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Attorney General William Tong

08/29/2019

ATTORNEY GENERAL TONG TO EDUCATION SECRETARY DEVOS: DELIVER ON THE PROMISE TO AMERICA’S PUBLIC SERVANTS

Department of Education data indicates only 864 of 76,002 Public Service Loan Forgiveness applications have been approved

(Hartford, CT) -- Attorney General William Tong today joined a coalition of attorneys general in sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos urging once again that the U.S. Department of Education provide data to help states address the ongoing problems with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.

The PSLF program was created in 2007 to help student loan borrowers who aspire to give back to their country or community by working in a public service field. On October 5, 2018, Connecticut joined a multistate coalition in issuing a letter to the Department of Education expressing concerns about implementation of PSLF and requested data from the Department. At that time, the attorneys general requested that the Department provide information about the program and its plans to reform to program. In response, the Department in July 2019 shared incomplete information that was not fully responsive to the states’ request. In today’s letter, the coalition raises alarms about the ongoing mishandling of the PSLF program, noting that borrowers may be forced to choose between public service careers and being able to repay their student loans.

"Secretary DeVos has incompetently managed this program, and hardworking public servants across the nation are paying the price. As a result, teachers, police officers, nurses and others have been forced to jump through needless bureaucratic hoops, given bad information, and wrongly denied benefits. Adding insult to injury, Secretary DeVos' refusal to provide state attorneys general the requested information is needlessly obstructing our efforts to help fix the loan servicing problems that have led to this morass. If Secretary DeVos is uninterested in helping students and families solve this major problem, then she needs to get out of the way and let us do our job," said Attorney General William Tong.

In the letter, the coalition reiterated that data from the Department would help states address the ongoing problems with PSLF, but the publicly available data that Secretary DeVos provided states thus far goes only a short way toward a full accounting of the current situation for borrowers who are relying on PSLF. Data provided by the U.S. Department of Education indicates that only 864 of 76,002 applications for PSLF have been approved and only 442 of 12,429 applications to the Temporary Expanded PSLF program have been approved. The data shows that tens of thousands of borrowers have been denied. Therefore, the coalition has requested better data from the U.S. Department of Education in order to examine the scope and source of the problems to assist these borrowers.

The coalition sending the letter includes the attorneys general of California, Illinois, Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, and the District of Columbia. The coalition was led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul.


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