WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) and Annie Kuster (NH-02) joined more than 150 of their Democratic colleagues in requesting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos turn over more information—and swiftly act to fix— the Department’s flawed handling of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.
This request follows the release of a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, which revealed an alarming number of PSLF borrowers have been denied loan forgiveness. The report also showed the Department has neglected to provide clear guidance and instructions to loan servicers. This failure at the Department has left servicers and borrowers in the dark about which employers qualify and without detailed, accurate information regarding their loan payments.
Official Department data recently showed that a shocking 99.6 percent of borrowers applying for PSLF have thus far been denied. Previous requests to Secretary DeVos to improve PSLF have been ignored, and the Administration has even proposed eliminating the critical loan forgiveness program entirely.
“Consumer advocates, state regulators, Members of Congress, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and GAO have all repeatedly raised alarms about the Department’s handling of the PSLF program,” the members wrote. “Not only has this Administration ignored the mounting warning signs…but it has actively reduced oversight of student loan servicers—thereby contributing to the current problems in student loan servicing.”
“We are deeply troubled that millions of dedicated public servants may not obtain the loan forgiveness that they deserve if the Department does not act quickly to correct program implementation issues,” the members continued.
The members also requested a timeline for implementing each GAO recommendation, a copy of the Department’s corrective action plan, and further details about the Department’s plan to reach out to all Direct Loan borrowers about PSLF and to fully digitize the employment certification and application process. It is critical that Congress have this information as authorizers of the program and to make any potential legislative corrections.
To read the full text of the letter, click here.