Navient agrees to settle the teacher loan forgiveness process

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To end a lawsuit brought by a group of teachers, Navient, one of the country’s largest student loan managers, has agreed to change its practices for identifying and guiding public service workers. seeking to use a distressed loan forgiveness program for a long time.

Navient and educators backed by the American Federation of Teachers, one of the nation’s largest unions, said in a court filing late last month that they had agreed to settle a 2018 lawsuit in federal court. of Manhattan.

The lawsuit centered on the notoriously troubled civil service loan cancellation program. It’s supposed to help people in essential but often low-paying government or nonprofit jobs by allowing them to wipe out their remaining student loan debt after a decade of hard work and loan repayments.

But a gauntlet of complex rules has disqualified nearly all those seeking redress. According to the latest data from the Ministry of Education, only 3,200 of the 146,000 applicants for the program have had their loan cancellations approved.

The teachers’ complaint accused Navient of negligently blocking their access to the program by failing to accurately explain its rules and requirements. Many said they spent years making payments, only to find out too late that the payments had not counted towards loan cancellation.

Judge Denise Côté dismissed most of the teachers’ complaints in July. Many were too vague and lacked factual documentation, she wrote, and others did not violate relevant laws. The two sides entered into mediated settlement discussions shortly thereafter.

Navient agreed to train their representatives to listen to key words to identify borrowers who might benefit from the program, develop standardized templates to send to borrowers who request information, and monitor their customer service calls to detect and resolve issues in the program. the way he guides the audience. service workers.

He also agreed to pay $ 1.75 million to fund a new independent organization that will educate and advise borrowers in public service jobs. Each of the 10 complainants will also receive $ 15,000.

Representatives for Navient and the American Federation of Teachers declined to comment on the proposed settlement. If the court grants leave, a notice of the proposed settlement will be sent to all those who have had a loan managed by Navient from late 2007 and who have expressed an interest in the utility’s rebate program.

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