July 21, 2022
The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Biden:
The undersigned 134 organizations representing students, student loan borrowers, teachers, workers, and consumers write to urge you to extend, expand, and coordinate more closely the current Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) waiver (Waiver) and Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Adjustment (Adjustment) in order to fulfill the promise of affordable and manageable loan repayment for borrowers. Although we applaud your administration’s efforts to improve these programs, both the Waiver and Adjustment currently exclude critical groups of borrowers and fail to maximize the potential benefit for borrowers who are covered.
The Waiver, set to expire after October 31, 2022, gives credit toward PSLF loan forgiveness to public service workers whose prior time was previously considered partially or completely
ineligible, whereas the IDR Adjustment, which has no specific deadline but which the U.S. Department of Education estimates will take effect in early 2023, similarly awards credit toward IDR loan forgiveness for time that was previously ineligible. Because IDR credit counts towards PSLF loan forgiveness, these two programs should operate in lock step to maximize effectiveness, however their current staggered deadlines mean that borrowers who rely on the Waiver to access PSLF loan forgiveness will effectively be denied the later-in-time IDR Adjustment’s benefits. Further, some borrowers who have experienced significant hardship in repaying their loans, including those who have filed for bankruptcy, those who have defaulted, and those struggling to repay Parent PLUS Loans, are either explicitly or practically excluded from these policies.
To ensure your administration’s policies have their intended effect, we urge you to (1) extend the deadline for the PSLF waiver through at least 2023 and calibrate the IDR adjustment timeline accordingly; (2) expand both policies to ensure that all borrower types receive credit for the entirety of the time since they first entered repayment; and (3) extend the payment pause to a date after which loan cancellations from the Waiver and Adjustment will be processed, to reduce confusion and ensure that borrowers whose loans will be cancelled do not needlessly resume repayment. Finally, the administration must provide clear information to borrowers and the public about the two programs so that borrowers and those who work with them fully understand their options and can make informed decisions about how to manage their loans.
We believe these steps are necessary to deliver the relief that your administration has worked hard to provide and to ensure that all borrowers are given equal access to their rights under federal law.