25 September 2023

UNITED STATES: Senators slam loans program

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US Senators have blasted the Department of Education’s handling of the temporary expansion of the controversial Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, saying it had failed to create a simple and fair process for applicants.

The lawmakers, all from the Democrat Party, wrote to Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos accusing her Department of botching the rollout of the program with misleading information on its website and through email communications to applicants.

The program cancels Federal student debt after 10 years of on-time payments for those who take low-paid jobs in the public sector.

A spokesperson for the Senators, Tim Kaine (pictured) said they were deeply concerned by unnecessary hurdles that had been put in place for borrowers.

“Many of our constituents have expressed frustration and confusion with the Department’s unnecessarily restrictive approach to determining borrowers’ eligibility,” Senator Kaine said.

“Our Public Servants make our communities and our country stronger and better; we urge the Department to be thoughtful in the implementation and make it a simple and fair process for our honourable Public Service workers to receive the student loan debt relief that they have earned.”

In a separate development, Democrat party Senators have urged President Donald Trump to rescind his recent Executive Orders relating to the Public Service, saying they will undermine the lawful rights and protections afforded to Federal employees.

In a letter, the 44 Senators said the approximately two million men and women in the Federal Public Service were dedicated and hardworking professionals, fulfilling “countless responsibilities on behalf of citizens”.

“The recent Executive Orders undermine the decades-old rights of Federal employees to fair representation in the workplace,” the letter said.

The Senators noted with alarm that “some Federal Agencies already appear to be abrogating existing collective bargaining agreements by citing these Executive Orders”.

Washington, DC, 23 June 2018

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