February 14, 2008

RESTON, Va — The House has passed the College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007, HR 4137 (reauthorizing the Higher Education Act) that included a provision authorizing the Secretary of Education to forgive a portion of student loan obligation for audiologists. Specifically, the provision adds audiologists to a program that establishes loan forgiveness for service in areas of national need, and authorizes the Secretary to forgive up to $2,000 in Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) and William D. Ford Direct Loan (DL) student loan debt (other than PLUS Loans borrowed on behalf of a dependent student), per year of full-time employment, with a maximum of $10,000 over 5 years of service.

The bill had already included loan forgiveness provisions for speech language pathologists, among other professions, but failed to recognize audiologists. The American Academy of Audiology (AAA) was successful in working with congressional leadership to include audiologists among the list of providers that would be allowed forgiveness for student loan repayment as outlined in the bill. The Academy is hopeful that this provision will help to alleviate the burdensome student loan debts incurred by audiologists and provide a further incentive for individuals to enter into the field of audiology.

As the Senate has already passed its version of the Higher Education Reauthorization bill, the Academy will now work toward ensuring that this language is included in the final conference bill that is sent to the President for his signature, according to the organization.

SOURCE: American Academy of Audiology