Rep. Porter and Chairman Connolly Seek Answers on Trump Administration’s 99% Denial Rate for Public Service Loan Forgiveness Applications

October 3, 2019
Press Release
Representatives lead 46 colleagues in investigating Administration’s failure to implement program forgiving student loans for those working in public service

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45) and Congressman Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Chairman of the Government Operations subcommittee, today demanded answers from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos following a recent report that the Department, under her leadership, has denied 99 percent of public service workers the debt relief that they earned. Porter was joined in her request by 46 House colleagues.

“The Administration’s failure to implement these loan forgiveness programs is a slap in the face to the hardworking Americans—firefighters, nurses, first responders, and teachers—who have dedicated their careers to helping their communities,” Congresswoman Porter said. “It’s unacceptable that Secretary Betsy DeVos has made our public servants jump through hoop after hoop to access the relief we promised them—leading to an astonishing 99 percent denial rate. I will continue working with Chairman Connolly and my House colleagues to make sure the Department of Education treats these borrowers fairly and consistent with congressional intent.”

“I thank Rep. Porter for her leadership on this effort. This is about sending a clear message to the Department of Education that we value public service,” Chairman Connolly said. “We have to provide eligible borrowers with fair and equitable access to the public service loan forgiveness program. That Secretary DeVos would not make this a priority is yet another sad commentary on this administration’s values.”

An independent government watchdog report from last month found that borrowers seeking relief under the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) programs have had to face unnecessary hostility and pointless paperwork burdens. These barriers have prevented borrowers from receiving the relief they’ve earned.

In a letter to Secretary DeVos, Porter, Connolly, and 46 of their colleagues write, “It was never Congress’s intent to make these programs functionally inaccessible, which the Department has ensured by erecting a series of barriers throughout the application and approval processes. … These borrowers have earned relief from their student loan debt, and we will continue conducting close oversight until your Department fulfills our nation’s promise to them.”

Congresswoman Porter has been a leading voice on providing relief for those hurt by the student debt crisis. She introduced the CFPB Student Loan Integrity & Transparency Act of 2019, which would increase oversight of the top federal official in charge of protecting students struggling to repay their loans. She also worked with several colleagues on legislation to make permanent a student loan forgiveness program for borrowers who were defrauded or misled by their schools.

Read the full text of Porter’s letter to Secretary DeVos HERE.

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