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September 28, 2021

AG urges fix for federal education loan forgiveness program

Photo | Office of Attorney General William Tong Attorney General William Tong.

Attorney General William Tong is pressing the U.S. Department of Education to fix a federal loan forgiveness program that has faced intense scrutiny for rejecting the vast majority of applicants seeking its assistance.

In a statement released Monday, Tong joined with the attorneys general of 20 other states in blasting the administration of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which was set up to help forgive a portion of the student loan debt taken on by graduates who take jobs in public service-related fields, including as teachers, nurses, first responders and social workers.

When the first wave of borrowers applied for loan forgiveness through the PSLF in 2017, 99% were rejected, according to Tong’s office. That denial rate has dropped only slightly since, to 96%.

“We made a promise to our nation’s teachers, nurses, servicemembers and first responders — take on these public service jobs and we will help you pay off your student loans,” Tong said. “But this laudable program has been an abject failure and nearly every application has been denied. That’s millions of dollars of aid that has been inexplicably denied to front line public servants across Connecticut and nationwide.”

The coalition of attorneys general are asking the Department of Education to fix the initiative by bringing on a new program servicer, providing financial relief to applicants who were wrongly rejected and proactively reaching out to all borrowers who may be interested in seeking loan forgiveness.

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