Attorney General Frosh to Education Secretary DeVos: Deliver on the Promise to America’s Public Servants

Department of Education Data Indicates only 864 of 76,002 Public Service Loan Forgiveness Applications Have Been Approved

News Release, Office of Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh

BALTIMORE, MD (August 28, 2019) – Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today joined a coalition of attorneys general in sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, urging once again that the U.S. Department of Education provides data to help states address ongoing problems with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.

The PSLF program was created in 2007 to help student loan borrowers who aspire to give back to their country or community by working in a public service field.  On October 5, 2018, Attorney General Frosh and a multistate coalition issued a letter to the Department of Education expressing concerns about the implementation of PSLF and requested data from the Department.

At that time, the attorneys general requested that the Department provide information about its plans to reform to program.  In response, the Department in July 2019 shared incomplete information that was not fully responsive to the states’ request. In today’s letter, the coalition raises alarms about the ongoing mishandling of the PSLF program, noting that borrowers may be forced to choose between public service careers and being able to repay their student loans.

“Thousands of Marylanders have committed to 10 years of service to their communities because they relied upon the promise of PSLF,” said Attorney General Frosh.  “Instead of honoring that promise, Secretary DeVos has met them with confusing guidelines, lack of information and, ultimately, denial of loan forgiveness.”

In the letter, the coalition reiterated that data from the Department would help states address the ongoing problems with PSLF, but the publicly available data that Secretary DeVos provided states thus far goes only a short way toward a full accounting of the current situation for borrowers who are relying on PSLF. Data provided by the U.S. Department of Education indicates that only 864 of 76,002 applications for PSLF have been approved and only 442 of 12,429 applications to the Temporary Expanded PSLF program have been approved.  

The data shows that tens of thousands of borrowers have been denied.  Therefore, the coalition has requested better data from the U.S. Department of Education in order to examine the scope and source of the problems to assist these borrowers.

In addition to Maryland, also signing the letter were the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Illinois, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

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