With nation's public servants finally on track to get the student loan relief they deserve, Attorney General Bonta files stipulated notice of dismissal
OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced that the Biden Administration’s actions to fix the broken Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) programs have achieved the goals of litigation filed by the California Department of Justice (DOJ) in June 2020 and warrant dismissal of the lawsuit. The lawsuit sought to compel the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to comply with implementation requirements for the TEPSLF program after nearly all of the public servants who applied for student loan forgiveness had their applications denied. As a result of the lawsuit and the advocacy of state attorneys general and others, ED announced a sweeping overhaul of the PSLF and TEPSLF programs and made a public commitment to ensuring eligible public servants get the student loan forgiveness that they deserve. With the goals of the lawsuit met, Attorney General Bonta today filed a stipulated notice of dismissal and urged Californians to take advantage of ED's limited-time Public Service Loan Forgiveness Limited Waiver Opportunity to receive credit for past payments made on loans that would otherwise not qualify under the PSLF program.
“Across the country, millions of Americans took out student loans to become public servants, our teachers, our firefighters, and our nurses with the promise of debt relief down the line,” said Attorney General Bonta. “As a student borrower myself, I know what it’s like to get that monthly payment reminder and to feel the crushing weight of writing out a three- or even four-digit check each month. My office has a long history of protecting students and fighting for borrowers, so when we saw the broken promise of student loan relief for public servants who did everything right, we acted. Now, with our nation’s dedicated public servants finally on track to get the student loan relief they are entitled to, we are closing the chapter on this litigation. We’ve seen the Biden Administration's commitment to overhauling the PSLF and TEPSLF programs, and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the days and months ahead to ensure every eligible Californian gets the relief they are entitled to.”
A bipartisan Congress created the PSLF program in 2007 to encourage students to enter qualifying public service jobs — like school teachers, EMTs, and service members — in return for forgiving the remaining balance of their federal student loans after ten years of on-time loan payments. When the first wave of borrowers applied for loan forgiveness in 2017, ED denied applicants at the alarming rate of 99 percent. In 2018, a bipartisan Congress gave ED a second chance to deliver on PSLF’s critical promise by creating TEPSLF. In doing so, Congress gave ED clear instructions to simplify and expand the program in order to increase the rate of loan forgiveness. However, ED continued to mismanage the program, denying TEPSLF applicants at nearly the same rate as PSLF applicants.
In June 2020, DOJ filed a lawsuit alleging that ED’s failure to implement the TEPSLF program violated the Administrative Procedure Act. After the filing of the lawsuit, ED began taking steps to improve administration of the PSLF and TEPSLF programs. ED’s efforts to improve the program meet, and in some cases, surpass, the changes requested by DOJ. These included consolidation of the PSLF/TEPSLF applications and employment certification form into one form, expansion of qualifying payments, and the launch of a PSLF Help Tool to assist public service borrowers. More recently, ED announced a sweeping overhaul of the PSLF and TEPSLF programs, including a limited-time Public Service Loan Forgiveness Limited Waiver Opportunity that will run through Oct. 31, 2022, that brings eligible public servants closer to securing the student loan forgiveness that they deserve.
How to Check if Your Payments are Eligible Under the Limited PSLF Waiver
Under the temporary program rules, any prior payment made will count as a qualifying payment, regardless of loan type, repayment plan, or whether the payment was made in full or on time. All you need is qualifying employment. This temporary change applies to student loan borrowers with Direct Loans, those who have already consolidated into the Direct Loan Program, and those who consolidate into the Direct Loan Program by Oct. 31, 2022.
There are two requirements in order to receive additional qualifying payments:
How to Utilize the Limited PSLF Waiver
You can find additional information and helpful tools regarding the PSLF Program at https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service. Additionally, you can find a fact sheet on ED’s updated PSLF program here.
Given these changes and the Biden Administration’s public commitment to addressing the barriers to attaining loan forgiveness under these programs, Attorney General Bonta today filed a stipulated notice of dismissal.
A copy of the stipulated notice of dismissal is available here.