WASHINGTON, D.C. ― U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) has joined more than 150 Members of Congress in requesting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to turn over more information on — and swiftly act to fix — the Department’s flawed handling of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.
New data show that an alarming number of PSLF borrowers are being denied forgiveness, and it appears that both the Department and the companies that receive nearly $1 billion in taxpayer funding each year to service federal student loans have failed to provide borrowers with the service and support these borrowers need to realize forgiveness.
The Members wrote: “Without swift action, millions of dedicated teachers, first responders, service members and other public servants will face substantial harm due to preventable failures on the part of the Department and student loan servicers…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.”
“Not only has this Administration ignored the mounting warning signs about … but it has actively reduced oversight of student loan servicers—thereby contributing to the current problems in student loan servicing,” the Members continued.
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.
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.
Additionally, 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.