Hassan seeks student loan relief for young entrepreneurs
vLegislation would defer payments for startup founders, employees
U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, has reintroduced the Reigniting Opportunity for Innovators Act, which is aimed at helping provide student loan debt relief to young entrepreneurs starting innovative small businesses.
Hassan originally introduced the bill in 2017 as the first piece of legislation she sponsored when she became a senator.
The legislation would allow founders and full-time employees of startups to defer student debt payments, without accrual of interest, for a three-year period. The bill would also allow founders and full-time employees of startups in economically distressed areas to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt tax-free.
She said the legislation is essential because “the burden of student loan debt is preventing bright, innovative young people from starting the type of small businesses that are essential to our economic recovery.”
She said that many young people delay starting new businesses because of their student loan debt. In fact, said Hassan, a significant number of graduates who leave school with student loan debt have cited their student debt as a reason for delaying starting up a new business.
Providing loan relief to young entrepreneurs “will help encourage the growth of new businesses, particularly in economically distressed areas that have suffered even greater losses amid the Coivid-19 pandemic.”
Joshua Cyr, senior director of startup initiatives at the New Hampshire Tech Alliance, praised the legislation, saying that “the burden of paying off education debt has been a significant barrier for budding entrepreneurs building and innovating here in New Hampshire. The earliest stages of starting a new business mean little to no revenue, let alone profit. Salaries for founders are low to focus the available capital and revenue on building the business. This will be tremendously helpful in reducing risk to startup founders and their early employees and focusing their resources on what they need to succeed.”