AG declines to represent PHEAA in lawsuits

Western PA News

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro says he will not represent the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency in two legal challenges.

​The lawsuits were filed by the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts over PHEAA’s role in the Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Program.

​​PHEAA is the sole servicer of the program which excuses borrowers who work in public service for 10 years from repaying their loans. As of 2018, the program had approved only 1% of applicants.

​​”I’m the Attorney General of the commonwealth. I represent commonwealth agencies; that is part of my job. PHEAA is an agency of the state, though I want to point out to this group I’m not representing them in this litigation against them,” Shapiro said in October. “I’ve deferred to them outside counsel, whoever they want to represent them. I just don’t feel like in good conscience, I can’t do that.”​​

New York’s attorney general says the agency has saddled borrowers with debt for long periods of time by being too slow to process applications, mishandling payments, and steering borrowers toward less beneficial repayment options.

​​A PHEAA spokesman told ABC27 News that they typically handle litigation with their own legal team and resources. He said it is not unique or unusual that this type of litigation would be managed internally.​

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