A top Education Department official said Wednesday that she could offer no timeline for the review of more than 158,000 outstanding borrower-defense claims.
Diane Auer Jones, the department's principal deputy under secretary, said at a House oversight subcommittee hearing that the Trump administration hasn't taken any action on the claims in close to a year because a federal judge in California blocked the use of a formula for awarding partial relief of loan forgiveness rolled out in 2017.
"We are not able to determine the level of harm or level of relief a borrower should get because the methodology we have used is being blocked by a California court," she said.
Jones told Representative Ayanna Pressley, a Massachusetts Democrat, in response to questions on the backlog that she could not commit to a time frame for awarding more debt relief pending a further ruling on the court's injunction issued last year.
The borrower-defense process allows borrowers to seek cancellation of their federal student loans if they were misled or deceived by their college. Pressley called the backlog "absolutely unacceptable."
"Each and every one of these outstanding claims represents a defrauded and harmed student," she said.