Teachers union to sue Education Department over student loan forgiveness program

The American Federation of Teachers is planning to file a lawsuit Thursday against the Education Department over the public service student loan forgiveness program, NPR reported.

The suit reportedly argues that the program, which is supposed to forgive student loans for millions of public service workers, is in such bad shape that it violates federal law and the Constitution.

Congress created the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program over a decade ago.

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The program promises to forgive the remainder of federal student loan debt for graduates who pay loans for 10 years and work in a qualifying job for the government or a nonprofit.

"The promise is broken, virtually all the time," Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, told NPR. "This is a debacle."

According to the Education Department itself, only 1 percent of the people who think they've made their 10 years of payments and apply for loan forgiveness are getting approved.

"The Department of Education just cannot seem to get this right," Christopher Peterson, a law professor at the University of Utah and a former top attorney at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, told NPR. "They keep making mistakes and are not appropriately administering this program that Congress has created."