Broken Promises and Debt Pile Up as Loan Forgiveness Goes Astray

A federal loan forgiveness program made a promise to students: Stick with your vital but low-wage professions and your debts will be wiped clean. Then they weren’t.

Comments: 217

  1. This bears a striking resemblace to those programs after the 2008 crash that were supposed to let people reconfigure their mortgages. And the people who were foreclosed on, despite making payments, because nobody could figure out who held the mortgage.

  2. @Talbot You mean banksters and loan service companies come out smelling like roses while confused and befuddled borrowers get manure piled on them? Again.

  3. @Talbot This prof was enacted in 2007.

  4. As someone who has 6 figures of law school loans still outstanding I have the utmost sympathy for the stress that this issue creates and am appalled by our government’s all-too-typical failure to address the issue. However, although I graduated in 2014 and have always been on a full self-repayment plan, I distinctly remember being told countless times (literally hundreds..) that one needed direct federal loans and income-based repayment. I was told this by the school directly, by my peers, by my original federal loan providers and by my private loan services when I refinanced my loans. So to hear that this is creating an issue for what it sounds like almost everyone is hard to understand to say the least (acknowledging that I am but an anecdote, albeit a relevant one).

  5. @Ryan You were among the lucky ones. Do you really think that hundreds of thousands of educated professionals, many with master's degrees, aren't smart enough to follow simple directions and fill out some government forms every year? I'll bet their tax returns are processed just fine. The Department of Education/FSA (Federal Student Aid) OFFICIAL terminology for the for-profit, private contractors it uses for servicing and collection of student debt is they are "BUSINESS PARTNERS". That, and the $50 billion a year in profit the government realizes from college debt, should tell you all you need to know.

  6. Please explain to me how a government who constantly creates messes like this should be trusted to be the sole provider/manager of healthcare for all its citizens. The only thing that creates an efficient and effective market for anything is competition. A monopoly, whether it is in the private or public sector, is never a successful situation for the consumer.

  7. But our expensive for profit health care isn’t working. Are you suggesting that Americans just can’t do what every other first world nation has done for decades? I guess the USA is not so great.

  8. @DC You write as if our current, private, for-profit health ‘care’ system is a success.

  9. @DC Maybe hold responsible the lawmakers who put those requirements for qualifying? Those requirements seem burdensome to me. Why only certain loans? I suspect Republicans put those conditions in place to make it harder to get loan forgiveness.

  10. Forgive all student loans over 10 years old now. No questions asked. No duty requirements. Enough is enough.

  11. @MIKEinNYC Fairness? Forgive all, those who have dutifully paid with sacrifices on their part, as well as those who have not paid at all, and all in between? Seems that would flaunt unfairness, not a just outcome. And neither is what is currently being mismanaged by the DOE and the loan operators and managers.

  12. @FilligreeM I paid off my six-digit school loan. And I don't care if some kid who hasn't made a single payment or someone who's been struggling with school loan payments for years get their debt forgiven. Two wrongs don't make a right.

  13. @FilligreeM Life lesson: reward bad behavior - reward profligacy. Sure that is the message we want to get out there. Millions of student loans have been discharged without drama and 'forgiveness'

  14. Did betsy devos reneg? is she reneging??? Can I keep saying she reneged?

  15. The United States of Exploitation.

  16. This is a shame. And we wonder why we can't recruit people to these critical jobs.

  17. Yeah, my impression of people who are hanging their hopes on this program are that they have no idea how it actually works.

  18. No, we knew how it was supposed to work but, if you read the article, you’ll find that the people who were profiting off this “neglected” to do their part, keeping people in unqualified programs while telling them they were qualified. The executives of those companies made millions by defrauding people making pennies. That’s disgusting. P.S. Stop victim blaming.

  19. If anyone who has been caught up in the greed, deception, incompetence, and malfeasance of the student loan programs can emerge not a complete cynic I'm amazed. We desperately need well educated, public service minded, individuals and we treat them like dirt.

  20. This kind of stuff happens with bipartisan support- from democrats and republican politicians who see any area of life that has not yet been turned into a confidence scam as an untapped market. Please, anyone out thee thinking that this is was not an issue when trump was not around get a reality check. And vote for bernie sanders! Not someone who thinks that this stuff is just an accident that keeps happening. It's a feature not a bug of free market capitalism...

  21. No mention of the total amount this forgiveness program is going to cost. Lets rewind the tape. The government was going to take over the student load program to generate a profit to help pay for Obama Care. Now we find the taxpayer is going to be on the hook for up to a trillion dollars of student loans. And you wonder why people have little faith in government.

  22. It should be obvious at this point that our government is a failure that only has the interests of the wealthy.

  23. Next up: massive credit-card debt defaults and subprime auto loan failures. One thing leads to another. There are too many articles about this robust economy to believe even one of them is true.

  24. I was told by my loan company I had the correct loans & job that qualified for loan forgiveness but after 5 years of repaying them another company bought my loans. I called the new company to figure exactly what I needed to do with them to to continue towards forgiveness. At this time I was told that I was in the wrong repayment plan. That to qualify I would have to pay DOUBLE what I was already paying which was $400 a month! At that point I gave up because there was no way to repay that. I was told by the rep that the goal wasn’t to just forgive whatever was left over but for the loan or the majority of it to be paid off so the “forgiveness” was beside the point or minimal at best. I got lucky that my parents helped me with an inheritance but that was a lucky break. I don’t what I would of done without them.

  25. There should be a government program that offers advice to students to not take out exorbitant loans in order to get their Liberal Arts degrees.

  26. Yeah. Liberal arts education is for the rich. The rest of us can have job training.

  27. Like nearly all articles on this topic, the authors fail to make mention of the process for certifying loan payments (which FedLoan borrowers are repeatedly encouraged to do by the loan servicer), nor do they state if certified loan payments are being denied, or what percentage of rejected borrowers certified their payments.

  28. And politicians wonder why people give up on their government. Incompetent and irresponsible, and worst of all - apathetic leadership.

  29. @Tom Exactly. Thousands of people are out knocking on doors to get Americans to register and vote. How do you counter this kind of rank incompetence and lack of concern for people in order to convince a doubter that voting is worthwhile?

  30. @Tom “All I did was believe it was real.” Should have studied history more. This has been going on every since there has been a federal government. For more than 200 years people who have believed federal government promises have been left holding an empty bag. At least that is how it has worked in my family, few of whom are foolish enough to believe. When they do, we put the responsibility right back on them. At some point, the person ignorant and gullible enough to buy the con deserves it. I feel for them but not too much. What they are losing out on isn’t wages they earned, it is someone else’s wages, a handout that should have never been offered in the first place. If your plan for repaying a loan is for it to be forgiven, then you did it to yourself.

  31. @KBronson It sounds like you may be projecting your experience of Louisiana government onto the US (and maybe other states as well). My own experience of both state and federal government has been much more positive.

  32. The only debt Trump forgives is his own...

  33. @tom There are alot of things that are Trump's failures but this was failing long before he took office. This is squarely on the prior administration.

  34. @DC Both are guilty. Trump has ben office for 3 years and made no attempt to fix this. He doesn't get a free ride on this one any more than Obama does.

  35. @DC The legislation was enacted in 2007 after Blue Dog Democrats worked out a compromise with Bush the Minor’s Administration

  36. Outrageous - completely and totally outrageous. It is a program designed to keep those who have applied in servitude until death. I have no doubt that then their children will be forced to repay the parent's debt too - endless treadmill going nowhere.

