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Rep. Courtney Statement on Department of Education Failures on Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

July 15, 2019
Press Release
Says that Congress must work protect those who have built their careers around the program

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) took to the House Floor to highlight a new lawsuit aimed at the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) failure to properly administer the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. Courtney’s remarks come following reports of a lawsuit recently filed against ED and Secretary Betsy DeVos by the American Federation of Teachers, which seeks to hold the Department accountable for its “gross mismanagement” of PSLF and Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF). Further, the lawsuit seeks to compel the Department to provide PSLF and TEPSLF applicants with a timely, transparent procedure for processing loan forgiveness applications, and ultimately grant loan forgiveness for specific cases that are pending.

In his remarks, Courtney stated that in 2007, he helped to pass the College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA), which created the PSLF Program as a means to attract more Americans to careers like teaching, public health, and law enforcement; and provided those who served in these critical public service occupations a mechanism to discharge the balance of their student loan following ten years of consistent, on-time payments. Rep. Courtney went on to note that due to a combination of Department failures and unscrupulous student loan servicers, less than 1% of PSLF applicants have had their student loans forgiven since enactment of the CCRAA in 2007.

Click here to watch Congressman Courtney’s remarks on the PSLF

Today’s remarks are the latest in Congressman Courtney’s longstanding effort to protect student loan borrowers from unfair and deceptive industry practices by unscrupulous student loan servicers. In April, at a House Education and Labor Committee hearing, Rep. Courtney questioned Secretary DeVos on her Department’s actions to undermine protections for student loan borrowers against shady loan servicers when it issued a memorandum that barred student loan servicers from releasing important information to state law enforcement officials, hindering their ability—as well as the ability of federal agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)—to maintain proper oversight of loan servicers who might be engaged in unscrupulous practices.

In June, The Day newspaper published an opinion editorial authored jointly by Congressman Courtney and Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, regarding the need for increased oversight over student loan servicers. Click here to read the full article.

In October of 2018, Congressman Courtney wrote to Secretary DeVos to seek additional information about the ED’s handling of the PSLF program given new data at the time that showed an alarming number of PSLF borrowers were being denied loan forgiveness. Click here to reach the full letter.