Press Release

AFT President Randi Weingarten Slams Education Department for Deliberate Sabotage of Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Data Reveal Betsy DeVos Ignored Congress’ Intent to Fix Troubled Loan Program, Erected Barriers Instead

For Release: 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Contact:

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

WASHINGTON—In response to new data released to Sen. Tim Kaine indicating 85 percent of applications for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program were rejected by the Department of Education despite a Congressional fix, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement. Hundreds of thousands of AFT members are eligible for PSLF.

“This is a deliberate and cynical betrayal of Congress’—and the American people’s—intent. Instead of working with lawmakers to improve the loan forgiveness program that millions of teachers, firefighters and nurses deserve, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos decided to attack it. This shameful sabotage of a bipartisan government initiative cannot be allowed to stand.

“Twelve years ago, Congress made a commitment to help millions of workers pay off their student loan debt as recognition for their dedicated service. Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump have broken that promise and, just as they have done on healthcare, caused irreparable harm to families and communities.

“These borrowers qualify for debt relief, and desperately need it, yet just 200 out of the tens of thousands who jumped through the hoops DeVos erected had loans discharged. Others applied in good faith for PSLF, only to learn years later about botched paperwork and misprocessed payments—all at the hands of a department and its contractors doing everything in their power to shut the door on their futures.

“Next week, when DeVos returns to Congress to testify, I hope she plans to explain to the American people why she continues to use her department to insult, rather than help, the people she is sworn to serve.”

 

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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.