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The U.S. Department of Education signaled it will make it easier to apply for Public Service Loan Forgiveness after the application process has faced criticism for being too unwieldy.
In a notice published in the Federal Register Thursday, the department said it plans to consolidate the two forms required to apply for the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TESPLF) program into one, essentially no longer requiring people file a separate Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) application.
The process came under fire after a Government Accountability Office report last September found only 1 percent of the 54,000 applications for TESPLF were approved in the year prior to May 2019. Seventy-one percent of the denials were because the borrower didn’t submit the PSLF form.
“This is just another action we are taking as part of our commitment to simplifying the program,” an Education Department spokeswoman said in a statement Friday.
Representative Bobby Scott, the Virginia Democrat who chairs the House education committee, said the department’s work is not done. "I am relieved that -- in response to intense public pressure --- the department is finally taking a step toward fixing the PSLF application process," he said in a statement. "However, this change alone does not satisfy the department’s responsibility to faithfully implement the law. Secretary DeVos and the Trump administration must clearly communicate these changes to student borrowers, and then quickly process claims so that borrowers can get relief."