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Sep 23, 2019

Tester Urges Department of Education to Fix Problems in Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

Despite efforts from Congress, a new report confirms that student borrowers continue to find it nearly impossible to gain financial relief under the existing public service student loan forgiveness programs

U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) are urging Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to better implement the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) programs, which provide debt relief to Montanans who go into public service after graduation.

Most Americans graduate with an average student debt load of nearly $30,000. Despite efforts from Congress to implement legislation to “develop a simple method” to provide some immediate relief to borrowers, a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) confirms that student borrowers continue to find it nearly impossible to gain financial relief. Of the 54,000 requests that the Department processed in the first year of the TEPSLF program, only 661 were approved and the remaining 99 percent were denied outright.

In a letter, Tester and Klobuchar called on Secretary DeVos to address confusion from student borrowers on the implementation of this program.

“Unfortunately, a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) confirms the sad reality that despite Congress’ efforts to make public service loan forgiveness a reality, student borrowers continue to find it nearly impossible to access loan forgiveness,” the Senators wrote.

Tester has led efforts in Congress to strengthen education benefits for Montanans and led an expansion of the PSLF program to cover volunteer first responders. He is also working to address teacher workforce shortages in rural America with the Rural Educator Support and Training (REST) and Native Educator Support and Training (NEST) Acts, which would provide scholarships, loan forgiveness, and professional development opportunities to educators who commit to work in rural schools and in Indian Country.

The full text of the letter can be found HERE.

Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.

Billings

Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768

Bozeman

Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647

Butte

Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586

Helena

208 North Montana Avenue
Suite 104
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462

Kalispell

8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974

Missoula

130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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