mission, such as nuclear security or energy independence. At least 70% of the labs' funding must come from the federal government.

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program was created in 2007 to incentivize public sector employment. The program forgives the remaining federal student loan balance of borrowers who work for qualified nonprofits or government agencies and made 120 qualifying monthly payments on their loans.

In all, 16 members of Congress joined Swalwell in signing the letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan. They are Reps. Mark DeSaulnier (whose district includes Danville and Alamo), Tony Cardenas, Judy Chu, Anna G. Eshoo, Chaka Fattah, Bill Foster, Michael M. Honda, Sheila Jackson Lee, Marcy Kaptur, James R. Langevin, Barbara Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Ben Ray Lujan, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Ed Perlmutter and Bonnie Watson Colman.

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.

Comments

9 people like this
Posted by Louise
a resident of Danville
on Nov 4, 2015 at 8:56 am

Many student loans are in default and there is a huge amount owed to the government (in the billions). Meanwhile, Obama wants to forgive this debt anyway or reduce it by debt forgiveness measures. Why don't they just make it all free since that's where its headed anyway? What does a loan mean anymore. All rules, definitions and contracts have been blurred or reinterpreted to suit the intended partisan agenda on the left. Let's just keep going. We are becoming a completely socialist country bit by bit, while most Americans just stand by and watch. I don't think they know or care what's happening. We are patterning ourselves after Europe and you can see how well they are doing.


2 people like this
Posted by Louise
a resident of Danville
on Nov 4, 2015 at 8:56 am

Many student loans are in default and there is a huge amount owed to the government (in the billions). Meanwhile, Obama wants to forgive this debt anyway or reduce it by debt forgiveness measures. Why don't they just make it all free since that's where its headed anyway? What does a loan mean anymore. All rules, definitions and contracts have been blurred or reinterpreted to suit the intended partisan agenda on the left. Let's just keep going. We are becoming a completely socialist country bit by bit, while most Americans just stand by and watch. I don't think they know or care what's happening. We are patterning ourselves after Europe and you can see how well they are doing.


7 people like this
Posted by PSMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Nov 4, 2015 at 10:54 am

What a bunch of graft and corruption! Can you say "let's BUY more votes and favors!"

You work at a good job with lots of benefits and a high salary (and you already took into consideration the fact that you would have to pay off your loan debt on your own) and then some Politician comes along and grants you the additional GIFT of tens of thousands of dollars in student loan forgiveness.
These LAB employees are some of the HIGHEST PAID workers around here.

And there jobs are NO MUCH MORE OF A PUBILC SERVICE THAN ANYONE ELSE'S JOBS!!!

What a bunch of BS!
But I doubt any of the employees would turn it down.


9 people like this
Posted by PSMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Nov 4, 2015 at 11:05 am

Stallwell,

Your true "liberal" colors are showing now.
Do "good" things regardless of cost or authority.

Good politics is NOT really about "bringing home the bacon". It's about solving real problems that are actually within the boundaries of what government should be involved in.

Try balancing the budget.
Try reducing the size of government.
Try reducing taxes for all.

Try stopping the border crossings and eliminate our legal/illegal immigration problems.
Build sufficient highways that service ALL of us (not just commuters and special interest groups).
Stop the unneeded BS Train to LA.
Build up the electrical/water/IN/etc infrastructures to last into the future and to handle future projections.
Actually do some true government things!


6 people like this
Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Nov 4, 2015 at 1:09 pm

Student loan forgiveness programs are good for the economy because you free up income of recent graduates to buy consumer goods instead of pouring it into the pockets of the banks. (Let's not forget that 70 percent of our economy is consumer spending.)

Likewise, investing in higher education by providing student grants is one of the best investments of public funds that we can make. It produces a more highly educated citizenry and work force, who earn more money and pay back FAR more in increased taxes than it costs to educate them.


10 people like this
Posted by Bunny
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 4, 2015 at 2:43 pm

I can understand forgiving the high fees and interest associated with these loans but not the loan itself. It just makes a mockery of those who are paying off their loans, those who are honest and responsible.

It's interesting that Louise takes this opportunity to slam Obama and ignores the fact that this article is about Swalwell. She doesn't say a word about that. Louise, your agenda is obvious now.


