by Countable | 4.4.17
In late 2007 Congress passed a sweeping federal student loan program overhaul bill with strong bipartisan support. The bill established the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). The PSLF was designed to encourage students to go into the public sector by offering them loan forgiveness on any remaining balances due on direct loans after 10 years (120 months) of qualifying loan payments.
The first applications are expected to be submitted for the final loan forgiveness starting in October of 2017 and some borrowers are worried that the Education Department will renege on the deal. Four borrowers, in concert with the American Bar Association, have filed a suit in U.S. District Court against the department to force them to follow through on the promises of the program.
The primary issue, according to the plaintiffs, is a lack of clarity on the part of the Education Department about qualification for the program. Participants are encouraged, though not required, to re-submit for certification of their qualification annually. The plaintiffs in the suit did that, got letters certifying their qualification from the Department’s designated loan servicer — FedLoan — and then later got letters saying they were no longer qualified and had been certified in error, making the decertification retroactive. They were given no information how to appeal the decision.
Last week the Department stated in court filings that FedLoan certifications cannot be relied upon to be accurate. The application for final loan forgiveness has yet to appear on the Education Department website, and there is no information about what borrowers can do if they feel they’ve been denied certification unfairly.
Nobody knows how the 550,000 people who are currently enrolled in the program are going to navigate the final loan forgiveness process. Those borrowers expecting to complete their 120 months of qualifying payments in October may sail right through or they may be looking at capitalization of tens of thousands of dollars of debt and no recourse.
Should Congress force the Education Department to honor FedLoan’s certifications and clarify the details of the loan program for the protection of borrowers? Tell your reps what you think!
— Asha Sanaker
(Photo Credit: Public Domain)
Written by Countable
How is it even a consideration to rescind this program? Anyone who votes to do so does not represent the best interest the American People. As it is, us non-governmental organizations are underfunded and clearly under appreciated. Some organizations doing great work can't afford to pay healthy wages, and now you want to take away an incentive that could drive good talent to these essential organizations? Either this is very sinister or terribly short-sighted.
A promise is a promise. Please honor the student loan forgiveness program that encourages college grads to go into Public Service.
The school system is already incredibly under-funded. This is a perfect way to allow teacher to start to get some sort of reward that should go to them for their public service
I have already been paying on my student loans for 17 years, but was just recently qualified for the public service loan forgiveness program last year. I was really hoping for only 9 more years of payment instead of 16, so that I could try to help my own children avoid so much college debt. Please follow through on this program. For me and for my children.
Please continue this program. It helps so many people who want to better their lives as well as people around them through public services. Losing this will be damaging.
The loan forgiveness program begun in 2007 was designed to encourage newly minted attorneys to enter public service. Since student debt has risen to an astronomical high, graduating law students simply cannot afford to work in public service and pay loan installments. Those who relied on the program have a legal right to enforce the government's promise, and reneging by the government would be unconscionable. Why screw students and public service attorneys? It's insane. Take action for people that matter!!!
I went to a state university to become a Registered Nurse and went on to work a state run hospital. My husband went to school for education and is now a teacher for a NYC DOE school. We cannot afford to buy a home due to our student loans and both have been looking forward to having our loans forgiven through the PSLF act. Our government can bail out big banks and big auto but they can't help their next generation survive financially? My husband and I and many friends are relying on this Act in order to thrive in the future. Please make the Department of Education keep its word on forgiving loans on those who entered this program and hold them accountable for the future as well. Thank you.
Congress absolutely needs to follow through with the loan forgiveness promise. I am one of those impacted by this decision. I am a teacher at Spokane Falls Community College and without this program I would have to find work elsewhere and give up my tenure at SFCC. Teaching pay is not sufficient and this program is the only reason I can still do what I love. Please fight for me and the thousands of others impacted by ignoring the agreements we were given though fedloan.
Keep your promise to those who went into public service and forgive their loans. Please keep this program going. It is important.
This is shameful. Can't anybody in Washington do what they say they are going to do anymore?!?!?! Honor your commitments! Forgive the loans for those who are qualified for loan forgiveness.
A promise is a promise. If this is what Congress does, the trust will erode even more. This is a great program that benefits everyone.
This program should be continued. I'd like to see it modified so more people qualify for help. We could take some of the money being wasted on trips to Mar-A-Lago and security for Trump Tower and apply it to this.
The PLSF should absolutely keep its loan forgiveness promise. The loan forgiveness program benefits students and underserved communities who may not have health care providers or legal aid without it. Do not breach your promises.
This program is extremely beneficial. It encourages highly qualified people to serve in the public sector and allows them to do so without financial hardships. You can't attract talent when they know they will never make enough to repay their student loans. You certainly cannot turn your back on the people who entered the program in good faith.
The government should stand by the public service loans promises that were made as it's the ethical step to make. Clarifications can be made but, those already enrolled have a government promise made in good faith and should be served by it.
Please support the applicants of the PSLF program. Those people work hard for not much money in order to serve the public sector. They deserve to be debt free!
Please support the Loan Forgiveness program. Many such smaller scale programs work well to incentivize recipients of this type of fund in order to provide, for example, medical staffing to remote areas in exchange for loan forgiveness. Incentives for federal jobs are crucial to certain sectors, and this would provide a powerful one which could also guarantee continuity in those sectors (at least ten years' service in exchange for the funding)
Please continue to enforce this law! Please re in force it! Please make it unable to be changed! When our education system costs more than one can hope to ever pay back, these types of encouragements need to remain. I would add that the government should not make money on this, as in all loans should be interest free!
Please support the PSLF. This government commitment should be honored.
Please support continuation of and clarification of the Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness program and make sure it's terms are honored to those who now qualified for payment after their 10 years of service. This is a real win-win for both the country and the loan recicients.