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The American Bar Association is suing the Department of Education over the denial of Public Service Loan Forgiveness to four attorneys employed at the association and previously approved for the program.

The lawsuit claims that three plaintiffs received employment verification for the program and a fourth believed she qualified because she worked at a nonprofit employer certified by the department before it dropped the ABA and other public interest law organizations from the program. The ABA says in the lawsuit that qualifying as an eligible employer under PSLF its essential to its recruitment and retention efforts. The lawsuit was filed after multiple attempts to resolve its eligibility with the department, the association said in a release.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness was enacted in 2007 to allow borrowers of federal direct student loans working in public service careers to have their loans discharged after 10 years and making 120 qualifying monthly payments under an income-driven repayment plan. Data released by the department in August showed that more than 430,000 student loan borrowers had submitted at least one employment certification form required to qualify for the loan forgiveness program.

"The PSLF program promised these dedicated lawyers a chance at financial stability in return for doing public service work," said ABA President Linda A. Klein. "After following the rules, these people had the rug pulled out from them."