  37. @fuzzpot Most Federal student loans and those private student loans without a cosigner are canceled and the remaining balance of the debt is forgiven, if the borrower dies. So, no, at least their children will not be forced to repay the parents' Federal student debts, which are the focus of this story. However, for private student loans with a cosigner, if the borrower dies, the cosigner becomes responsible for the debt. The other, more insidious and shocking, bad news is that for PLUS (Federal) loans, if the borrower dies, the loan is canceled / the debt is forgiven as well, but the parent(s) — already grieving the death of a child — get hit with a Form 1099-C "Cancellation of Debt." The amount of the debt forgiven is now considered taxable income, unless the parents qualify for an exclusion (rarely), e.g., due to insolvency.

  38. Fuzzpot — Children are not legally responsible for their deceased parents’ debts.

  39. What happens as more and more of us boomers downsize, move to newly built retirement condos (they're all over the place), then head into nursing homes, and eventually die? Over time, I would think there would be a glut in the housing market -- since potential younger buyers are too strapped with debt to buy homes. And it's not just real estate they'll be unable to afford --but all the goodies that go into owning a homes: new appliances, furniture, lawn mowers, cars, and on & on. Haven't Republicans figured out this could put a real damper on the economy? It's to their benefit to solve the college debt problem because Wall Street will eventually go into a tail spin & pull everyone else down with them.

  40. what is forgotten in this discussion is the amount of these loans. I went to the University of California at Berkeley in the late 60s and early 70s. I took out 2 loans, both from Bank of America, for a total of $2,000. the rest was paid through work/study. in 1980 I was still paying off those loans. as I recall the payments something like 12 bucks a month? anyway I got a little windfall at that point and paid off the balances. something is busted in this system if one of my kids is 90K in debt just for getting a degree.

  41. @Claudine nothing is busted. The system is simple. Give people lip service with regards to their rights and freedoms while controlling them through student loans, convoluted health care plans, and the threat of medical bankruptcy. Tie retirement to stock markets thus giving every working person their own conflict of interest. And finally extend people enough long term credit so that they purchase for themselves a veneer of success in the form of houses, cars, vacations, and gadgets that they can't afford any other way. And there you have it, why go to the trouble of censoring people when you can make them censor themselves while also paying for the previlige.

  42. @Claudine This is a tired argument. Houses in Brooklyn cost $50k in the late 60s, early 70s. Today they are over a million easily. Is something wrong with the system that says you can't have a $2 million dollar home if you can't pay for it? Or if you sign on the dotted line for it and realize later that the job you have does not pay enough to cover it, should someone come along and say you can have the house for free? A college degree can be had for much less than $90k. There are options like commuting, community college, taking longer to graduate, living at home. But no, people want what they want and then someone else to pay for it. I'll support the government forgiving college debt when all the people screaming for it support the government helping working people have a roof over their head and medical insurance.

  43. Loan forgiveness is a concept with zero logic behind it. Mostly because it punishes the very frugal that took little or no loans, "eating ramen" and not doing things they could not afford. What about if you borrowed your Mom's life savings? Will they give you money to pay her? Add to this that you should not borrow unless you have a plan to pay back. I am all-in for free education and even scholarships for those studying certain professions and meeting certain work requirements, but rules, obligations and benefits have to be the same for all.

  44. @Ricardo Huh? Congress created the plan in 2007; your complaint about the original logic is 12 years too late. Your complaint also fails to acknowledge that a promise was made by Congress through the legislation. Whether you like the logic or not, Congress made the promise and it should be honored.

  45. @Kirk Hartley Ricardo also refuses to acknowledge that the program was created to encourage people to pursue jobs that our society needs, which are not financially lucrative. Where is his vitriol for employers paying such low wages that employees cannot afford to pay student loans for the required degrees?

  46. @Tautologie like most centrists and conservatives their arguments lack logic and empathy.

  47. Entrusting this responsibility to a member of one of the greatest thieving families in American history was a bad idea.

  48. From her Cayman Islands-registered yacht Betsy DeVoss says “Let them eat cake.”

  49. You can blame the Department of Education, and the companies in charge of servicing student loans, but the real criminals in this case are the lawmakers themselves, who created this scam/farce of a loan forgiveness program in the first place. The truth is, it was nothing but a phony program. It made the lawmakers look good, but did nothing in reality. The truth is that the lawmakers never, ever wanted a loan forgiveness program in the first place. The question is why? Who benefits from the non-existence of Student Loan forgiveness? Banks? Lawmakers? Corrupt government? Who? That’s the question that has still not been answered.

  50. @Concerned Citizen I DID read it, but I am not convinced that is all there is too it. Who benefits from NOT having these loans forgiven? Someone does.

  51. Politicians offered all kinds of stuff for FREE... But then... there wasn't enough money to go through with what was promised? Say it isn't so. This reminds me of the kid running for student government who offered us no homework, free pizza and ice cream every Friday. And... come to think of it... this also reminds me of Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and a bunch of the others running on the Democratic side. Free, free and free... come payback time, do we really think the money will be there for them to give us what they promised us? I don't think so. Maybe they're offering us all this free stuff in exchange for our votes? Maybe?

  52. @ABC123 This was not an offer for free. This was a contract with consideration for both sides. The students commit to working in low paying but important jobs designated by the government as jobs we need some way of filling. In return for that service and proof of long term responsibility, they would gain relief from the debt. These students were paying down their debt while working in the low paying jobs. It's the government choosing instead to burden the loan forgiveness program with loopholes and demands that were not communicated to the people on the other side of the deal. Breach of contract. Now everybody would like to choose which side to blame but it's sure not the students if you read again to pay attention to the distance between what they were told by lenders and then told by the government. They held up their end. The government instead spent a ton of money to servicers that did not service. Wherever Betsy DeVoss goes, so goes corruption. Follow the money.

  53. @Meta I think you and I are on the same side of this issue. I don't fault the students. They filled their side of the bargain. I fault the politicians (Obama), who offered something (1) with very vague terms for students/graduates to be able to follow properly and where (2) the government clearly did not have the adequate funds to comply with paying these students after they complied. It was, in effect, "free pizza and ice cream for all who vote for me." The ability to then give what was promised was never there in the first place. Shame on Obama and whomever else set up that ridiculous program.

  54. Bush was prez when the program was first set up. I was there.

  55. And while we are at the breaking of the social contract, let’s not forget the so called “windfall elimination act” which reduces ones hard earned social security benefits if one also collects a hard earned teachers’ pension. Criminal. Just criminal.

  56. That is a state level decision. New York teachers pay into and collect both Social Security and a pension.

  57. @Holly Scordo Your SS payments are reduced if you get a pension.It happened to me. I worked for ten years before I went into teaching. (I didn’t pay SS while teaching.) I get virtually no SS. My father was in the military for 35 years, and he paid SS got all those years. When he retired, his SS payments were drastically reduced because he had a pension.

  58. The fact is that we have no choice but to try to fix our government. We cannot privatize our way out of incompetence, inefficiency and political compromises that make a mockery of a law’s intent. We have to try to make government work with the tools that we have to fix it, and the first order of business is to fire the people who have decided that it’s in their political and economic interest for government not to work. In other words, if you want the student loan relief plan to work, you have to make sure that elections work, so we can vote in people committed to fixing our government.

