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May 22, 2024

VIDEO: Pressley, Advocates, Colleagues Urge Administration to Fire Student Loan Servicer MOHELA

MOHELA Has Repeatedly Failed to Perform Basic Loan Serving Functions, Harmed Student Borrowers

4 in 10 Borrowers Have Experienced Servicing Failures Under MOHELA

Press Conference (YouTube) | Photos (Dropbox)

WASHINGTON – Today at a press conference on Capitol Hill, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), colleagues, borrowers, and advocates urged the Biden Administration to terminate the contract of federal student loan servicer MOHELA. Their calls follow MOHELA’s repeated failure to perform basic loan servicing functions and ongoing harm caused by MOHELA to student loan borrowers.

Joining Rep. Pressley at the press conference were Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (MN-05); Congressman Greg Casar (TX-35); Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04); Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA); Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers; Mike Pierce, Executive Director, Student Borrower Protection Center; Thomas Gokey, Policy Director, The Debt Collective; and Satra Taylor, Director of Higher Education & Workforce Policy and Advocacy, Young Invincibles.

“We can no longer stand by while MOHELA abuses our borrowers, exacerbates the student debt crisis, and undermines President Biden’s efforts to deliver the student debt relief the people demand and deserve,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “The Biden Administration must protect borrowers by firing MOHELA and making clear to loan servicers that their negligence, exploitation, and profiteering will not be tolerated. There must be accountability.”

“I’ve heard far too many horror stories from student loan borrowers in my state dealing with MOHELA’s incompetence,” said Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. “It is imperative that MOHELA is finally held accountable for violating borrowers’ rights time and again through shoddy practices. At a recent Education and Workforce Committee Budget hearing, I emphasized to Secretary Cardona how MOHELA’s abysmal record has real consequences for people’s lives and financial futures. I strongly urged Secretary Cardona to take decisive action by stripping MOHELA of its servicer role. Borrowers nationwide deserve far better than the stress and chaos MOHELA has caused through its repeated failures.”

“Student loan providers like MOHELA have failed working Americans and enough is enough – it’s time to fire MOHELA,” said Congressman Greg Casar (TX-35). ”From our constituents spending hours on hold with them, to being denied credit for loan forgiveness, the Biden Administration needs to protect working Americans. It’s time to fire MOHELA and cancel all student debt.”

“MOHELA failed to deliver quality service to millions of borrowers, including thousands in Massachusetts,” said Senator Markey. “We must hold MOHELA to account for their egregious errors. The crushing weight of student loan debt disproportionately falls on Black and Brown borrowers and first-generation students, and I will not stop fighting until student loan debt appears only in a school history book.”

“I represent a working class district in a state that collectively holds $61 billion in student debt. MOHELA has failed student borrowers and my constituents monumentally,” said Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García. “MOHELA isn’t just making it harder for people to pay down their debt. It is blocking people from the relief they’re entitled to. I am proud to join my colleagues in calling on the Department of Education to terminate MOHELA’s contract.”

“For too long, MOHELA’s greedy and reckless practices have hurt many borrowers in New York and across the country,” said Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez. “Nearly 3 million MOHELA customers have experienced a documented servicing failure since loan payments resumed. No borrower deserves this treatment, and it’s time for the Department of Education to hold MOHELA and all student loan servicers accountable.”

“At every step on its path to becoming the behemoth it is today, MOHELA failed student loan borrowers. From lost paperwork to hours-long call hold times to its secret call deflection scheme, MOHELA pursued its own growth at borrowers’ expense. To fix the broken student loan system and finally protect borrowers, we have to cancel student debt and fire MOHELA,” said Mike Pierce, executive director of Student Borrower Protection Center.

“For years, the Debt Collective has been inundated with messages from our members about MOHELA completely butchering borrowers’ accounts, from sending incorrect billing statements to illegally auto-debiting accounts,” said Astra Taylor, Debt Collective Co-founder. “It’s time for the Department of Education to Fire MOHELA, the failed student loan servicer at the heart of the frivolous right-wing legal case against Biden’s efforts to cancel student debt.”

MOHELA has failed to perform basic servicing functions such as providing borrowers with access to correct information about their loans and options, and processing basic forms, and has instead chosen a complex “call deflection” scheme—a byzantine loop of misinformation and false promises. In all, more than four in ten student loan borrowers MOHELA services have experienced a servicing failure since loan payments resumed in September 2023.

Full video from the press conference is available here and photos are available here.

Rep. Pressley has been a leading voice in Congress urging President Biden to cancel student debt. Following years of advocacy by Rep. Pressley—in partnership with colleagues, borrowers, and advocates—the Biden-Harris Administration announced a historic plan to cancel student debt that stands to benefit over 40 million people.

