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Department of Ed Told to Offer Guidance on Loan Program

September 28, 2018

The Education Department has not provided enough guidance on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to borrowers or loan servicers, a Government Accountability Office report found.

The GAO report said communication is so fragmented and piecemeal that staff of PHEAA, the loan servicer that handles PSLF applications, is sometimes unaware of clarifications of key policy information.

Both the servicer and borrowers have also had to operate without a definitive source from the department to consult on employer eligibility for the program, GAO found. And the department has not made sure PHEAA receives the right information on borrowers' loan payments from their previous servicers, the report found, leading to miscounting of qualifying payments.

The report was released Thursday by Democrats on the House Education and Workforce Committee.

“The GAO report makes clear that the Trump administration’s failure to faithfully implement the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is causing widespread confusion and uncertainty for public servants," said Representative Bobby Scott, a Virginia Democrat and the ranking member on the committee. "Despite the administration’s consistent hostility toward this popular program, it is still obligated to ensure that teachers, social workers, first responders and others who enter a career in public service are granted the debt forgiveness as federal law requires."

Data released by the Office of Federal Student Aid last week showed that as of June 30, just 96 borrowers had been approved for the program and received full loan forgiveness.


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