October 13, 2021 | WASHINGTON, D.C. — Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Education and American Federation of Teachers announced an historic settlement building on the recently-announced overhaul of the struggling Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
In response to this announcement, Student Borrower Protection Center Executive Director Seth Frotman released the following statement:
“Today’s announcement turns the page on years of mismanagement and abuse plaguing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. This settlement, paired with the sweeping reforms announced earlier this month, will chart a new course for public service workers who have been denied the debt relief they are entitled to under the law. These borrowers are lucky to have the American Federation of Teachers and AFT President Randi Weingarten, who have been relentless in demanding that the government uphold its promise to provide relief to teachers, nurses, and so many others serving in communities across the country. It is clear that change has finally arrived for millions of public service workers with student debt.”
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program was created by Congress in 2007 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 federal government and the student loan industry. As a result, the program has a 98 percent rejection rate—and the expansion meant to fix it has a 97 percent denial rate. Underlying these statistics, millions of public service workers have been cheated out of their right to loan forgiveness guaranteed under federal law. Across the country, public service workers have been forced to shoulder debts that should have been canceled under the law.
Last week, the Department of Education announced steps to overhaul the PSLF program and make promised relief accessible to hundreds of thousands of public service workers. This announcement came after years of pressure by advocates and 45,000 borrowers sharing their stories in response to a public inquiry launched by the Biden Administration earlier this year.
The Student Borrower Protection Center is a nonprofit organization focused on alleviating the burden of student debt for millions of Americans. The SBPC engages in advocacy, policymaking, and litigation strategy to rein in industry abuses, protect borrowers’ rights, and advance economic opportunity for the next generation of students.