Sarbanes, Scott, Davis Lead House and Senate Democrats in Urging Secretary DeVos to Address the Education Department’s Failure to Implement the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

More Than 150 Democrats Call on DeVos to Release Information about the Department’s Mishandling of the PSLF Program and Act Quickly to Fix Its Flaws in Administering It
October 18, 2018
CONTACT: Daniel Jacobs
(202) 225-4016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Sarbanes (MD-03) today joined House Committee on Education and the Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03), Representative Susan Davis (CA-53), Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) in leading more than 150 Democrats urging Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to turn over more information about the Department’s mishandling of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program and act swiftly to correct the Department’s flaws in managing the program.

Authored by Congressman Sarbanes, the PSLF Program provides student loan debt relief to our nation’s public servants – including teachers, public defenders, social workers, service members and community health care workers – who make tremendous contributions to American communities for far less compensation than their private-sector peers.

The Democrats’ request comes after a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report revealed that an alarming number of PSLF borrowers – 99.6 percent of applicants – have been denied loan forgiveness. The report also illustrated that the Department of Education has neglected to provide clear guidance and instructions to loan servicers. This failure has left servicers and borrowers in the dark about which employers qualify for the program – and has left borrowers without detailed, accurate information regarding their loan payments. Previous requests to Secretary DeVos about improving the PSLF program have gone unanswered and the Administration has even proposed eliminating the program entirely.

“We are deeply troubled that millions of dedicated public servants may not obtain the loan forgiveness that they deserve if the Department does not act quickly to correct program implementation issues,” the Members wrote.

The Members continued: “Consumer advocates, state regulators, Members of Congress, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and GAO have all repeatedly raised alarms about the Department’s handling of the PSLF program. Not only has this Administration ignored the mounting warning signs about PSLF as the October 1, 2017 date for accepting applications approached, but it has actively reduced oversight of student loan servicers-thereby contributing to the current problems in student loan servicing.”

See here for full text of the letter.

To read more about the GAO report, see here and here.