3 people like this
Posted by Louise
a resident of Danville
on Nov 4, 2015 at 4:47 pm

Swalwell and Obama are cut from the same cloth. I rest my case.


1 person likes this
Posted by Duffy
a resident of Danville
on Nov 10, 2015 at 8:21 am

What possible justification can there be other then the accident of their parent's employment for this brazen vote buying scheme. All of my grandchildren had student loans and paid them off within as year of graduation . Votr NO on the gravy train!


2 people like this
Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Nov 10, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Duffy -
Perhaps your grandchildren didn't have to take on $150,000+ in student debt, like some of today's graduates do. It's unconscionable that we condone an educational funding system that so greatly burdens our young people in order to allow them an education. Providing affordable college educations is one of the best investments (both socially and financially) that we can make in our country's future.


1 person likes this
Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Nov 10, 2015 at 6:18 pm

A couple of comments:

- It is fair to also criticize Obama on the general subject of student-loan "forgiveness", as he has raised this issue in the past. Similarly, Clinton has been using student loan forgiveness in her campaigning.

- Swalwell's proposal is maybe more cynical, in that it is pandering to a voting block in his district. But he is not alone. Similar "focused" proposals are popping up from Democrats in other locales, as well, based on what constituencies exist in THEIR districts. I even saw one proposal to forgive student loans for students of Corinthian Colleges (a for-profit "institution"). If this one was serious, it presumably was "inspired" by a large campaign donation from Corinthian...

- Rapidly escalating college costs ARE an issue. But the solution is NOT debt forgiveness. Actually, if the money that is already being given out as "need based" grants, scholarships, and loan subsidies, was applied to across-the-board tuition and fees cuts, college would be significantly cheaper for EVERYONE. As it is, college IS cheap for very low-income students who qualify for need-based aid. But it is hugely expensive for students whose parents are at varying levels of being "middle-class". In effect, those students are paying more, so that financial aid can be given to other students. Those who have gone through the financial aid application process (e.g. FAFSA forms and equivalent) will know this first-hand...


Like this comment
Posted by Rick
a resident of Alamo
on Nov 11, 2015 at 8:50 am

Student debt can be greatly reduced by attending community college for two years.


5 people like this
Posted by Herman Glates
a resident of Danville
on Nov 11, 2015 at 8:51 am

Herman Glates is a registered user.

Government money from Pell Grants and student loans have caused the price of tuition to spike. Loans provide students with more money, so colleges raise their prices.

An article in July from the NY Fed says that for every $1 of student loan borrowed, colleges raise the price of tuition by $0.65 cents. Web Link

When are you liberals going to learn that so-called government solutions only make problems worse?

Now you want to forgive the student loans. How noble of you. What that means is you’re taking money from people who earned it, the taxpayers, and giving it to these students who did not earn it.

Most taxpayers never went to college. Now you’re asking taxpayers to pay for all the pizzas, beer bashes, panty raids, that these poor college students had to endure for the best four years of their lives??

Bite me.


Like this comment
Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Nov 11, 2015 at 10:53 am

Herman -

The 1920s are calling. They want you back.


Like this comment
Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Nov 11, 2015 at 11:10 am

With a maximum annual award of only $5,775, a Pell Grant today barely makes a dent in the cost of a college education. A year at a good private college now costs about $65,000.

Saddling our young people with massive educational debt is not a good solution. It just sets them up for financial failure or, even if they are incredibly responsible and pay back all of their loans, as I did, it consigns them to many, many years of not being able to participate fully in our economy (buying a home, a car, appliances, etc.). That approach stunts our national economic growth. We can do better.


Like this comment
Posted by Herman Glates
a resident of Danville
on Nov 11, 2015 at 12:59 pm

Herman Glates is a registered user.

No one saddled anyone with anything.

These people chose to take out these loans.

People need to take personal responsibility for cripes sake.

Stop pretending to be a victim.


3 people like this
Posted by Bunny
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 11, 2015 at 1:16 pm

I agree, Herman.

Those people signed a note saying they would pay back the loan. They chose to do it. Not all of these people used all of that loan, or even most of it, for school expenses.

Part of going to college is learning about the world. Learning to be responsible for oneself. Learning that if you make an agreement, you fulfill your side of it.

