- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for AG Healey Joins Bipartisan Coalition in Fight for Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Boston — Attorney General Maura Healey today joined a bipartisan coalition of states in filing an amicus brief to ensure that student borrowers who dedicate their lives to public service get the debt relief they deserve.
The brief, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is in support of a lawsuit – Weingarten v. DeVos – that alleges gross mismanagement of the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education.
According to the brief, since first becoming eligible for loan forgiveness in October 2017, a total of 90,962 PSLF borrowers applied for loan discharges, but only 845 people – less than one percent of all applicants – have received it.
“This program was designed to help students pursue lower-paying careers in public service – but instead it’s pricing them out,” AG Healey said. “I am joining with my colleagues today to protect our students being deprived of the benefits of PSLF, and ensure they get the relief they were promised.”
According to the brief, eligible public servants are being denied debt forgiveness due to pervasive errors in administering the program, including mistakes in record-keeping, providing inaccurate information to borrowers, steering borrowers to take actions that made their payments ineligible, and failing to explain why applications were denied.
The PSLF program allows borrowers who make payments under specific repayment plans while working full-time in a public service job, such as teachers, nurses, police officers, government employees and members of the military, to have the remainder of their federal direct student loans forgiven after 10 years of qualifying payments. In creating the PSLF program, Congress recognized that students with significant amounts of debt were often priced out of public service careers because the lower-paying jobs could not cover their student loan payments.
AG Healey has established herself as a national leader on behalf of distressed student borrowers, including those pursuing public service careers. In 2017, AG Healey sued Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) – doing business as FedLoan Servicing – for violating state and federal laws by causing public servants to lose benefits and financial assistance under PSLF.
Massachusetts borrowers who are looking for student loan help or information should visit the AG’s Student Loan Assistance page or call the Student Loan Assistance Unit Hotline at 1-888-830-6277.
AG Healey joined today’s brief, led by North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, along with 19 other attorneys general, including those from California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
This matter was handled in AG Healey’s Office by Assistant Attorney General Yael Shavit of the AG’s Consumer Protection Division.