U.S. Rep. Jason Crow has introduced legislation to create a student loan forgiveness program for people in their final year of school or who have graduated within the past 10 years. The measure is intended to boost the number of people entering the medical profession.

“I know there is no shortage of individuals in this country who are looking to serve,” said Crow. “For many, the coronavirus has helped spurred the next generation of healthcare leaders and shown just how important it is that we support these essential workers.”

To be eligible for loan repayment, an individual must work with a public or tribal health agency for at least three years. Jobs in areas of high need would also be eligible for greater repayment amounts. Each year of eligible service would merit up to $35,000 of forgiveness.

The bill, titled the Public Health Workforce Loan Repayment Act, would allocate $100 million in for the program in its first year, and $75 million for every year afterward through 2025. Crow credited John Douglas, the executive director of Tri-County Health Department, with the idea.

“For many students, it isn’t economically feasible for them to enter into public service, especially given the high cost of many health care and medical programs,” said Douglas. “Not only will it help encourage the next generation of public health leaders, but we can better increase our nation’s preparedness for problems such as the current coronavirus pandemic.”

Tri-County is the health agency serving Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties in Crow’s district.