A group of nearly two dozen state Attorneys General have written a letter to President Biden and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, asking them to extend the deadline for individuals to file claims under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, arguing that too many eligible candidates are still unaware or confused by the waiver.
A copy of the letter, signed by the Attorneys General of Illinois, Massachusetts, California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin is available by clicking here.
The PSLF program offers individuals the opportunity to have their student loan debts forgiven if they meet certain criteria and work in an eligible public service job. But the program has been plagued by a high degree of rejections — about 98% of those who have applied for loan forgiveness have been denied — largely because the individuals had certain student loans that were not eligible to be forgiven.
To fix that, the Department of Education has been taking steps to address the situation, first by making 22,000 individuals immediately eligible to have their loans forgiven, and then allowing an additional 550,000 individuals to move closer to loan forgiveness by filling out a waiver. Under the waiver, any past payment on a federal student loan by a borrower working in public service counts toward PSLF eligibility, regardless of the payment plan, loan type, or whether the payment was made in full or on-time.
In their letter, the AGs call on the Biden Administration to count all forbearance periods toward loan forgiveness, rather than making exceptions for service members and longer periods of forbearance for everyone else. “Failure to automatically count periods of forbearance toward loan forgiveness ignores pervasive and well-established servicing problems and inappropriately shifts the burden to borrowers to identify and prove that they were victims of servicer misconduct,” the AGs wrote.