The Trump administration is denying student borrowers the debt relief they deserve, four senators are arguing.
In a letter delivered to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Sens. Tim Kaine, D-VA, Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, Tammy Duckworth, D-IL and Maggie Hassan, D-NH, charge that the Department is "significantly and needlessly restricting access" to the so-called "temporary expanded public service loan forgiveness" program.
That measure was meant to be a fix to the popular, but challenged public service loan forgiveness program, which allows certain members of the military, classroom teachers and social workers, as well as other not-for-profit and government employees to have their federal loans scrubbed after 10 years of on-time payments.
Many public servants believed they were paying their way to debt relief only to discover they didn't qualify for one technical reason or another — sometimes after they'd finished their decade of payments.
Outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. has tripled over the last decade, surpassing auto and credit card debt and only second to housing debt, and now has spilled over $1.5 trillion. In 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimated that 1 in 4 American workers could be eligible for public service loan forgiveness.
But last year, the agency reported that a range of student loan industry practices "delay, defer or deny access" to that consumer protection.