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Public Service Loan Forgiveness

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The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program was created to provide public service workers with student loan debt relief in exchange for a decade of service in their communities. Unfortunately, since its inception, the program has been mishandled and undermined by the Department of Education and the student loan industry. As a result, millions of public service workers have been cheated out of their right to loan forgiveness guaranteed under federal law.

The SBPC is working with partners to expose mismanagement and abuse in the PSLF program and to advocate for reforms to better protect borrowers working in public service.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Campaign:

Share Your Public Service Loan Forgiveness Story

For the first time, the federal government is asking borrowers to share their PSLF stories. This is our chance to make the case directly to President Biden and Secretary Cardona that the program is broken and that only sweeping action to deliver debt relief can right a decade of wrongs. Public service workers have done their part. Now it is time to keep the promise of PSLF.

Documents from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency on Employer Certification Form Denials and Reasons for Denial

In an effort to continue investigating ongoing breakdowns denying borrowers access to PSLF, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the SBPC uncovered thousands of pages of documents from the company the Department of Education contracts with to manage PSLF: PHEAA.

Supporting Public Service Workers:

130+ Groups Send Letter to White House Calling for Extension and Expansion of Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Income-Driven Repayment Student Debt Relief Programs

A coalition of 134 diverse advocacy organizations urge Biden to extend and expand the PSLF Waiver and IDR Adjustment programs.

The PSLF Waiver Has Been a Huge Success, and It May Be Just Hitting Its Stride. Why End It?

The PSLF waiver has been a phenomenal success—and it may just be getting started in delivering its powerful benefits. The Biden Administration should take the commonsense step of preventing it from expiring.

New Analysis: More Than 9 Million Public Service Workers with Federal Student Loans Eligible to Pursue Debt Cancellation, Fewer Than 2 Percent Have Received Relief, and Only 15 Percent On Track

The SBPC released a new estimate that over 9 million public service workers with federal student loans are eligible for debt cancellation through PSLF, and a coalition of labor unions representing more than 7.5 million workers joined with SBPC to launch a national campaign to reach public service workers.

Advocates Demand Industry Deliver Borrowers their Right to PSLF

The SBPC and a coalition of the nation’s largest unions representing millions of public service workers sent letters to large student loan companies demanding immediate action to ensure successful implementation of ED’s recent overhaul of PSLF.

Letter to PHEAA Warning of Potential Consumer Protection Violations Related to PSLF Implementation

In a letter to PHEAA, the SBPC warns the company that providing incorrect, misleading information to borrowers related to the recent overhaul of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program violates federal and state consumer financial protections.

A Roadmap for Fixing PSLF for Future Generations

A new memo provides a clear roadmap the Department of Education can use to remove unnecessary constraints for PSLF qualification, hold borrowers blameless for well-documented industry abuses and failures, and change ED’s own policies and procedures for overseeing the program.

Newly Uncovered Internal Projections from a Department of Education Contractor Show PSLF Problems Will Persist Over Time

New evidence uncovered through a Freedom of Information Act request indicates that without bold and swift action by the Secretary of Education and President Biden, PSLF is likely to fail the vast majority of borrowers working in public service over the long term.

Broken Promises: How the Department of Education’s Failures and Industry’s Abuses Deny FFEL Borrowers Public Service Loan Forgiveness

This report examines the challenges that borrowers with Federal Family Education Loans face when seeking to qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

SBPC and AFT Investigation on Servicing Breakdowns in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

The SBPC and AFT expose millions of student loan servicing errors in the PSLF program. The investigation found loans owed by at least 1.3 million borrowers had servicing errors due to the mismanagement of student loan servicing company Affiliated Computer Systems.

SBPC and AFT Investigation on Mismanagement and Abuse on Scandal-Plagued Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

The SBPC and AFT expose new instances of mismanagement and abuse in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

Keeping the Promise of Public Service Loan Forgiveness

This report details the SBPC and the American Federation of Teacher’s joint investigation into allegations of rampant mismanagement and industry abuses undermining the federal PSLF program.

SBPC and Labor Unions Demand CFPB Crackdown on Illegal Practices that Deny Public Service Workers Access to Loan Forgiveness

In a letter to CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger, the SBPC and labor unions, demand the CFPB utilize its authorities to protect student loan borrowers working in public service.

PSLF in the News:


Troubled Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program Will Get Overhaul

The changes will come in two phases — a long-term renovation to make the program easier to navigate, achieved through the federal process known as rule-making, and a temporary move using the department’s executive authority to retroactively relax the program’s rules to immediately help thousands of affected borrowers.


Thousands of Teachers Rejected for Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, New Data Shows

Thousands of teachers have been rejected for federal student loan forgiveness because they could not get the government to approve their work as public service, a key requirement for the long-troubled program, according to new data.

The Washington Post

Data Shows Only 20 Percent of Applicants for a Student Loan Forgiveness Program Will Receive Relief By 2026

There are about 1.3 million people pursuing Public Service Loan Forgiveness, a program that cancels federal student debt after 10 years of on-time payments for people who take public-sector jobs. But just 1 in 5 of those borrowers are on track to secure relief by 2026, according to an analysis released Thursday by the SBPC.

USA Today

Student Loan Forgiveness: Biden Can Restore a Broken Promise

Finlaw, and every other student loan borrower who has made their loan payments while working in public service for a decade, should have the entirety of their student debt canceled as Congress promised.


After 6 years, This Nurse Practitioner was Told Her Public-Service Job Did Not Qualify for Student-Debt Forgiveness. She Fought that Decision, But Many Others are Left in Limbo

A new report suggests that Straw is not alone in her experience. Since 2012, the Department of Education has told borrowers more than 50,000 times that their employer is ineligible for PSLF.


Exclusive: Turf War Blocked CFPB From Helping Fix Student Loan Forgiveness Program

Now NPR has learned that the nation’s most powerful consumer watchdog, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, launched an effort to fix problems but the Trump administration blocked it from trying to help.

A Teacher’s Student Loans Were Forgiven. Then FedLoan Wrecked His Credit

The forgiveness program is just one part of a fundamentally broken student loan servicing system, as the Department of Education’s own inspector general pointed out last week. 

The Washington Post

Seeking Forgiveness: The Dizzying Journey for Public Servants with Student Debt

To understand the complexity of the dispute process, it’s important to first understand the complexity of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.


Unions Press CFPB Over Public Service Loan Forgiveness

The letter, led by the Student Loan Borrower Protection Center and American Federation of Teachers, was signed by unions that collectively represent more than 17 million workers.

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