Paying back those loans is a good learning experience. Perhaps those who aren't repaying their loans are the same people who didn't pay their mortgages, defaulted on that then left their animals to die a slow death tied up in an empty house with no food or water. They didn't learn about responsibly, and are selfish.

I feel the problem may lay with bankers who have taken advantage of this situation. That should be the focus of the student loan issue. Deal with that, but the students should repay the loans. If you cannot afford to go to college, can't get a scholarship, etc., then you can't go.

I wish they had kept the community colleges free, but they didn't. I wish high schools better equipped students to go to college and that the community colleges didn't offer so many remedial courses, but they don't.

We don't all get what we wish.


Like this comment
Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Nov 12, 2015 at 1:01 pm

Well, well, well.....So, some of our esteemed contributors to these pages would propose that only those students who can afford to go to college (I.e., children of the wealthy) should be able to earn a college education; and all others, no matter how talented, can't go if they can't scrape together the $30-65k/year -- even if that ends up depriving this country of huge numbers of potentially talented doctors, engineers, etc.? And ends up depriving our economy of huge numbers of potential middle class and upper class consumers?

Boy, would that be shooting ourselves in the foot economically. Why would we want to put ourselves at such a competitive disadvantage in this global economy? Is that what we really want: a class-bound society, with very little upward mobility?


Like this comment
Posted by Herman Glates
a resident of Danville
on Nov 13, 2015 at 7:38 am

Herman Glates is a registered user.

Oh look, College Boy wants taxpayers to give him money as social justice.

He wants taxpayers, most of whom never went to college, to buy him everything he rightfully deserves. He even made a list: a home, car and appliances. He says it’s for the good of the economy.

Oh, you poor baby.

Hey everybody, let’s all empty our bank accounts and give it to College Boy.

Here’s an idea: You want money?? Earn it.

Millions of Americans have figured out that you don’t need a college degree to be successful: Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Oprah, Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, David Neeleman (JetBlue), Daniel Ek (Spotify), Matt Mullenweg (WordPress), Arash Ferdowsi (DropBox), John Mackey (Whole Foods), Jack Taylor (Enterprise Rent-A-Car).

Those are just some of the big names. America is full of successful small business people who are wealthy but never in the headlines. They see a need, start a business, work hard, and get rich.

Millions more work crap jobs to get their foot in the door and then rise to the top.

College boy was coddled, told he was special, got trophies just for showing up, attended fancy pants college that created a Safe Space for him, free from opposing viewpoints.

No wonder he thinks the world owes him.


Like this comment
Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Nov 13, 2015 at 9:43 am

That was the 1920s calling again, Herman. They want you back before the 1890s takes you.

Really, such outdated ideas.

What you don't appreciate, HG, is that most college students are working. Ever try paying $65k college bill on minimum wage jobs? Do the math, if you can.

It's interesting that you choose to ignore the economic arguments and, instead, try to make personal insults. And since you really don't know my age or background, they are wildly off the mark.

Any federal financial aid that I received for my education -- many, many years ago -- has been paid back many times over in the huge taxes that I've paid over years. A great investment of our tax dollars. And I paid back all of my student loans on time, even at the 12% interest rates that prevailed then.

So, it's not "social justice" -- whatever HG may mean by that -- it's just smart economics for the country. The returns FAR outweigh the cost.

HG mentions the rare exceptions who have achieved business success without finishing college. For the vast majority of skilled jobs in this country, a college education (or beyond) is not only useful but required. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, just to name a few. Would HG allow any of them to provide services for him if they didn't have a degree? Unlikely. (Although, in HG-World, maybe that's how it works.)

Don't forget, HG, if we don't help educate this next generation, they won't earn enough to fund your Social Security payments.


Like this comment
Posted by Herman Glates
a resident of Danville
on Nov 13, 2015 at 11:04 am

Herman Glates is a registered user.

If someone stole your money and gave it to the poor to spend, that’d probably help the economy too.

That doesn’t make it right.

If you want to pay off people’s student loans with your own money, be my guest. No one’s stopping you.

But keep your dirty mitts off my money.


Like this comment
Posted by PSMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Nov 13, 2015 at 2:43 pm

It is not the Government's job (shouldn't be) to "educate this next generation." (There should be no Federal Dept of Education.)

it is not the Government's job to make people become more highly educated so that they can generate more tax revenue for the Government--to "pay back many times over in huge taxes." (It's not Govt's job to create bigger taxpayers.)

