Public servants with student loans were furious, and the U.S. Department of Education heard them. The department revealed Thursday that it will simplify the process for borrowers to apply for an expansion of the troubled Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.
The move comes after a damning Government Accountability Office review, first reported by NPR. In that 2019 review, the federal watchdog found that during the expansion program’s first year, the department turned away 99% of applicants.
The change — which the department posted to the Federal Register without a news release or other public announcement — will address one of the most alarming revelations in the GAO’s review: 71% of denials were essentially due to a paperwork technicality. According to the GAO, more than 38,000 applicants were denied relief under the expansion — known as Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) — simply because they hadn’t first applied for and been denied PSLF.