GAO Report: Trump Administration Causes Confusion, Uncertainty in Loan Forgiveness Program

WASHINGTON- Today, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), ranking member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce and Congresswoman Susan Davis (CA-53), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development, released a GAO report that found serious shortcomings in the Trump administration’s implementation of the popular Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. 

Established in 2007, PSLF offers loan forgiveness to public servants who work for a qualified employer for 10 years and make 120 payments toward their federal student loans. In September 2017, the first wave of public servants began submitting applications for loan forgiveness.

The report, “Public Service Loan Forgiveness: Education Needs to Provide Better Information for the Loan Servicer and Borrowers,” revealed the Education Department has neglected to provide clear guidance and instructions to loan servicers. This failure at the Department has left servicers and borrowers in the dark about which employers qualify and without detailed, accurate information regarding their loan payments.

“The GAO report makes clear that the Trump administration’s failure to faithfully implement the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is causing widespread confusion and uncertainty for public servants. Despite the administration’s consistent hostility toward this popular program, it is still obligated to ensure that teachers, social workers, first responders and others who enter a career in public service are granted the debt forgiveness as federal law requires,” said Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03). “PSLF was created to attract and retain tented individuals into careers that strengthen our communities. The Department of Education must swiftly and fully implement the GAO’s recommendations to ensure this program achieves its important goal.”

“The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is a beacon of hope for the dedicated public servants who help our communities every day,” said Ranking Member Susan Davis (CA-53), Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development. “This GAO report shows what many of us have feared- that the Administration has not set up the necessary administrative structure to support students as they apply for the PSLF program. Despite this Administration’s repeated attempts to eliminate the PSLF program, we expect the Department to recognize its importance and take the recommendations of GAO to implement the program effectively.”

The PSLF program was eliminated in the president’s FY 2018 and 2019 budgets, and is eliminated in the PROSPER Act, the House GOP proposal to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. However, the Labor-HHS-Education funding package, which is expected to pass the House later today, provides at least $2.3 million to Department of Education to improve implementation of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

FACT SHEET: GAO Report on Public Service Loan Forgiveness

REPORT: Public Service Loan Forgiveness: Education Needs to Provide Better Information for the Loan Servicer and Borrowers


Press Contact

Stephanie Lalle: 202-226-0853 (Scott)

Aaron Hunter: (202) 225-2040 (Davis)