Demand Fair and Consistent Treatment of Student Loan Borrowers in Public Service The letter expresses concern over announcements that borrowers may not be able to rely on notices they have previously received about their eligibility for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).
BigNews.Biz - Apr 12,2017 - Leahy, Sanders And Other Democratic Senators Demand Fair and Consistent Treatment of Student Loan Borrowers in Public Service
Sen. Patrick Leahy and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) joined a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos led by Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and sent by a total of 36 senators. The letter expresses concern over announcements that borrowers may not be able to rely on notices they have previously received about their eligibility for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).
Leahy said: “The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program was a bipartisan law, signed into law by President Bush. It was created to give graduates incentives to seek meaningful work in the public interest. Student loan borrowers who decide on careers in public service should not be given confusing or conflicting information on whether or not they qualify for the loan forgiveness program. We are calling on the Department of Education to act swiftly in response to our letter, and to address the real and timely concerns that we have heard from borrowers in Vermont about the consistency and accessibility of this program.”
Sanders, who serves on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, said: “At a time when most students graduate college with more than $30,000 in debt, and those with advanced degrees can have $100,000 or more in debt, we should be providing workers in public service clarity -- not confusion -- about the loan forgiveness they are entitled to. If the Education Department told a borrower in error that they were eligible for forgiveness, that borrower should be grandfathered in. They should not have the rug pulled out from under them. This is just one more example of why we need to radically rethink how we pay for higher education. It makes no sense to burden young adults entering the workforce with unsustainable mountains of debt.”
The letter was sent April 6 to Secretary DeVos. “Our nation’s student loan borrowers who uphold their commitments expect the federal government to do the same. Members of our military, first responders, teachers, social workers, public defenders, and many other honorable public servants across the country are dedicating 10 or more years of their lives to help their communities in return for the basic promise of relief on their student loan debt,” wrote the senators.
“It is unacceptable for the Department to have told students they may rely on PSLF to help pay their student loans, only to have that assurance suddenly revoked,” the letter continued. “Borrowers who have been told in error that their employers qualify for PSLF should at a minimum be grandfathered-in for the period they were previously approved, even if the Department intends to change its determination about qualifying employment going forward.”
Following recent reporting by the New York Times and others about the uncertainty created by the Department’s latest court filings, many student loan borrowers were concerned and confused about their future financial obligations even while they