Wednesday, June 28, 2017
American Lawyer: Trump and Devos Deliver One-Two Punch on Law School Loans, by Steven J. Harper (Northwestern):
Since 2007, the public service loan forgiveness (PSLF) program for federal student loans has been an escape hatch for law graduates and others saddled with overwhelming educational debt. The idea was that a graduate would take a public service job at low pay and reduced monthly loan requirements. After a decade of service, any remaining loan debt was forgiven.
The well-known backstory is that student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. They can follow a person to the grave.
There were and still are problems with PSLF, such as the resulting tax on the imputed income from the forgiven loan. And 10 years is a long time to toil in low wage positions. But the country and many recent graduates have been the better for it. ...
For young lawyers hoping that public service loan forgiveness could be an answer to a lifetime of student debt burdens, President Trump has some bad news. Rather than remedy the problems with a program that can provide enormous help to many recent grads and the organizations for which they work, he wants to eliminate it altogether. It’s analogous to his approach to the Affordable Care Act. Fixing something is more difficult than eliminating it altogether. So Trump proposes to eliminate it.
Amid Trump’s scandals involving Russia and claims of obstruction of justice and business conflicts of interest, many important stories got lost. What’s happening in the U.S Department of Education is one of them. On May 17, The Washington Post reported, “Funding for college work-study programs would be cut in half, public-service loan forgiveness would end and hundreds of millions of dollars that public schools could use for mental health, advanced coursework and other services would vanish under a Trump administration plan to cut $10.6 billion from federal education initiatives.”