He added, “There are loan programs specifically designed to help teachers, librarians, firefighters, military personnel, law enforcement, first responders, and social workers providing services to high-risk children. But not everyone knows about these options, as we’ve found.”
To help inform them, the agency is asking their employers to step up. When new employees start work or get their W-2 forms, for instance, they could be told about ways to deal with their student loan debt.
The city of South Bend, Ind., and the public school system in Richmond, Va., have already signed onto the effort.
Nationally, Americans owe nearly $1.2 trillion in student debt.
Dealing with those bills can discourage consumers from buying homes, moving out of their parents’ houses or starting their own businesses, which in turn prevents the economy from growing as fast as it could be.
The debt can also prevent graduates from going into needed careers like teaching and social work, which have lower starting salaries than some private sector jobs.
“Student debt has become a yoke around the necks of many of our best and most talented young people, preventing them from moving forward and leading us into America’s future,” Cordray said.