Attorney General James urges Education Department to fix broken utility loan forgiveness program


To date, the Ministry of Education has refused almost all PSLF / TEPSLF applications

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today continued her fight to address the country’s current student loan crisis. As part of a coalition of 22 Attorneys General, Attorney General James today sent a letter to the US Department of Education, urging the agency to take strong action to repair the service loan forgiveness program public (PSLF) faulty. Since borrowers first became eligible for relief in 2017, nearly all of PSLF’s applications have been rejected, leaving millions of civil servants in dire straits. These teachers, nurses, public advocates, social workers, first responders, the military and others incurred significant student loan debt in order to acquire the skills necessary to educate, heal and protect our communities – under the promise that a part of these loans would eventually be forgiven. In today’s letter, the coalition applauds the Ministry of Education’s commitment to improve the implementation of the PSLF program and urges the agency to act quickly to correct shortcomings in the administration of the program.

“For 10 years or more, thousands of New Yorkers have served our state and this nation, but the promises made to them for a decade of service were not even a single penny,” said Attorney General James. “Promises made must be promises kept, which is why we are once again calling on the Department of Education to immediately correct the civil service loan forgiveness program and ensure that they keep. their commitment to help those who move our country forward every day. Student debt has spiraled out of control, and the economic impact of the pandemic has only made it harder for New Yorkers, as well as borrowers across the country, to pay their bills. Now is the time for us to take bold action to end the student loan crisis and provide borrowers with the tools they need to move forward.

In 2007, a bipartisan convention created the PSLF program to encourage student loan borrowers to access public service jobs in return for repaying the remaining balance of their federal student loans after 10 years of on-time repayment. When the first wave of borrowers requested a loan forgiveness in 2017, the Department of Education turned down applicants at the alarming rate of 99%. In 2018, a bipartisan congress gave the agency a second chance to deliver on the PSLF’s critical promise by creating the Extended Public Service Loan Temporary Remission Program (TEPSLF). Despite this emergency solution, relief continues to be out of reach for almost all who request it. To date, the Ministry of Education has refused 96 percent of all TEPSLF requests.

Drastic action by the Department of Education is needed to make the PSLF’s pledge of forgiveness a reality for the nation’s dedicated public servants. State Attorneys General have a unique perspective on how to improve the administration of the PSLF / TEPSLF through their experience investigating and holding student loan managers accountable for violation of the law, including program maladministration. PSLF / TEPSLF. In today’s comment letter, the attorneys general urge the education ministry to:

  • Provide immediate relief to borrowers who have been harmed by the mismanagement of the PSLF / TEPSLF program;
  • Improve oversight and accountability of service providers by carefully selecting a new service provider who will be responsive to borrowers and creating new incentives and operational procedures that prioritize borrowers;
  • Extend the pause on student loan payments that began in response to the 2019 coronavirus disease pandemic (COVID-19);
  • Conduct broad outreach to all borrowers potentially interested in the remission, including those who have not yet applied and those who have already received refusals; and
  • Correct the errors discovered positively for all borrowers concerned.

Separately, but related to his work to fight to help student borrowers with the PSLF program, in October 2019, Attorney General James sued the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) – the one of the largest student loan managers in the country and the exclusive administrator of the PSLF. program – for failing to properly administer the PSLF program.

Additionally, in August 2019, Attorney General James sent a letter to then-US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos urging the Department of Education to provide data to help states resolve the issues. persistent with the PSLF program.

Attorneys General of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico and North Carolina join Attorney General James in sending today’s letter to the Department of Education. , Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia.

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