  59. I cannot understand the lunacy involved with the student loan problems. The solution lies in holding not only the student but the primary beneficiaries of the whole system liable. That includes the institutions that receive the money. The problem would be solved not by forgiving the debt but by recognizing that a minor it duped into supporting a system primarily designed for the financial security and prestige of those in charge of the institutions. Let's face it what would a car cost if all a teenager had to do was go to the dealer, get an authorization from the car salesman for someone to pay for the car and tell the teenager they don't have to pay anything for five years. And furthermore, the salesman could say the car costs whatever the salesman wants. So the "someone" sends a check to the dealer and the kids drives of without shelling out a penny. In the case of a college the salesman is the "gang" of financial aid office, registrar, and high school counselor. Where else can a seventeen years old go and have a trusted adult say, "Sign this agreement to have these people send $100000 directly to me and then you pay the bill five years from now.". The college promises nothing. At least with the car you get a spare tire! Make the college at least 50% responsible for the money if the student renegs or goes bankrupt. How much money would the school authorize for the art history major then?

  60. Just another sad example of our broken government. Imagine how the economy would thrive if these students could buy houses, new cars, appliances, invest in the stock market etc instead of pay off student loans forever and ever.

  61. but then where would the funds for GOP billionaire tax cuts come from?? oh .... they're not funded either

  62. @Jacquie The Democrats chose the Wall Street and not the Main Street.

  63. @Dr. Biri "The Democrats" did no such thing: we passed PSLF, and we would have honored it. Treasonous Republicans who view America as a piggybank chose Wall Street, not Main Street.

  64. Retroactively reset all interest rates to exactly what institutions were giving for savings accounts. Have the feds redistribute assets or govt bonds to institutions making up half of all original balances. Dock paychecks up to 5 percent for ten years. For future students, no private loans, increased Pell Grant's for all and states that cut public higher education get all federal highway funds taken away.Simplify FAFSA and raise income limits for financial aid drastically. Make the entire generation whole due to ok boomers lack of responsibility. If a representative complains take all federal funding from their district and make all student debt in their district completely forgiven. If an algorithm at the IRS and federal reserve can't do the entire process then simplify more leaning toward complete forgiveness. Don't want to hear about debt when rich folks are skipping military duty and taxes...

  65. @Danny - "Make the entire generation whole due to ok boomers lack of responsibility." So it's all the "OK Boomers" fault you choose not to honor your written promises to pay back the money you borrowed? Right! And while we're at it, why not have your BWM car loans and your in-town condo mortgages be forgiven as well.

  66. Amazing that the government can give money to those who don't need it, with no strings attached. But devise a way of giving money to those who do need it, so complicated it pays more to the administrator than the recipients.

  67. I took out private loans to attend a public university for my undergraduate degree. This was the only way I could attend college - my family could not afford to pay for my University. I was lucky enough to get a full scholarship for graduate school, and deferred my undergraduate loans. I worked full time while going to classes at night, and even then could barely afford to live on my entry-level salary at the time. In that two and a half year period, my undergraduate student loan debt ballooned from $70k to $115k. I couldn’t believe it. For the first few years I paid the $1200 a month minimum payment. Guess what? My loan actually increased month to month. A fews ago I made a conscious choice to stop paying my private student loan debt. I struggled with the decision- I’m not someone who didn’t want to pay my debts, I just simply couldn’t rationalise in my mind anymore spending that much a month and watching the debt just go up. The company managing my debt settled with me for pennies on the dollar after 18 months, and now I am free and clear of private student loans. It was the smartest choice I ever made.

  68. @CWD please explain how that worked.

  69. @CWD You made a business decision. No shame in that. The corporations do. Individuals should get comfy with behaving the same way.

  70. @CWD it would appear math was not your strongest subject.

  71. My student loan payment plan is Bernie Sanders is elected and does a blanket cancelation of the debt.

  72. Back in the day, days of yore, students would earn money to put themselves through university if they really really wanted an education. Today, everyone wants to attend even though they don’t have the credentials, take useless classes, get a useless college attendance paper and can’t parlay it even into paying their signed for loans back. What’s wrong with system? Let’s tighten up college admissions and weed out the academic incompetent. We need plumbers, electricians and undertakers etc. we’d be a far far better country and with less student debt.

  73. @Jerry Davenport This is factually inaccurate. Wages have not kept up with costs, not for college, for housing, or for other necessities. It’s not about the “wrong” people going to college or students taking the “wrong” classes. It’s about America being run for the benefit of the ultra rich at the expense of the rest of us, starting with the third-world policies of Reagan, Rush, and Newt. Take a look at CEO-worker pay ratios, and how these have changed since 1980. The evidence is obvious for anyone who cares to look. Get your facts straight, Jerry. Happy Thanksgiving!

  74. It use to cost much less to attend college. You can't transpose your experience of years ago to the reality of today.

  75. @ Jerry Davenport That’s an ignorant observation, Jerry. At publicly supported colleges and universities, the percentage of the cost of fees/tuition, never mind housing, has steadily increased since the 1960s so that most of the cost is now being born by the students and/or their families rather than the taxpayers who benefit from the next generation of state citizens. When I attended the University of California in the 1960s, for example, my graduate student fees per quarter were only $83. Take a look at what it cost at any state university now for students to take a full quarter’s or semester‘s worth of classes and decide then if your comment is factual or not.

  76. Speaking as a Boomer, I have to say that all this is very sad. All of you in your late fifties on should say extra thanks on this day that you never had to be financially assaulted and extorted and just plain held up and kidnapped for life like this. Education was almost free. What have we become when young, naive people betting on their future are ensnared into a criminal system that is a cross between high end Soviet sadism by corruption, and the worst of street loan shark behavior. And, btw, look at the dates. This started a long time ago.

  77. @Concerned Citizen The actual numbers prove your experience is far from the average. The total amount of student debt has increased from less than $500 billion in 2006 to more than $1.5 trillion last year. Here are the averages for private and public circa 1973; “1973: In today's dollars, tuition for one year at a private college averages $9,876, and at in-state public schools just $2,175.“ These numbers are 10X today. Gets your facts straight before you denigrate the poorest Americans.

  78. I’m in my late fifties and and my education was definitely not free. And I went to an in-state school. I had college debt that I paid off over time. My parents were wise enough not to allow me so much debt to pile up and I selected a major that allowed me enough income to pay off my debt in 7 years though there was some hardship for a while.

  79. Shameful. Would Sanders or Warren fix this? Hopefully. Time for a big change.

  80. As a conservative this too outrages me. Congress fairly and legally appropriated the money and it’s not being used. We should at least use the money if it’s there.

  81. Wow: Trumpists don't feel like honoring government promises to students who took real jobs that actually benefit the country? What a shocking surprise!

