April 7, 2022 — Letter

The undersigned 116 organizations representing students, student loan borrowers, teachers, workers, civil rights, veterans, people of faith, and consumers write to urge you to deliver on the
promise of income-driven repayment (IDR) programs for federal student loan borrowers through
the creation of an IDR restoration project.

An explosive NPR investigative report revealed that even when borrowers are able to navigate the IDR system, sweeping problems plaguing the IDR program have resulted in the time borrowers spent in repayment potentially not counting towards cancellation. The report showed that this outcome was attributable to a number of striking system flaws and failures, all of which conspired to prevent borrowers from accessing the pathway to a debt-free future.

When Congress passed the first of the modern IDR plans in 1992, it made a promise to borrowers that federal student loan payments would be affordable, and that even if borrowers were low-income, through eventual cancellation, their student loans would not be a lifetime burden. IDR has failed to deliver on every aspect of that promise. It is time now for the Biden Administration to restore faith in IDR through the creation of an IDR waiver.