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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 14, 2020 12:18 PM
From: Representative Karen Boback
To: All House members
Subject: Student Loan Forgiveness for Optometrists
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation which would create the Student Loan Forgiveness for Optometrists Program.

Our Commonwealth’s population of older adults is projected to continue to increase in the coming years. This increase in our older adult population will lead to a greater demand for optometrists. Vision problems tend to occur more frequently later in life. As people age, they become more susceptible to conditions that impair vision, such as cataracts and macular degeneration, and will need vision care.

This is why I am proposing legislation that will create the Student Loan Forgiveness for Optometrists Program. This program is designed to provide an incentive for individuals to pursue higher education and training in optometry and to practice optometry in this Commonwealth. Under this program, an eligible optometrist may receive up to 50 percent, not exceeding $200,000, of their student loans forgiven, if they agree to a three year commitment to practice optometry in the Commonwealth.

Periodic eye and vision examinations are an important part of preventive health care. Many eye and vision problems have no obvious signs or symptoms, which is why early diagnosis and treatment of eye and vision problems is vital to the prevention of vision loss. It is important that General Assembly do everything it can to ensure that there are enough optometrists to meet the health care needs of our citizens.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB2675