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Weingarten v. DeVos

Student Defense represented the American Federation of Teachers in a lawsuit accusing the Department of Education and former- Secretary Betsy DeVos of stymying public service workers from meaningful access to a loan forgiveness program specifically designed to benefit public servants.

The landmark complaint, Weingarten v. DeVos, laid bare the gross mismanagement of the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program by the Department of Education. PSLF is a loan forgiveness plan, adopted with broad bipartisan support, and signed into law by President George W. Bush. The program allows qualifying public service workers to receive a federal student loan discharge after 10 years of repayment, potentially saving them tens of thousands of dollars.

The suit was brought by the American Federation of Teachers, AFT President Randi Weingarten, and eight AFT members. The complaint cited numerous violations of the Administrative Procedure Act and the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause. The Plaintiffs sought a court order requiring the Department of Education to adopt a process to identify and account for its errors and loan servicers’ misrepresentations, to give applicants a real opportunity to provide evidence in support of PSLF applications, and to provide sufficient detail regarding PSLF denials in order to ensure that applicants can understand the basis underlying any adverse decision.

Weingarten v. DeVos was filed July 11, 2019 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. 

UPDATE: On October 12, 2021, Weingarten and eight individual AFT member plaintiffs reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Education. This settlement helps ensure that millions of public employees receive the loan forgiveness they were promised. A copy of the settlement agreement is available HERE.  


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