Phil Weiser

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser at a news conference on Feb. 19 in Denver.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser joined 19 other states and the District of Columbia in support of a lawsuit against the federal Department of Education, calling out its “pervasive errors” in administering the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

In Weingarten v. U.S. Department of Education, plaintiffs allege that the department provided inaccurate information and unfair denials, leaving 99% of applicants with no relief for their student loans.

The PSLF was created in legislation from 2007, with the goal of allowing student loan borrowers to pay down their loans over 10 years while working in lower-paid public service occupations, such as teaching.

The attorney generals’ brief states that of the 91,000 people who applied for discharge in 2017, fewer than 900 received it.

“Many public servants — including here in Colorado — chose their career path while relying on the promise that, after 10 years of service and payments, their federal student loan debt would be erased,” said Weiser in a statement. “Now, after virtually all applicants have been denied, the U.S. Department of Education must be held accountable for abandoning our public servants, leaving them without forgiveness on their student loan debt.” 

Arguing that the mass confusion was not the fault of borrowers, the attorneys general wrote that it was never the intent of Congress “to create a program that denies relief to 99% of applicants.”

The brief, filed on Nov. 22, comes after the department halted student debt relief for disabled veterans in October. The move, since reversed, affected more than 20,000 service members.

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