One of the top priorities for the Texas Legislature was to show support for our law enforcement officers who keep our state safe. In fact, both House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and Lt. Gov Dan Patrick made this one of their top items for the session. One way to achieve that is to make sure they are fairly compensated. Under a bill that passed during the session, police officers will be able to apply for assistance with their student loans.
The reason for offering this loan forgiveness assistance is to help recruit more police officers. Many departments around the state, particularly in large cities, have trouble recruiting and retaining officers. Some point to lagging salaries as to why departments are struggling with personnel. The new loan forgiveness program is another way to make a career in law enforcement financially feasible. It also attracts recent college graduates who are considering a career in public service but are concerned about the school debt that must be repaid.
Under this plan, an officer will have to work at least one year before becoming eligible for the loan forgiveness. From then on, a maximum of $20,000 may be forgiven, over a period of five years. The program also depends on funding.
The author of the bill said, “This bill would help some of these graduates consider a life career as a police officer. It is a great profession and we need to support our police officers.”