Press Release

AFT President Randi Weingarten on the Department of Education’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness Overhaul

Long-overdue changes championed by advocates will deliver urgently needed relief to borrowers wrongly denied what’s owed

For Release: 

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Contact:

Andrew Crook
o: 202-393-8637 | c: 607-280-6603
acrook@aft.org

WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Education acted to repair the nation’s broken Public Service Loan Forgiveness program:

“For years, educators, nurses and public employees advocated fiercely to force the federal government to fulfill the bipartisan promise of public service loan forgiveness. Today we breathe a collective sigh of relief as the Kafkaesque system that dashed the dreams of far too many finally starts to be dismantled. 

“PSLF was created to ease the burden of student loan debt for a generation who’ve dedicated their lives to serving the public and who were on the frontlines of our pandemic response. Now, more than ever, we owe it to them to erase their debt and repair a broken process that placed their future in the hands of inept and fraudulent loan servicers.

“The AFT repeatedly highlighted the absurd administrative hoops and glitches that saw people get denied if their servicer entered the wrong number on a form or misspelled the name of their employer or counted their payments incorrectly.

“It’s clear that former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made no attempt to address these issues—that’s why we sued her. And so, we welcome Education Secretary Miguel Cardona’s decision to deliver assistance to those who, through no fault of their own, made qualifying payments but were overruled by clerical oversights, inaccurate information or a deliberate lack of transparency. 

“The AFT will continue to ensure that our members can access these changes and will fight on their behalf for past wrongs to be righted. These wounds will take time to heal. But the Biden administration’s decision to act is a giant step in the direction of both basic fairness and legislative intent.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.