20 State Attorneys General Urge Biden Administration to Extend PSLF Waiver, Expand Program

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Managing Editor

With the limited waiver period for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program quickly approaching its expiration date, a group of 20 attorneys general are calling on the Biden administration and the Department of Education (ED) to use their authority to ensure eligible borrowers are able to make the most of the temporary changes enacted through executive authority.

Specifically, the letter calls on the administration to extend the waiver’s deadline past October 31, and implement expansions to the program that would make PSLF available to more borrowers.

“The pandemic has placed a tremendous strain on public service workers who served on the frontlines to keep our communities safe, healthy, and educated,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. “We are urging the Biden Administration to ensure that the PSLF Program and the Limited PSLF Waiver effectively alleviates the financial strain of student debt, and credits public servants for all the months of service they have provided as our nation recovers.”

The letter argues that all forbearance periods — not just periods covered by the ongoing pause on federally-held student loan payments and interest accrual — should automatically count toward loan forgiveness for all federal loan borrowers in order to “address pervasive servicer misconduct” that they say resulted in missed opportunities for borrowers to make qualifying payments.

State officials are also calling on the administration to expand the waiver benefits to include all Parent PLUS borrowers, as well as borrowers who obtained Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) joint consolidation loans with spouses.

The attorneys general also cite the ongoing student loan moratorium as a point of confusion for borrowers trying to make sense of their repayment options.

“Given that large numbers of borrowers have not been required to actively deal with their loans throughout the payment pause, many will not consider the Limited PSLF Waiver until they return to repayment status, are put in touch with a servicer, and are again required to grapple with their loans,” the letter reads. Ending the waiver as planned on Oct. 31, 2022 leaves borrowers with just two months to reengage in loan repayment and explore waiver benefits, they added.

During the 2022 NASFAA National Conference, the head of Federal Student Aid (FSA) Richard Cordray, said he was very worried the PSLF waiver would run out before all eligible borrowers take advantage of the benefit. Cordray also said he was pushing hard to get approval for the waiver to be extended, but such a move could face hurdles due to limits in executive authority.

Currently, the student loan moratorium is slated to expire on August 31. In the coming weeks, ahead of the expiration date, Biden is expected to make an announcement on a possible extension of the moratorium, as well as any plans for potential student loan forgiveness.


Publication Date: 8/3/2022

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