The past ten months of the Biden presidency begs the following question: Does everything that the Biden administration touch end up in a disaster?
The question comes at a time when the Biden Department of Education, led by cabinet secretary Miguel Cardona, is struggling to push through a debt-relief (i.e. student loan forgiveness) program for government workers.
Almost a month after the initial announcement of temporarily expanding the program, government contractors barely have any specific details about the program’s rollout. According to the Washington Post, the federal student loan services (or debt collectors) have press materials that are also available to the public. But there are no specific details on how the program will be administered.
The department, in its announcement, said it would temporarily permit borrower payments for federal student loans to count toward the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. The program cancels outstanding debt after ten years of on-time payments, as long as the borrower works for the government for a decade. The announcement was supposed to allow borrowers to receive debt relief until October 31, 2022 without jumping through the bureaucratic hoops.
The Post’s sources said there was insufficient guidance, which confuses borrowers and everyone else involved in the program. It estimated that there are about 550,000 government workers who rely on the program to cancel their student loan debts.
There have been multiple problems in administering the program, such as bad information to borrowers on making debt payments that did not qualify for the program. These struggles put a target on the back of the program, so to speak, at a recent congressional education subcommittee hearing involving the department’s Federal Student Aid office and several Democratic congressional representatives.
The current FSA chief, Richard Cordray, had to stave off criticism from Democrats on the lack of guidance or clarity on the program. Cordray, who previously served as the chief of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under President Barack Obama, told the politicians that their methodical pace was appropriate. “Sometimes quick is the enemy of the good,” Cordray said in the hearing.
Add the Department of Education’s struggles to the list of problems plaguing the Biden administration, in addition to the increasing lack of confidence that Americans have in his administration.