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Virginia Beach delegate proposes student loan forgiveness for certain people

This bill would only impact those of certain criteria including those who are single parents.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A Virginia delegate is offering a new approach to student loan debt, this time specifically focusing on single parents that meet certain criteria.

Virginia House Bill 1439 is a one-page document that outlines how forgivable student loans could be given to a narrow group of single-parent students.

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"This isn't a handout, this is a hand up," Republican Del. Tim Anderson, the author of the bill, said.

Anderson details several criteria parents must meet including:

1. Demonstrates that the student applicant is a single parent of a dependent child or dependent children and has a total household income that is not more than 250 percent of the current annual federal poverty guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;

2. Signs an agreement to (i) pursue a field of study that leads to a high-demand occupation identified by the Virginia Office of Education Economics on its high-demand occupations list, 

3. Signs a promissory note to repay the full amount of the loan in a lump sum, without interest, 84 months from the date on which the student applicant fails to meet any condition of the agreement.

The students must attend a community college, and once they graduated, they must work in their field in Virginia for the next five years.

"You are taking somebody who is dependent on government, and you are making them independent and then making them taxpayers," Anderson said. "Ultimately this is about workforce development."

Depending on the success of the bill, Anderson said he would be willing to expand the program to other students if it passes in the Virginia General Assembly coming up in January. 

The Virginia General Assembly is scheduled to convene on Jan. 11.

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