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COE Thanks TRIO for Sharing Stories of Crushing Student Debt — ED Heard You and Has Responded!

October 4, 2021

By Jonathan Elkin

Thanks to the hundreds of TRIO educators who shared their stories of crushing student debt and challenges with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program in our COE survey. COE shared your stories, recommendations, and a summary of survey results with ED to improve the public student loan forgiveness program.

ED will begin a formal negotiated rulemaking process October 4 to update student debt regulations and will consider actions it can take unilaterally to improve public service loan forgiveness. Here are key points from President Hoyler’s letter:

  • Crushing student debt has placed a severe burden on TRIO educators’ current financial situation — especially during the pandemic.
  • Student debt has caused more than two-thirds of responding TRIO educators to consider leaving TRIO or public service.
  • Very few TRIO educators seeking loan forgiveness have been granted it. The program is clearly broken.
  • The Department should take immediate actions to provide TRIO educators with automatic debt relief if they have completed ten years of public service and provide partial debt relief for each year of public service, before waiting for all ten years of public service to forgive all remaining debt.
  • Consistent with the law creating PSLF, the Department should explicitly include TRIO educators and others working in college access and retention services for eligibility in any improvements to the program, and work with COE and TRIO grantees on outreach to ensure TRIO educators can take advantage of any improvements the Department makes.

Read COE President Maureen Hoyler’s letter to Secretary Cardona here Document is available for download (.pdf). The letter includes select TRIO educators’ stories of student debt.