MLSA Offers Support for Student Loan Forgiveness Program

Last month, MLSA joined with the National Consumer Law Center and the student Borrower Protection Center to file a brief before the Montana Supreme Court in support of an appeal by James Reavis, who seeks relief after his federal student loan servicer miscounted his student loan payments for eligibility for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. The PSLF Program is a federal program designed to support students who enter relatively low-paying public service careers, such as with the government or a non-profit organization, by forgiving their student loans after they have made 10 years of qualifying payments.

This program is essential to many public service workers, who often make the decision to begin low-paying careers based on the belief that the federal government will forgive their student loans. When their loans are not forgiven, or are delayed due to errors on the part of loan servicing agencies, it can have a significant impact on public service workers’ finances and career decisions. From 2018-2019, fewer than 1% of individuals who applied for student loan forgiveness under the PSLF Program saw their loans forgiven.

Tal M. Goldin, MLSA’s Director of Advocacy, said of the decision to support the appeal: “Abusive practices by student loan servicers have devastating impacts on everyday Montanans—individuals trying to build a life on a tight budget while watching their student loan balances increase instead of decrease each month. Like Mr. Reavis, many of MLSA’s attorneys and staff made life-changing choices to dedicate their professional work in the service of people living in poverty based on the unfulfilled promise of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Fair implementation of the Program is a critical part of MLSA’s ability to hire professionals to help thousands of domestic violence survivors, crime victims, and low-income families across Montana. Their voices should be heard before the Montana Supreme Court.”

To read the full press release on MLSA’s support of the PSLF Program, click here.