  82. @Randall You do realize that this program was established over a decade before took office and the majority of the problems discovered took place

  83. This is completely shameless - and shameful at the same time. I was fortunate enough to have gone through 7 years of Canadian university programs in the 1970s and early 80s, when it was quite easy for students living at home to pay their tuition, books and other educational costs simply by getting summer jobs - no working during the school year, and no need to take out loans. I think that any civilized country should make higher education available to all qualified students, in a similar manner... after all, the future of any country depends in large part upon how well that country prepares its youth to take their place in society, pay their own way as adults, fill the many roles necessary to run a complex, thriving civilization, and keep their country competitive in the areas most vital to improving its standard of living on an ongoing basis... science, technology, education, industry and business, etc. Any country which puts up roadblocks to young people eager, willing and ready to better prepare themselves to serve their society and their country, even in self-interest, will inevitably decline and wither in a variety of ways. The coming decades will surely display the high cost of poor education policies in the USA, and alas, Canada also... tuition here has increased FAR more quickly than the wages the average student can expect to make, and students from economically disadvantaged families are forced to take out loans, or not go to university at all.

  84. Why is it that those who give the most of themselves to help society always seem to be the least compensated and taken advantage of? Our society's priorities are backwards.

  85. 'Keith New, a spokesman for the loan servicer, said it “believes in” the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and “works tirelessly to help borrowers navigate the program’s complexities.”' Sure they do. Just as Amazon does everything it can to prevent injuries at its fulfillment centers. We need more government oversight of business. Without that, it's a race to the bottom, a race back to the good ol' 19th century.

  86. @Sixofone The solution to government programs that don’t work is another government program. That is why we can’t do anything anymore.

  87. This is a shambles but the entire student loan system is desperate for reform. Income based repayment for a fixed period of time, then relief on the balance - without tax obligation. Treating the forgiven amount as income resulting in an enormous "tax bomb" is a sick joke. It goes without saying that public service forgiveness is a special case - if they can't even get that right I have little hope of addressing the wider problem. This system wrecks lives.

  88. Loans forgiven under the PSLF program are actually not considered taxable income. However, loans forgiven under most other forgiveness programs are indeed taxable.

  89. @Ross As is acquiring education. Neither should make one poor.

  90. Consider that the 70% of adjunct lecturers at colleges and universities aren't even eligible for this program because of the way it was set up and its very narrow requirements. Then you get a sense of how many people have been thrown into debt indentured servitude when they took out very modest loans to finish a program or get past an assistantship shortfall. A tiny fraction of the people doing essential work in public institutions were made "eligible" - and most of those have been denied. The for-profit debt companies certainly are getting their money's worth from their paid politicians.

  91. @Sara Yep. And no matter how hard we work, we always hang on by the fingernails. I am lucky--I went to school while it was still affordable. But now, the terrible secret for the majority of the instructors, we are in terrible shape. The best I can do is tell my students not to do what I do unless you are rich, and go to Community college for the first 2 years.

  92. I paid off my student loan of $100,000 (plus interest) over 12 years after final graduation. I was one of the lucky ones who earned enough to do so. The people who are not able to earn enough to pay off their loans should be forgiven and the losses written off, if there is evidence that the person's income is simply insufficient to pay and there has been demonstrated effort to pay something over a period of at least 10 years.

  93. Despite having benefited from a college education myself, I can no longer recommend it to anyone who doesn’t have the wealth to pay for it without borrowing. Is higher education an asset? We’ve been taught to answer yes, unequivocally. But now the answer is maybe at best. A lot of people will be better off just spending that time working and accruing experience.

  94. This is one part of the student loan debacle. I worked for the federal government for 18 years (including 10 years after 2007) and did not qualify for forgiveness after making regular payments for 20 years because I did not make payments under the correct plan. Essentially, my payments were too high!

  95. This is just sick. I am one of the lucky ones. I made enough dough on a side deal/trade so I could pay my sons loans off. But these other kids are not in the position. 2007, so let's see, this Rube Goldberg deal was set up when Shrub was Prez and Congress was GOP dominated. It was right before the big take down, a year or two before the The Financial Services and Billionaire Bailout program really did bail people out, the least deserving. Sorry, this is a pathetic example of true government failure. (to be fair I usually gripe about market failure) But I get the feel the private sector had their greedy fingers in this pie too. No wonder the rubes turned to Trump. He sold a pile of garbage but he presented it correctly.

  96. This is digusting. The department of education works for US!

  97. @Mary M Didn’t you get the memo? The bureaucracy works for the bureaucracy. Nothing new here.

  98. Funny I once had a friend tell me about such a program perhaps an earlier version. I knew the govt can’t be trusted and stayed working on what it wanted and now I’m a millionaire and lyin’ Uncle Sam can go shove it. As a side not anyone who believes Warren or any other wannabe socialist that govt can actually deliver should read this article and wise up!

  99. When I hit 120 payments, there isn’t going to be any more. The feds can pound sand. This is what comes from trusting Americans.

  100. @Doug K They will garnish your social security checks. Really.

  101. Vital reporting. It puts into stark view the scam that are convoluted, means-tested programs. And you know who’s been in love with convoluted, means-tested programs going on a couple generations now? Democrats. It’s why there really wasn’t much of a constituency behind the ACA. It was convoluted. I kept having to bounce between awful, high-deductible insurance plans each time my income fluctuated. Same with my IDR for my student loans. Is your income ever in flux? Welcome to bipartisan bureaucratic dystopia America. Look at Warren’s debt forgiveness plan: “If you make less than $100k, you get $50k of your $89k forgiven, but if you make between $100k and $250k, you’re eligible for a sliding-” No. No more mealy-mouthed technocracy. Cancel all of it! Universal programs build constituencies. Universal health care, universal public higher education, universal student debt cancellation. 100%. Free at the point of service. Only one major candidate, Bernie Sanders, is bringing relatively simple, universal programs to end the nightmare this article lays out. This is what will build constituencies and defeat republicans between the coasts. Ms. Finlaw spoke of her freedom from debt as “the light at the end of the tunnel.” If we don’t get organized now and in 2020, we can be sure that, as Slavoj Zizek points out, the light we see at the end of the tunnel won’t be our freedom, but another train heading straight for us. Reagan Sloman https://reagansloman.blogspot.com/

  102. promises made, promises broken.

  103. The specifics of this program are missing from this article. This presents two problems. First, readers who are not fully informed about the program already will fill in their lack of understanding in order to relate with the stories related from their experiences with other government sponsored programs. Second, it violates a fundamental principle of journalism, never presume that the reader has read all the previous articles about the subject.

  104. This looks like a "bait and switch" to me. You work in the vital jobs in the areas where no one wants to be for 10 years pay your debt on time and we will forgive the remaining part of your loan. Only to find out the fine print makes you ineligible. The vital jobs get staffed and the staff gets stiffed.

  105. Meanwhile, the administration has *given* $25 billion — no strings attached — to struggling farmers in the hope they’ll still vote for trump.

  106. My wife was promised this relief. She has paid dutifully for 15 years and nothing. She stopped applying for relief but I want to convince her to apply again. It is a broken promise and I want a record of the lies.

  107. I keep reading article on this subject over perhaps the past two years. It seems a fraud perpetrated by Congress which has not intention of forgiving anything. It is like Congress passing bills which make headlines yet are never funded.

  108. If we can’t get this right, then we need to dissolve our current government . “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation." This would be Item One on our laundry list of items that compel us to separate from those Americans who, whether they realize it or not, are still and forever desirous of having their slaves returned to them.

  109. Not at all surprising that these are the same student loans created by Republicans in 2005. Even better is that none of them have ever even been poor enough to need one.

  110. Why am I not the least bit surprised that republicans would be happy with a program that only is helpful to the "one percent"?

  111. Tuition should be based on the earnings potential for the major. A PhD in Gender Studies should cost a lot less than a PhD in Immunology.

