Always read the Business Section, kiddos. Beyond the outrages we all expect - Steve Bannon et al. being insanely wealthy for instance, the Russia / Wiretapping talk being a bunch of total hoo-hah, and so forth - there are often overlooked, genuine, honest-to-goodness outrages hiding in plain sight.
For instance, the Department of Education may be invalidating claims submitted under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, effectively destroying the personal finances of anyone who's signed up for public service under the assumption that their student loans would be forgiven.
The bulk of this blog post is derived from this NYT article and this Forbes article. (For the record, the Forbes article takes a much more generous view of what is likely to happen to the people getting the shaft from the Dept. of Education than I do.)
What is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program? It is a program created on a bipartisan basis in 2007 - the end of the W. Bush years - that allows you to have your student debt forgiven if you meet the following criteria: (1) you work in public service, i.e., at a job that pays far less than its private sector equivalent, for ten years or longer, and (2) you make 120 eligible on-time payments.
In other words, it isn't a "get out of jail free" card for student debt - you must take a lower-paying job than you would otherwise for an entire decade of your life, and furthermore, you must make payments that entire time.
But if you do that, your student debt is forgiven! If it sounds like a tremendous win-win for both public service and for countless young professionals who can, with their student loan forgiven, following ten years of public service, leave public service for the private sector (and an accompanying larger paycheck), with their old public service roles filled by a new generation of Americans benefitting from the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, that's because... drum roll please... it is a win-win!!!
Staggeringly, 25 percent of the nation's workforce may qualify for the program. But have you ever heard of it? I had barely heard of it myself. It's certainly not something that's talked about very often, and unsurprisingly, less than 553,000 people have taken advantage of it.
Those 553,000 people may be in the process of getting totally screwed over by the Dept. of Education, however, which has recently taken to reversing the certifications issued to participate in the program - leaving people who deliberately chose lower-paying public service jobs over higher-paying private sector jobs for years on end with a sudden new burden of debt they had not been counting on.
The Department of Education has issued no reason as to why certifications issued to student debt holders under the program are now being reversed (emphases added mine):
[Jaime Rudert, now plaintiff in a suit against the Dept. of Education] submitted the certification form in 2012 and received a letter from [FedLoan Servicing, administrator of the Pubic Service Loan Forgiveness Program] affirming that his work as a lawyer at Vietnam Veterans of America, a nonprofit aid group, qualified him for the forgiveness program. But in 2016, after submitting his latest annual recertification note to FedLoan, he got a denial note.