Ropes & Gray, ABA File Lawsuit Against Department of Education over Retroactive Denials of Commitments Made under Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

In The News
December 20, 2016
Ropes & Gray is representing the American Bar Association and four individual plaintiffs on a pro bono basis in a lawsuit filed Dec. 20 against the United States Department of Education. The suit is seeking to stop the Department’s decision to retroactively refuse to honor loan forgiveness commitments it made under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) to individuals who have dedicated their careers to public service.

The suit, including four individual plaintiffs who were denied eligibility under PSLF, details how the Department of Education changed the eligibility requirement for work that was clearly “public service” after already approving the work and after individuals made decisions and loan repayments based on those approvals.

Antitrust partner Chong Park is leading the Ropes & Gray team working on a pro bono basis. “Ensuring our loan forgiveness programs work effectively is critical to the efforts of public service organizations to attract and retain talent,” said Mr. Park. “These dedicated and service-oriented professionals deserve a fair shake from the Department of Education.

The suit is asking the court to recognize that the American Bar Association is a “public service organization” that employs individuals in “public service jobs” for the purposes of the PSLF, vacate the Department of Education’s retroactive interpretation of plaintiff eligibility, reinstate the previous eligibility certifications issued, and adopt and provide public notice of its interpretation.

A copy of the complaint can be read here.

The American Bar Association’s press release can be read here.