WASHINGTON – The Department of Education announced steps to reform the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program on Wednesday. In response to this announcement, the Student PIRGs made the following statement:
“Today President Biden and Secretary Cardona took an important step towards relieving student loan debt for millions of Americans who serve our country. The promise of student loan forgiveness for those who commit themselves to public service will make it easier for students in my generation to choose careers in teaching, nursing, and non-profit service work.” Kerouac Awbrey, student leader at the University of Colorado Boulder
The idea behind the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program is simple: work as a teacher, for a C3 non-profit, in social work, or any other public service for ten years and have your remaining student debt forgiven.
Unfortunately since the program was established in 2007, 98% of applicants to the program have been denied loan forgiveness due to problems with the program. In addition —
- Out of hundreds of thousands of military members with student debt, only 124 have had their loans forgiven.
- A nearly 150,000 PSLF application backlog is causing borrowers months of delay and uncertainty around when loan payments restart.
- Mismanagement and abuse by student loan companies have left hundreds of thousands deeper in debt and blocked access to PSLF for those with older federal loans.
Estimates show that fixing this program would cancel student debt for an estimated 25% of borrowers in the United States.
The Student PIRGs advocated for the establishment of the PSLF program and joined more than 200 organizations to call for it’s reform through public comments and student lobby days.