Internal Records Expose the Fundamental Failures of the Government’s Student Loan Collection Machine
In July 2021, the National Student Legal Defense Network (Student Defense) submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Department of Education (ED) seeking internal and external administrative wage garnishment (AWG) communications between ED and private third parties, records of borrower complaints concerning garnishment, and more. ED refused to release responsive records within the timeframe required by FOIA, leading Student Defense to sue to compel a response. Spurred by the litigation, in late 2021 ED released roughly 2,000 pages of reports, communications, and other records concerning its management of the AWG program during COVID.
The records ED provided consist of the following nine documents, referred to as Appendix 1 through Appendix 9: