Press Release

AFT’s Weingarten Reacts to Damning GAO Report on Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness

For Release: 

Thursday, September 5, 2019

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 Government Accountability Office released a report showing that the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness program approved just 1 percent of applicants. Hundreds of thousands of AFT members are eligible for loan forgiveness but are yet to receive it.

“Once again, Betsy DeVos has refused to do her job when it comes to the millions of American teachers, nurses, firefighters and public employees promised loan forgiveness. DeVos and the Trump administration have the capacity and authority to fix Public Service Loan Forgiveness to help these workers—just as they just did for disabled veterans—but choose instead to stymie it. DeVos stands idly by while borrowers try desperately to do the right thing, blames Congress, and then uses the courts to stop anyone else from getting borrowers the relief they’re owed.

“Congress deliberately and purposefully required ‘simple’ TEPSLF processes. But the secretary is throwing up roadblocks at every turn. Only $27 million out of the $700 million allocated by Congress for the program has been utilized.

“It’s because of loan forgiveness debacles like this that we’re suing DeVos for her refusal to side with borrowers. And it’s why we’re also suing Navient for its rampant profiteering off of students’ misery. DeVos can make good on the bipartisan promise of PSLF. Sadly, she’d rather condemn dedicated American public servants to a never-ending ‘debt sentence.’ It’s unconscionable, and it cannot stand.”​

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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.