AFT’s Weingarten on Improvements to Public Service Loan Forgiveness
WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Education announced crucial fixes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
“While we would have liked the waiver to have been extended, today’s announcement is an important step in ensuring that, long-term, the promise of PSLF is a promise kept. These lasting changes create durable fixes to the bipartisan program that was meant to help those who’ve dedicated their lives to helping others, but instead ensnared them in a nightmare of red tape.
“The AFT has fought to stop borrowers from falling through the cracks and advocated for extending the current interim fix until these new regulations go live next July. We have heard from countless members across the country who took advantage of the PSLF waiver and saw their student debt balances go down to zero.
“Disgraced former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was determined to side with her predatory loan servicer friends rather than the students she was sworn to represent. Under DeVos’ regime, thousands of borrowers eligible for PSLF simply gave up. By contrast, the Biden administration has listened—and acted.
“The protections in the Weingarten v. DeVos settlement are key. If not for our lawsuit, there would be no reconsideration process for those whose applications were erroneously denied. The waiver advanced many of the same aims and terms of the settlement, including by providing borrowers a means of reconsideration and upward adjustment of qualifying payments. It was a way for the department to meet its obligations under the settlement and help borrowers who failed to qualify for PSLF because of servicer or administrative errors.
“Today’s decision extends beyond the PSLF waiver and will be permanent after the regulations are implemented next year. It allows borrowers to submit a reconsideration of their denied applications. For the fullest consideration of their applications with all of the benefits of the waiver, we urge all borrowers to submit a request before October 31.
“This is a positive development. But the AFT won’t stop fighting until loan servicers are held accountable and every single public service worker gets the forgiveness promised in the 2007 law.”
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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.