  112. This story makes my blood boil: decent people trying to play by the rules getting told after ten years by people whose job it was to know the rules that there was something wrong with their understanding of the rules!

  113. Too add insult to injury the borrowers In this supposed forgiveness program were required to continue payments for the federal loans with absurd interest rates (6-8%) and not refinance. And then you expect us to believe when you say “Medicare for all.” I would sooner believe in Santa Claus

  114. When you have to pay the professors full retirement pays for 40 more years of life that is just plain wrong. Most of America gets Social security and the GOP want to take that away. They are greedy and most tax paying Americans are only getting Social security. Go to work instead of college or go on line. It should be cheaper.

  115. And we call ourselves the richest, most advanced economy in the world. I say phooey!

  116. Every job serves the public in some way. There is no reason to put people in so-called "public service" on a pedestal and forgive their loans. Already their paychecks are coming from the taxpayer.

  117. Honestly I tried applying for one of those loan forgiveness programs some years ago but was denied. I gave up and just finished paying my student loan last year. It took me 17.5 years to pay it off but it's finally over. No regrets; signed because I needed it and repaid it. :-)

  118. This is a program designed to encourage bright, idealistic people to enter public-service professions -- and then we turn our backs on them. Underneath it lies a bookkeeping problem. If we lack the will or the ability to fix something so basic and important, we shouldn't as a society be able to look at ourselves in the mirror.

  119. This is a disaster more than a decade in the making. It goes back to the original law establishing the forgiveness program, and successive administrations that have refused to own the problem. The mere thought of entering into the labyrinth of federal and public/private bureaucracy to work this system makes me want to hyperventilate. There must be a better way to finance higher education.

  120. As a former victim of PHEAA (Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency), I’m not surprised. I applied to PHEAA back in June or July of 1989 for a loan for a graduate program that fall. They were supposed to process the application in less than 2 months. Come December, I was still calling and writing letters begging them to process it. I was lucky to be attending a very indulgent university. When the check finally arrived, they sent it to the university, but made it out to me! I had to run to the bank and take care of the transfer of funds. I’m sorry to learn that PHEAA is just as callous now as it was then. And I’m sorry to see that the people in charge of the program are obviously the same way, incompetent, or both.

  121. Just like health care the education system is broken, and if the government relief the students from paying their debt. That will not solve the problem but will encourage universities and students in this path.

  122. I don't think any Loan used to pay a private university should be forgiven. Students who select private, expensive colleges or universities should be mandated to pay in full. The alternative would have been to go to a State College or State University where Tuition is lower.

  123. As Calvin Coolidge said, ”They rented the money didn’t they”. Don’t borrow money unless you are going to repay it.

  124. Unless you are a financial institution, the auto industry, insurance company, mortgage originator, and other too big to fail institutions. The country is littered with beneficiaries of Socialism for the rich, but it's Capitalism for the weak suckers.

  125. Let’s cut the Military budget by a trillion, and provide American kids, who need help paying for college or a vocational school FREE tuition! The wealthiest nation on Earth, needs to get its values straight!

  126. This is incredibly sad, the money is there but not being used as intended because there is so little oversight and enforcement of basic standards for these government contractors. Do not expect Betsy DeVos to fix this! She has made it clear she is not on the side of students, unless they are already wealthy. These practices will continue to erode the middle class and drive the best and brightest away from public service jobs. We need to elect a president who will appoint people who care about education for all and who will help the middle class from going under. Any of the Democratic candidates will fit the bill!

  127. @Mac I was with you until the last sentence. Buttigieg and Klobuchar are essentially Republicans when it comes to the college debt issue.

  128. But, according to the right-wing pundits on the op-ed page, forgiving this debt makes for a country moochers. Plus, folks are so much easier to control, when they're burdened with life-long debt. No street protests or activism for them!

  129. My husband and I both paid off our student loans in our mid-fifties. Neither of us had a dime’s worth of family support, and we both earned terminal degrees, although it took a long time and many part-time jobs. At times one of us had to skip a semester and work full time. As a result of this we both had fewer years to earn income, which substantially reduced our retirement income. Not once did we question our obligation to repay this debt, and the entire notion of “debt forgiveness” makes me furious. So unless the powers that be make this program retroactive for ALL who borrowed federal money it should be eliminated. And I might add that we were both “first generation” college students, which today means a lack of academic preparation and/or a lack of intelligence, and so “accommodations” must be made, most often admission to universities far beyond the scope of student capability. Of course none of these unprepared students are allowed to fail, so they are set free to create further degradation of everything they touch. Today I suppose our “first generation” status would earn us a special place at the proverbial table, except for the fact we were exceedingly well-prepared, having made all “A’s” when there was no grade inflation. This sounds self-congratulatory but is not, for at that time EVERYONE worked hard and repaid their student debt regardless of how difficult it might have been. We fulfilled our obligations and so should these whiners.

  130. That is great that you were able to do that. Unfortunately, college costs have increased at EIGHT times the rate of wages over the past thirty years, so you can’t really fairly compare your experience with the experience of kids attending school today.

  131. I imagine almost all of us would be willing to pay off the amount of debt you had in full, as low as it was. I'm willing to pay off my $380,000 med school debt. But if I'm offered forgiveness programs that alter how I make my loan payments, and my interest rates, and which jobs I apply for...I just don't want to be lied to about the criteria.

  132. You need to check your spirit. Just because you have fallen for the promises of a system that was designed to take advantage of you, doesn't mean you should wish the same on others.

  133. I have found dealing with federal officials much better than dealing with contractors. DoE should hire term employees to death with these matters and get rid of the loan servicing company. And a reminder to those expecting to die with their loans— loans may qualify for forgeus if the borrower becomes permanently and completely disabled.

  134. We have watched tuition skyrocket as state funding to public colleges and universities is slashed. Students are terrified of taking out loans. This is starving the community’s future.

  135. I’d be very interested in an analysis of what these students actually studied who can’t pay back the loans. I bet it would be eye opening. Most should get some serious HS Guidance counseling’s before signing up for loans.

  136. @Jerry Davenport They're studying to be teachers, researchers, doctors, and lawyers, among other things, so they can work in public service because that's the name of the program.

  137. The Department of Health and Human Services offers up to $75,000 loan forgiveness for health profession workers who serve in low-income or rural areas - where the least lucrative but highest-need jobs in health care are. Eager to reduce my loan burden of over $200,000, I took a job at a community clinic. I was told (after one year of working already) that I would not be awarded the loan forgiveness. When I wrote to ask why, they said the funds had run out before they even got to my application. Additionally, Trump's tax bill as of this year ensures that this is the first year where people at my income level cannot deduct their student loan interest payments from their taxes. The most surreal aspect of it all is that the federal government lends us money, but private corporations profit off of the interest. I wonder why people my age aren't rioting. Then I remember we work longer hours for less pay, with a higher cost of living, and I just feel tired.

  138. @Community NP That means you are making over $85,000 a year (if single). I would say that is pretty good pay. I am in a similar student loan debt situation and I feel very blessed that I can pay my loans back with my current income. I guess it is all in how you choose to view the world and your situation.

  139. Why would someone working for a health insurer be considered a low-income profession? Health insurers are already ripping us off through the yin yang as it is.

