Tens of thousands of people's financial futures have been thrown into question when they were denied public service loan forgiveness.
The program allows certain not-for-profit and government employees to have their federal student loans canceled after 10 years of payments.
One in 4 American workers are in public service and could, in theory, be eligible, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But last year, the bureau reported that student loan servicers are failing to guide borrowers to the consumer protection, mostly by not informing them of what they need to do to qualify.
As a result, just 96 people out of the nearly 30,000 who applied to be released from their debt have been approved. (2017 was the first year people could qualify for forgiveness, since it requires 10 years of payments and the program began in 2007.)
"To have a student loan system where to receive the benefits you have to be perfect is not a reasonable expectation to set up for 43 million borrowers," said Persis Yu, director of the Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project at the National Consumer Law Center, a nonprofit advocacy group.
Here are some of the many, many people for whom the program has failed.