Our patriarchal forefathers tried to create a Government that was LIMITED in scope and power and that would constrain itself to its necessary, basic duties and stated boundaries.

Since then, politicians have EXPANDED the boundaries of Government to include "anything and everything," always in the name of "doing something good."

Liberals have NO CRITERIA for when to say "no" to a proposed idea, except perhaps because the idea is proposed by a Republican or Conservative.

If a person wants to become educated that is a private, individual matter of their own, not a government matter. That person has to do what is necessary to obtain the education--get good grades, pay the costs.....or take a different path.

Government is way too involved in Education. Schools are practically run by Government. Teachers are practically political propagandists for the liberal left. There is very little "free thinking" or "tolerance of Conservative thinking" within most schools. You want to get an "A," you better say what pleases the Teacher.

Most college students would find my opening sentence above to be strange, radical, and impractical.

Dave, you sarcastically label HG as having "old-fashioned" ideas from years ago. Whereas I think that HG is trying to get back to the GREAT IDEAS that we once had that allowed us to have a tiny Government and to become a great nation of free people.

The issues that they had in the 1700s were different than today.......and yet they weren't all that different.
Those forefathers would still want a Government that was LIMITED and tiny in comparison to what we have allowed it to become. Now, it is the very EVIL that they feared--with the same huge malevolent capability as a Dictator or King or Master. Un-tame-able!

Yes, Dave, that is the 1700s you hear calling you on your cell phone!


Like this comment
Posted by Herman Glates
a resident of Danville
on Nov 13, 2015 at 3:37 pm

Herman Glates is a registered user.

PSM,

All good points, although I have a slightly different view than you.

I do believe in public education, including community colleges and state college. In addition to my property taxes and income taxes that help pay for schools, I have voluntarily donated many tens of thousands of dollars to SRVSD over the years. I believe my kids have received a fair education here.

That’s an acceptable level of government for me, although I think the state could spend taxpayer money more wisely. Public education is a mess, due to many bad teachers and the teachers union that protects them, but that is beyond the scope of this thread.


Like this comment
Posted by dbrower
a resident of Alamo
on Nov 13, 2015 at 8:56 pm

Not going into the larger forgiveness thing. What I don't understand is why student loan debt shouldn't be discharged by bankruptcy, with risk factored into the rate by lenders. If they aren't dischargable, then they ought to be at rates closer to mortgages than credit cards.


Like this comment
Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Nov 16, 2015 at 1:00 pm

And the current student loan crisis hasn't been brought about by private non-profit universities or state universities. It has been largely the result for-profit and community colleges. Half of borrowers exiting school in 2011 attended a for-profit or 2-year school. Those borrowers represented 70% of student loan defaults.

And in 2014, 9 of the top 11 schools in terms of total student debt owed were for-profit schools.

Thankfully, the Feds are cracking down on those for-profit schools that promise the moon but give you only a moon rock. EDMC (the nation's second largest for-profit college system) settled a fraud cases today for $95 million.


Like this comment
Posted by PSMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Nov 17, 2015 at 9:45 am


"What I don't understand is why student loan debt shouldn't be discharged by bankruptcy, with risk factored into the rate by lenders. "

dbrower,
Nice idea. Might work with a "more normal" type Borrower in mid-career stage (with two years of career employment--like what is required for a mortgage loan) BUT NOT WITH A COLLEGE GRADUATE. They are too risky of a financial group.

Many students would graduate, immediately declare Bankruptcy (having no assets), go on a European holiday walk-around, THEN go to work, re-develop a perfect credit history, save up a down payment for 3 years, and then buy a house, etc..

Yes, many people would be this financially dishonest and devious.
Even older than college graduate people LIED LIKE HELL and cheated the banking system to get mortgage loans. Why do you think the 2008 Mortgage Crisis happened!?!


Like this comment
Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Nov 17, 2015 at 11:37 am

Such a sad and cynical view of the world. PSM apparently spends much of his time dwelling on the "glass half-empty."

Fortunately, the world has enough "glass half-full" people in it to actually get things done.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Premarital and Couples: Tips for Hearing (Listening) and Being Known
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,296 views

Alameda County Grand Jury calls out supervisors
By pleasantonweekly.com | 7 comments | 987 views