  140. As someone that is counting on the 25 year loan forgiveness program, I really do not understand why some of this is so confusing. The information about which loans are eligible (direct loans) is available on the website. Why would anyone think a private loan is going to be forgiven?? I also am already prepping for the hefty tax bill I will get the year my loans are forgiven. My assumption is that I will have to save a couple thousand a year for the next 20 years to be sure I have enough. Maybe all of this is a sign that we are sending way too many people to college. If they cannot navigate student loans they probably should not be taking them out.

  141. For hundreds of years, a majority of our population has had student debt and these people were able to successfully pay off their loans. If people were able to pay off their student loans in the past, why can't people do the same today? Even if the student is unable to financially support themselves through college, the government already provides the student a certain amount of financial aid. If the student chooses to attend a private college outside their financial eligibility, the student should be responsible for the leftover student loans.

  142. @SKim Because college cost have grown exponentially. Very simple actually. Oh also a lot of us graduated into the Great Recession which made finding a first job incredibly difficult, which means that the interest on loans accrues then capitalizes. We also generally made lower salaries than we otherwise would have if you graduated into a strong economy. Or at least that’s what happened to me. I only took out federal loans. And no, I can’t really say that I bear any responsibility the crash in 2008 that occurred when I was a college sophomore.

  143. The debt of yesteryear doesn’t happen today. For example... In state tuition at University of Maryland (my alma mater) is now $11K, if you can get in. Back in the late 60’s it was everyone’s safety and cost $1.4K for room, board and tuition. My salary as an RA in my last year was about $1.4K, so I should know. My niece is out of state at University of Colorado medical school. Debt to date is $289K even with my wife and I throwing $28K per year plus extras. Oh sure, everyone says “She’ll be a rich doctor!” Yeah right. Medicine is not what it used to be too. Things have changed baby!

  144. Wages haven’t increased in line with education costs or especially housing. And that should be obvious.

  145. As someone who will be eligible for loan forgiveness within a year and a half, I see a few issues here: 1) Either the current administration and/or Congress has failed to ensure that Fedloan Servicing has adequate resources to deal with all of the borrowers who may be eligible for the program. 2) Servicers have failed to provide adequate training to customer service reps to ensure they provide correct information about the program to borrowers. 3) Many borrowers have failed to become familiar with the program requirements, just assuming incorrectly that they would be eligible. I read all the requirements approximately 10 years ago when I consolidated my loans with the Department of Education.

  146. Someone should fix this betrayal. Another reason to defeat the current occupant of the White House.

  147. This could be corrected by remedial legislation...Nancy, Mitch, Donald ????

  148. The scariest words in the English language are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.” For those who didn’t already know this and got bit, consider it an added value to your education. Now you know. Go forth and vote accordingly.

  149. @KBronson I suppose the next time the SEC is examining the broker dealer or investment adviser where your investments are held, they should not bother conducting a thorough examination. You have no idea if the entity where your investments are held are complying with all laws and regulations. In fact, maybe the next time I’m conducting an examination of a firm in a red state, I’ll do a poor job since the people in those states want no assistance from the federal government.

  150. @KBronson : Anyone who quotes Ronald Reagan as if his words were divine revelation from above immediately loses all credibility.

  151. @KBronson No that is the pap that started the down slide along with all the other lies of the Reagan administration and the modern right it led to. Yes indeed. Vote Blue. Also, as a rule I will not visit any Red State, do business with anyone I know to be on the right.

  152. Incredible negligence, malicious. Coming from our Representatives, I call it borderline with massive fraud. A store would be more responsible for false advertising..

  153. Just remember...The GOP leader, Donald Trump, promised he "would not touch Medicare and Social Security". Do you feel lucky?

  154. If you do not intend to ever pay back your loan, stop every payment and communication with your lender immediately. Eventually they will sell your loan and after going through multiple hands it will be worthless.

  155. This is dangerously untrue - if you default then a judgment will be issued against you and your wages will be garnished at a rate which pays the entire loan back within ten years - regardless of income and once garnishment begins the only way to get out of it is to pay double the garnishment amount for 1 year.

  156. Many of the comments on here reflect exactly the cruel, judgmental attitude so pervasive in our politics. “I had to pay off my loans, so it’s UNJUST to forgive people’s loans now!” Aside from the fact that this is debt relief for a small group of people who have chosen public service for their livelihoods, whatever happened to wanting a better life for future generations? We didn’t have a cure for polio when my grandparents were kids - should we stop vaccinating now because it’s “unfair” to our ancestors? This, in a way, has always been the American attitude: Escape the injustice of home, make it to the shores of America... then immediately start pulling up the ladder behind you. However easy it might be to try to place blame on one administration or another, it might worth asking: are our own dumb attitudes part of the reason our society is unraveling?

  157. @Mr. Bubble I see people talking generally about loan forgiveness here. I'm totally agains that. I am, however, fully on the side of students who were hoodwinked and deceived about a loan forgiveness program. Those students should get relief. Everyone else should pay their debt. There are OPTIONS with regard to college. If you choose an expensive school for whatever reason, then you deal with the bills. These are choices that people are making. Go to community college, take a few courses at a time while working full time and take longer to graduate without debt, live at home and commute. But no, people want the "experience" and to say they "went away" to college. If that's the case, they can pay for it.

  158. Another cynical con from the Feds [state and local governments pull the same stunt], just like the "mortgage relief". It was never intended to work, only intended to fool make "nice soothing noises" like an Obama speech. Funny how well run the bank relief program worked though went through with almost no hitches. go figure.

  159. Dear students and graduates-- Vote.

  160. The loan 'sevicers' ventured nothing in this equation. They are part of an entirely corrupt system that is in reality a massive scam against average Americans by Wall St and the wealthy.

  161. As if the main issue with student loan debt were that it’s too liberal

  162. I'm currently on this PSLF program. There are a lot of stringent criteria you have to pay attention to. I recommend people review it with an accountant or attorney to make sure your payments are qualifying. Don't just take the loan providers at their word.

  163. This was a completely unacceptable program to begin with, and still is. The solution would have been that the government would pay the tuition for people wanting to go into these valuable professions (like teachers, social workers) - much like the military will pay for schooling after service. It simply needed to exact a promise that the students would stay in that profession (otherwise, the tuition would have to be paid back in its entirety). Instead, we got this loan forgiveness program forcing students to take out horribly expensive loans and slave away for years and years with a vague promise (that is then often broken) that eventually the loans are forgiven -- what?? It doesn't even begin to make sense. The lesson for students is, if you think you may have trouble paying back student loans, then you should find a school with lower tuition. Much of the time, college is not worth the money in terms of future earnings.

  164. Those who owe student loans --at the ridiculously high interest rates-- should decide en masse to just stop paying. Most have little to lose. They cannot buy homes, and if they have children, they suffer. Education is too expensive. It is time to forgive all student loan debt, and stop creating more. Bernie is right.

  165. They're supposed to be grown adults who knew what they were doing. Why forgive the loans?

  166. @Gary Because that is literally what the program was designed to do. They didn't create the program, they just attempted to utilize it, many making significant life decisions based on the existence of the program.

  167. @Gary Why forgive the loans? Because the law allows for it, signed by Bush in 2007. Are people now asserting that laws should not be enforced?

  168. At the risk of being cynical, why did students take out loans and then go to universities they can’t afford and choose majors that would not allow them to pay off the loans after graduation?

