Press Release

AFT’s Weingarten on Watchdog Report Exposing Department of Education’s Mismanagement of Federal Student Aid Program

For Release: 

Thursday, February 14, 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 Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Education issued a damning report exposing an alarming lack of oversight of nine student loan giants responsible for handling the loans of tens of millions of American student loan borrowers:

“Talk about a scandal that has real-life, everyday consequences: Secretary Betsy DeVos and those she has appointed have hurt millions of American students. Instead of protecting borrowers, the secretary has handed over the keys to a rogue loan-servicing industry determined to exploit them. 

“Among a litany of disturbing and potentially actionable findings, the report spells out how DeVos misled Congress and the public while shielding Navient from the consequences of its abuses. It reveals a pattern of department staff lying to the Office of Inspector General and, perhaps most damning of all, shows how 92 percent of call logs reviewed by the OIG showed servicers did not provide sufficient options to borrowers.

“Navient and others are set up to siphon off taxpayer dollars and turn them into profits, and that is why our members are suing them. This deliberate pattern and practice of exploitation hurts those who want a shot at a better life. And it exposes what we have long suspected: DeVos will never miss an opportunity to put borrowers’ interests—and the public interest—dead last.

“In the aftermath of this report, those responsible for this misconduct must resign, and Congress must convene hearings immediately with an eye toward crafting legislation to help student loan borrowers.” 

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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.