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Troubled student loan forgiveness program gets an overhaul | National Politics

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The changes are seen as a short-term fix while the agency considers permanent improvements through a federal rulemaking process. The department started holding hearings this week as part of a process that could bring sweeping change to federal student aid programs, including the public service benefit.

Advocacy groups praised the temporary changes. Aaron Ament, president of the legal group Student Defense, which has represented students in lawsuits over the program, called it a “huge step in the right direction.”

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said the change is welcome.

“Today we breathe a collective sigh of relief as the Kafkaesque system that dashed the dreams of far too many finally starts to be dismantled,” she said.

The program has been a source of bipartisan scorn — Democrats and Republicans have agreed that the program is flawed and needs to be updated. But Republicans said the Education Department is overstepping its authority by moving to alter a program that Congress created.

Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., the top Republican on the House education committee, said President Joe Biden’s administration is “circumventing Congress through executive action.”

“We agree this program is in desperate need of reform; however, such reforms require Congressional action, and we encourage you to work with us to fix the federal loan and repayment program,” Foxx said in a letter to Cardona.

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