  169. @Bryan Mackinnon Becuase virtually every private university now costs $40,000 a semester and even public universities cost as much as private ones did 15 years ago. Many of these students turned down lucrative job offers in order to take jobs that are beneficial to society but lower paying with the understanding that this program would help them.

  170. @Bryan Mackinnon : Because a nation made up of only business majors and engineers would be a terrible place to live.

  171. @Bryan Mackinnon For all the whoopin and hollarin about needing STEM students to do these.good paying STEM jobs, many start at $50,000. Computer jobs $80k if you are lucky or 6 figures and living below the poverty level in Silicon Valley. Many STEM job holders struggle to pay loans. I would never recommend a young person go into computer science and if you into engineering plan on being broke and reinventing yourself over and over. Many of these are contract jobs. I am able to pay on my loans on the income repayment plan. I will not live long enough to pay them off. Why did I go back to school? Because I had 20 years before I could get social security and IT discriminates on age, skin color, gender, and nationality. Three new degrees landed me a job at half what I made in 2008 when I was training H1B visa holders to take jobs away from Americans over the age of 45.

  172. A big majority of Federal regulations are construed with enough ambiguity to be interpreted solely at government discretion. Political interpretation is the legalization, in most cases, of outright fraud, bait and switch, etc.

  173. @joe new england As someone who has worked for multiple regulatory agencies, I disagree with your comment. The requirements for the loan forgiveness program may not be as simple as borrowers would like, but they are clear. I’ll be eligible for forgiveness within a year and a half, and I read the requirements prior to entering the program 10 years ago.

  174. Then why doesn't Ms. Amway take the time to make things clear? And, what of the initial sales job done in enticing people into the jobs? And whhat of the company paid by taxdollars to monitor the loans?

  175. @joe new england It appears you’re not familiar with the program. Reading this article is insufficient to understand the program.

  176. The Enron of Student Loan Programs! The lack of accountability feeds the corrosive lack of trust that Americans have in their government. How can we compete with China and other industrial countries when this happens. My mother proudly corrected my father when he would tell me "nice guys finish last." FedLoan is proving my father right. Sad commentary on our state of affairs.

  177. This is outrageous, but there are way more private loans that banks will never forgive. A majority of student loan debt is private loans taken out for advanced degrees at private universities. I work in the public sector, but I’ll keep paying close to $400 a month of my student loans for all of my life it feels like. My only hope is that I don’t pass on my debts when I die.

  178. Bravo to those of us able to repay our student loans pat yourself on the back and puff out your chest. But please save the lectures for the boomer investment club meetings. When people are in repayment for decades, they arent shirking. As with health costs any wrong turn, missed payment, or indifferent servicers and the penalties suddenly add up. I'm fully paid but my partner will be in debt til he dies - even though hes eligible for forgiveness the amount will result in huge tax liability. Bottom line is that student loan debt is holding back our economic growth and as usual lining the pockets of wall street and Betsy deVos cronies. Dont get me started on Donald Trump's philosophy on debt repayment....default and bankruptcy are only available to rich "risk takers." Teachers, firefighter, social workers should be more responsible?

  179. Follow the money. Who benefits the most from this tawdry situation? The mistake Ms. Finlaw and others made was to believe this. It WAS too good to be true. This points up the fact that, for most students, college is not affordable without a loan or three. Why we are willing, as a society, to allow young people to take on debt before they've even begun to earn a living is a mystery. Why we are willing to let students graduate from high school without salable skills is another mystery. A college education doesn't guarantee anything to anyone. The worst part of this isn't about those who graduate from college. It's about the students who drop out for whatever reason and still have to pay back loans for an education they didn't complete. Our legislators know that the current loan system is untenable. Yet they continue to allow it to function. Colleges know it too. There are two ways to deal with this. One is to provide every high school student a solid education along with providing non-college track students the opportunity for an apprenticeship or training for an entry level job. Another is for employers to stop asking for ever more credentials and start investing in their employees. Last, but not least, perhaps we should look into providing more scholarships instead of loans.

  180. @hen3ry ah but officially we do not have a class system so how do you make sure the riff Raff stay out of the country club? You defund public education, make a liberal arts degree which unlike highschool is not free a minimum requirement for addmitance and you will have successfully kept out a majority of undesirables, and saddled those that dared dream with enormous debt. So what if we are missing out on local potential, in stem fields for example? We can always get hired help from abroad while railing against immigrants lest they dare forget their place in the pecking order.

  181. When I was a college student, the federal government offered student loans, the National Defense Student Loans, at 2% interest. People who worked in certain jobs, including public school teaching, would have 10% of the their loans forgiven for up to five years as long as they stayed in those jobs. Teachers who taught in a federally designated high-poverty area for five years could have their entire loans forgiven. My private college degree was financed by a combination of parental contributions and scholarships, but some of my friends enjoyed what was essentially a half-price or free college education because of the NDSL loans.

  182. @Pdxtran Me too. And my husband and everyone else I went to school with. He became a science teacher in an impoverished rural area. I was a social worker in the same area. The government had no trouble implementing that loan forgiveness-public service program then.

  183. I attended a state college in the late 70s. Had a Basic Education Opportunity Grant because my parents were blue collar. Lived at home for all but one semester. Took classes two summers, graduated in 3 years and not only had no debt, I put money away. Those were the days when GRANTS were widely available for students of modest family means.

  184. @Anne Hajduk Same here. I was the first in my family to attend college. I wrote a thank you note to my financial aid officer when I graduated. I wouldn’t have made it without him. My family was homeless before there was a name for it. Affordable education is how I climbed out of poverty. We have turned our young people into cash cows. It’s a disgrace.

  185. Tax cuts for millionaires clearly more important. (sarcasm)

  186. Just don’t pay.

  187. The haves don’t want your kids competing with theirs AND they’re only too willing to make money while ensuring you and your kids bankrupt yourselves in the process.

  188. Is it that our citizens can’t read legal documents? Or, is it that our government can’t write legal documents? A loan document is a legal document. Should students hire lawyers to interpret these documents for them? Obviously, something is rotten in Denmark. Why blame Denmark?

  189. I have been reading a version of this article for 3 years and it seams as if the only people who care about this travesty are the students who are caught in a Catch 22 and journalists who write about it. Just add this issue to the many where hard working Americans are victimized by the private sector and the government.

  190. Could our government be guilty of predatory lending at least on a moral basis if not a legal one? The government gets paid interest and the servicing company gets hefty fees. And for all practical purposes the loans become perpetual debt for the students. Congress and the Education Department can fix this, if they wish, but I am uncertain if they want to.

  191. WE have all taken loans and have paid them off as early as we could. Loan forgiveness is not an American idea and it is outdated considering America's national debt is 23 trillion and lenders are never going to forgive that. Loans for cars, businesses, homes and University education are investments to acquire something of value. Such loans should be taken with careful consideration and not just taken for the sake they are available. America is a great country where one can get loans from private and public sources for multiple purposes often at low interest rates but then to expect that loan should forgiven because of inability to pay it off should be on the shoulders of the one taking loans and not the tax payers.

  192. @Girish Kotwal I gather you have never heard of National Defense Student Loans.

