The Biden administration is seeking public comment on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF), specifically what is working and not working within the program for federal student loan borrowers.
“Congress created the [PSLF] Program in 2007 to give back to the millions of nurses, police officers, firefighters, public defenders and other Americans working in public service. Since then, federal student loan borrowers have planned their careers and lives around this program, trusting that if they work in public service for a decade while repaying their student loans, they would see the remainder of their debt forgiven,” said Julie Margetta Morgan, senior advisor and acting under secretary for the Office of the Under Secretary of Education, in a statement on the public comment request. “Unfortunately, for too many public service workers, the program has not functioned the way they hoped it would. Fixing the PSLF Program has been a priority for the Biden-Harris Administration since day one.”
Margetta Morgan said the U.S. Department of Education has made some improvements for borrowers in the PSLF in the last year, such as a single application that certifies employment, counts payments and allows borrowers to check on their status toward forgiveness. A new PSLF Help Tool also simplifies the process for borrowers to determine their eligibility for the program.
Now, the department is seeking comment on the following questions:
- What features of PSLF are most difficult for borrowers to navigate?
- What barriers prevent public service workers with student debt from pursuing PSLF or receiving loan forgiveness under PSLF?
- For borrowers who have or had loans other than from the Direct Loan program, what have your experiences been when trying to access or participate in PSLF?
Comments on the PSFL are due by Sept. 24, 2021, through the Federal eRulemaking Portal using docket number ED-2021-OUS-0082. Information on using Regulations.gov, including instructions for accessing agency documents, submitting comments and viewing the docket, is available on the site under FAQ.
Student Loan Payment Moratorium
The request for comment on the PSLF came on the eve of a Senate Economic Policy Subcommittee hearing on student loan issues held July 27.
The Senate Committee on Banking Housing and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Policy discussed upcoming transitions impacting student loan borrowers including the student loan payment forbearance slated to end Sept. 30, 2021.
The subcommittee members, led by chair U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., also discussed how to prepare for reviewing federal student loan servicing contracts in December.
Two student loan servicers recently ended their contracts with the Department of Education, ACA International previously reported.
Granite State Management and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), which works on PSLF loans, ended their contracts.
With the change in contracts, the Biden administration will need to shift 10 million or more student loan borrower accounts to different loan servicers, Forbes reports.