AG James to Education Secretary DeVos: Deliver on the promise to America’s public servants

Attorney General Letitia James

Department of Education data indicates only 864 of 76,002 public service loan forgiveness applications have been approved

Attorney General Letitia James today sent a letter with a coalition of 11 other attorneys general 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 program. 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. 

 “Promises made must be promises kept,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “Tens of thousands of Americans were promised this critical financial support in exchange for their service, yet the vast majority have not received a single dime. Once again, we are calling on the Department of Education to rectify this situation and ensure that they make good on their commitment to help those who keep our country moving every day.” 

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, New York Office of the Attorney General and a multistate coalition issued a letter to the DOE expressing concerns about implementation of PSLF and requested data from the DOE. At that time, the attorneys general requested that the DOE provide information about the program and its plans to reform the program. In response, the DOE in July 2019 shared incomplete information that was not fully responsive to the states’ request.   

In today’s letter, the coalition reiterated that data from the DOE 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 DOE 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 DOE in order to examine the scope and source of the problems to assist these borrowers. 

Joining New York Attorney General Letitia James in sending the letter are the attorneys general of California, Illinois, Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

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