  193. If a growing number of taxpayers are facing crushing debt, what effect do you think that will have on the economy? Another recession essentially. Like when people borrowed money for houses they couldn't afford, while financial institutions got a higher rating for those loans than they should have, which allowed those institutions to sell those bad loans at a higher premium, meaning the economy collapsed on itself when the loans defaulted. However, those financial institutions got bailed out. And some homeowners even received debt relief. So, how is debt forgiveness not American exactly? Seems like predatory lending and retroactive patchwork is all we do here. Anyway, until something is done, a growing number of Americans, who are taxpayers, will not be able to invest in the economy (start businesses, buy houses, consume, invest, save, pay their taxes) because they'll be paying off this debt.

  194. "“It almost seems, like by design, they’ve engineered a way to claim that they have a plan in place without actually offering anybody any relief,” Ms. Waddell said." But the Pennsylvania agency made out like bandits to the tune of $1.5B. We could have just sent checks to everyone getting a student loan and accomplished more.

  195. There are so many broken dreams and permanent shackles associated with the student loan program. My student loans carry 8% interest. They cannot be refinanced, or discharged in a bankruptcy. No matter how much I pay, the balance barely goes down. I will owe this money until I die. It was the Reagan era conservatives that decided that no one deserved a "free lunch" and that if we wanted education badly enough we will sell ourselves into perpetual servitude for it. I have made peace with my permanent indebtedness. I just hope future generations get some relief somewhere.There are so many broken dreams and permanent shackles associated with the student loan program. My student loans carry 8% interest. They cannot be refinanced or discharged in a bankruptcy. No matter how much I pay, the balance barely goes down. I will owe this money until I die. It was the Reagan era conservatives that decided that no one deserved a "free lunch" and that if we wanted education badly enough, we would sell ourselves into perpetual servitude for it. I have made peace with my permanent indebtedness. I just hope future generations get some relief somewhere.

  196. WE have all taken loans and have paid them off as early as we could. Loan forgiveness is not an American idea and it is outdated considering America's national debt is 23 trillion and lenders are never going to forgive that. Loans for cars, businesses, homes and University education are investments to acquire something of value. Such loans should be taken with careful consideration and not just taken for the sake they are available. America is a great country where one can get loans from private and public sources for multiple purposes often at low interest rates but then to expect that loan should forgiven because of inability to pay it off should be on the shoulders of the one taking loans and not the tax payers. One of my doctoral students from Pennsylvania farm country took a loan for medical school. After he finished his medical school the government paid his loan off in order MD. Ph.D. students to commit to a career in being a Physician scientist and that is fine for deserving persons.

  197. @Girish Kotwal Loan forgiveness is outdated? The law allowing for this program was signed in 2007. How does something become outdated in such a short period?

  198. @BK from FL. The article is about loan forgiveness going astray because of several reasons. I just speculate on one reason the country has no one forgiving their loans and therefore we as a nation have a sky high debt. It is like a bank that has no more money to lend as it is itself in debt. I gave an example of a former student who no longer has a government loan to repay because of what he did what the government would have liked hin to do. A federal loan forgiveness program was short sighted and poorly thought through as many government programs like social security which will also be going broke in 2034 for new retirees. Welcome to America. Politicians make promises they cannot keep. Don't be relying on government, politicians change and new ones come and don't feel they have to keep promises that the previous politicians made.

  199. Over half of that 23 trillion in debt is driven by us spending more on a military than the rest of the world combined. Killing people in faraway lands to protect cheap oil is more important than an educated populace.

  200. Why aren’t colleges and universities free? America spent, what, many lives and 4 trillion dollars or more in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past 18 years. If that had not happened and we used those monies like sane people we would have free colleges and universities, new schools, maybe free healthcare too. Happy Thanksgiving to President Bush and the war machine.

  201. They are elsewhere. Just not in America because freedom or something.

  202. @Peter A university education costs about $3,100 a year in the Not-rich country of Ireland.

  203. Not ‘free’. Paid for by taxes, heavily regulated and rationed, and off limits to all but the best applicants. You need the last three to make the first one even remotely possible.

  204. Many of the comments here lack an understanding of the big picture. The fact is, an educated workforce is the best thing for the country—it will improve standard of living and prepare future minds to contribute to advancing our nation. Statisticlly, educated populations have less violence than uneducated populations. We should WANT people to become educated. Additionally, in a country with dramatic and widening gaps in social class, education is an equalizer, giving everyone a fair shot at a good life. We are the most advanced nation on earth, in some ways anyway. Young people should not choose to avoid getting a university educated due to the fact that university costs 8x more than it did in the 50s (and is essentially only available for rich kids?) We need a sustainable solution here, and telling young people not to attend a university will be worse in the long term for all of us. What if they actually listen?! You want a country of uneducated adults? Also, the interest rate on student loans is disgustingly high—higher than in banking even. Shame! Let’s examine how other first-world, rich, productive, peaceful countries do it and see if we can adjust our system for the better.

  205. @Anastasia Bailey A healthy population is the best thing for the country too, but no one is screaming that a person without insurance who gets cancer or other terrible illness, should have their debt wiped out. And that person's ability to buy a house, marry, etc. is crushed as much as a student debtor. The issue here is that people want loan forgiveness for themselves and their families because they feel the effect of the devastation of owing so much. Those same people likely have zero empathy for the person with the health crisis and no insurance. Or the working person who can't even afford a studio apartment. It's really no wonder why so many push back against this loan forgiveness. If everyone acknowledged the plight of others and demanded action on all of those things, then we might get somewhere.

  206. It is a mistake to work with the government on anything. Although you'll find the rich ripping off FEMA in every natural disaster possible. If you were one of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), now the Republican Government knows where you are and they can send over Immigration and Custom Enforcement. The big point in the article, the government paid some organization a $1.3 billion for work they could have done themselves. Crooks, them and our congressman and current President.

  207. This many hyperlinks in an article tells you the writers don't know how to explain the problem. Am I supposed to stop on each link, click and read it, so I know to what they refer, then proceed with the article? I'd be here days. Thoughtless to the point of grimace-inducing.

  208. It's called identifying their sources. It used to be that writers would identify their source by saying "According to this research study..." They still do that to a certain extent, but I find more reporters just link.

  209. I suspect there‘a a sizable portion of the Republicans in Washington who like when programs like college loan forgiveness fail. It feeds into their mantra that everything the government does, private corporations can do better and for less money. . Until we can get either the Presidency or the Senate, or both, back in the hands of Democrats, I wouldn’t expect much to change in the loan forgiveness program.

  210. All this happened under a DEMOCRATIC presidency

  211. @ZAW This is the reason they devote inadequate resources to administering the law- to claim that programs to assist people and hold corporations accountable are government failures. It’s not enough just to create laws.

  212. They also love an uneducated gullible population who will vote for them and not ask questions. Authoritarians like to get rid of intellectuals.

  213. The college loan program is extremely dangerous, both in design and in practice. But particpants don't fully realize that until it is too late.

  214. As long as Secretary DeVos is in charge, this will go nowhere. She has no incentive to fix the problem. This is also why the current moderate Democratic candidates are not acceptable. Only Bernie or Warren (and she doesn't go far enough) will actually do something about the growing student debt crisis.

  215. I don’t think it’ll get fixed under a Democrat president unless there’s enough Democrats in Congress to get a majority.

  216. @Jackson Probably because of the Clinton (and hence DNC funding) relationship with the largest for-profit college in the country, Laureate Education. He was their honorary chancellor, pulling $17.5 million a year. Makes Betsy DeVos look like an amateur grifter.

  217. 10 year plan started in 2007. Obama=2008-2016.