According to the LA Times, thousands of public servants have applied to have their federal student loans forgiven through the U.S. Education temporary relief program. Less than 300 people have been successful. One of the lawmakers who supported the initiative wants to know why.
“We authorized $700 million dollars to help ensure public servants — including firefighters, teachers and nurses — receive the loan forgiveness they have earned, and it’s maddening that the Trump administration is letting it go to waste,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said in an email.
Kaine, alone with other Senate Democrats, say that the Education Department has created eligibility criteria that are much more rigid than had been envisioned by Congress. The expansion given in the fiscal 2018 budget based on Kaine and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s (D-RI) legislation directed the Education Department to develop an easy way for borrowers to apply for loan forgiveness. Instead, the department has restricted access with a variety of rules.
The goal for the program, launched about a year ago, was to give public servants who were enrolled in the wrong repayment plan a chance to erase their debt.
38,460 people submitted requests for forgiveness. 28,640 people were immediately rejected because they hadn’t previously filled out a formal loan forgiveness application. This is just one of the many onerous criteria of the program.
9,820 were not immediately rejected, and of those, 1,184 people are still being considered. The rest were rejected for various reasons.
“The Department thoroughly evaluates, approves, and denies requests for consideration for Temporary Expanded Loan Forgiveness based on the criteria Congress established,” Education Department spokeswoman Liz Hill said in an email.
Only 262 people have had their loans forgiven, meaning only $10.6 million in student loans was forgiven, a tiny amount.
“We’re talking about thousands of people who have given a decade of service to our country, and the Education Department is leaving them out to dry,” Kaine said Tuesday.
Many borrowers received no explanation for why their requests were denied, to their immense frustration.
Read the full story here.