AALL Spectrum

AALL Spectrum / July/August 2020 / Volume 24, Number 6

AALL Spectrum / Published by American Association of Law Libraries

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JULY/AUGUST 2020 | AALL SPECTRUM 51 tool. However, since program partic- ipants began submitting forgiveness applications in 2017, the rate of rejec- tion by ED has been reported as high as 98.8 percent. In 2018, Congress felt compelled to enact Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) in an effort to provide relief to borrowers rejected under the regular program, but this program suffers from a similar rate of rejection. ED has found itself the target of several lawsuits, and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued reports critical of the administration of both programs. The rejection rates, coupled with the uncertain future of the program, undermines the utility of PSLF as a recruiting tool at this time. Background According to the advocacy website Law School Transparency, tuitions at both private and public law schools have far outstripped inflation—e.g., for public law schools, average tuition was $2,006 in 1985 (in 1985 dollars); adjusting for inflation, this would have been $4,670 in 2018 dollars, but actual average tuition in 2018 was $27,160. (View the Law School Transparency data at bit.ly/JA20LST.) The Pew Research Center reports that wage growth over the same period has been stagnant from a purchasing power standpoint. (Learn more at bit.ly/JA20PEW.) This suggests a worsening affordability gap for law school education. In response to ballooning educa- tional debt, the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 set up PSLF. Beginning October 1, 2007, eligible borrowers could start making qualifying payments (defined below) toward loan forgiveness. In 2012, ED introduced Employment Certification Forms (ECFs) to verify borrowers were work- ing for a qualifying employer. After the initial certification is completed, ED recommends borrowers file ECFs annually. Applicants must meet four different requirements to qualify for PSLF: 1. The Loan The loan to be forgiven must be a Direct Loan, issued under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan program. It can either be originally issued as such or consolidated as a Direct Loan from other programs (e.g., Federal Family Education Loan, Perkins). 2. The Plan Most of your payments on the loan must be made under plans which fall under the umbrella of income-driven repayment (IDR): Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE); Pay As You Earn (PAYE); Income-Based Repayment (IBR); and Income-Contingent 3 Rejected by Servicer 3 Approved by Servicer 3 Pending 3 Rejected by Servicer 3 Approved by Servicer PSLF Application Dispositions to 6/30/19 1,216 8,677 100,835 TEPSLF Application Dispositions to 6/30/19 16,740 726

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