Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul says that public servants should be given student loan forgiveness by the federal government. Raoul joined 21 other Attorneys General in filing an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court in support of public servants who were promised federal student loan debt forgiveness in exchange for 10 years of public service, but who, after serving that time, have been denied debt relief due to the U.S. Department of Education’s mismanagement.
According to public servant borrowers and federal government reports, the U.S. Department of Education has committed pervasive errors in administering the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. As a result, less than one percent of all applicants have received relief. In the brief, Raoul stressed the importance of the PSLF program and asked the court to closely review borrowers’ specific allegations.
The PSLF program allows borrowers who pay down their loans while working for 10 years in a qualifying public service job, such as teachers, law enforcement officers, and members of the military, to have the remainder of their federal direct student loans forgiven. This program gives public servants who may not have higher salaries the opportunity to pay off their student debt. According to Department of Education reports, more than 1 million Americans intend to apply for PSLF. Nearly two-thirds of these people have annual salaries of less than $50,000. According to Raoul’s office, the Department of Education has denied relief to more than 99 percent of applicants. The first PSLF borrowers became eligible for forgiveness in October 2017. Since then, 90,962 people have applied for loan discharge pursuant to PSLF, but only 845 people have received it.
Student borrowers who have been denied for PSLF, have concerns about their progress towards PSLF forgiveness, have questions or are in need of assistance can call the Attorney General’s Student Loan Helpline at 1-800-455-2456 or can file a complaint on the Attorney General’s website.