  • On May 20, 2024, Rep. Pressley, along with Reps. Omar, Clyburn and Wilson, led their colleagues in urging the U.S. Department of Education to ensure its proposed student debt relief rule is implemented in the most effective and efficient manner possible for millions of borrowers.
  • On May 1, 2024, Rep. Pressley issued a statement applauding the Biden Administration’s approval of student loan discharge for 317,000 borrowers who attended The Art Institutes, including over 3,500 borrowers in Massachusetts.
  • On April 14, 2024, Rep. Pressley applauded President Biden’s approval of an additional $7.4 billion in student debt cancellation for 277,000 borrowers.
  • On April 8, 2024, Rep. Pressley hailed President Biden’s announcement of new plans to provide student debt relief for tens of millions of borrowers across the country.
  • On March 21, 2024, Rep. Pressley applauded the Biden-Harris Administration’s approval of $5.8 billion in additional student loan debt cancellation for 77,700 public service workers.
  • On March 20, 2024, Rep. Pressley and Senator Elizabeth Warren led their colleagues in calling on federal agencies to end the practice of offsetting Social Security benefits to pay off defaulted student loans.
  • On March 7, 2024, Rep. Pressley welcomed Priscilla Higuera Valentine, a first generation American, a proud union educator with Boston Public Schools and the Boston Teachers Union, and the daughter of a Colombian immigrant, who has received over $117,000 in student debt relief under the Biden-Harris Administration’s improved Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program, as her guest to President Biden’s State of the Union Address.
  • On February 23, 2024, Rep. Pressley applauded the Biden-Harris Administration’s approval of $1.2 billion in student debt cancellation for nearly 153,000 borrowers nationwide, including $19.5 million in cancellation for 2,490 Massachusetts borrowers.
  • On January 26, 2024, Rep. Pressley and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) led their colleagues in calling on the Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to host a fourth session of the student debt negotiated rulemaking to consider relief for borrowers experiencing financial hardship. She applauded ED’s announcement that it would heed their calls.
  • On December 11, 2023, Rep. Pressley testified at the U.S. Department of Education’s final hearing on student debt cancellation.
  • On December 11, 2023, Rep. Pressley and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), along with Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Alex Padilla (D-CA), and Representatives Ilhan Omar (MN-05) and Frederica Wilson (FL-24), sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, urging him to leverage his existing and full authority under the Higher Education Act to provide expanded student debt relief to working and middle-class borrowers. 
  • On November 30, 2023, Rep. Pressley emphasized the crucial role of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in protecting student loan borrowers from incompetent and predatory student loan servicers.
  • On November 6, 2023, Rep. Pressley joined Attorney General Andrea Campbell, Mayor Michelle Wu, and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for a clinic to help federal student loan borrowers access a temporary opportunity to get closer to Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). 
  • On September 25, 2023, Rep. Pressley hosted a policy discussion with borrowers and advocates at which they renewed their urgent call for student debt cancellation with loan payments set to resume on October 1, 2023.
  • On August 23, 2023, Rep. Pressley, Sen. Warren, and their colleagues led over 80 lawmakers in a letter to President Joe Biden, urging him to swiftly deliver on his promise to deliver student debt cancellation to working and middle class families by early 2024. 
  • On August 22, 2023 Rep. Pressley applauded Governor Maura Healey’s plan to provide student debt relief for health care workers in Massachusetts. 
  • On June 30, 2023, Rep. Pressley responded to the President’s alternative proposal to deliver relief under the Higher Education Act and called for swift and efficient implementation.
  • On June 30, 2023, Rep. Pressley issued a statement slamming the Supreme Court’s decision to block President Biden’s student debt cancellation plan and calling on the President to use other tools available to swiftly cancel student debt.
  • On May 30, 2023, Rep. Pressley filed an amendment to H.R. 3746, legislation to raise the debt ceiling, to protect student loan borrowers and preserve the Biden Administration’s pause on federal student loan payments.
  • On May 24, 2023, Rep. Pressley issued a statement slamming Republicans’ harmful effort to overturn President Biden’s student debt relief, including his debt cancellation plan, the pause on student loan payments, and the expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.
  • On May 24, 2023, Rep. Pressley delivered a powerful speech in support of President Biden’s plan to cancel student debt, which would benefit millions of people across the country.
  • On April 5, 2023, Rep. Pressley and Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote to the CEO of SoFi Technologies and SoFi Lending Corp calling on the company to answer for its lawsuits attempting to end the student loan payment pause and force borrowers back into repayment.
  • On March 7, 2023, Rep. Pressley, along with Sens. Warren, Schumer, Sanders, Padilla and Reps. Clyburn, Omar and Wilson led a letter to the Biden Administration expressing continued support for President Biden’s student debt relief plan.
  • On February 28, 2023, Rep. Pressley rallied with borrowers and advocates outside the Supreme Court to call on the Supreme Court to affirm the legality of President Biden’s student debt cancellation plan.
  • On November 22, 2022, Rep. Pressley issued a statement applauding the extension of the student loan payment pause.
  • On October 25, 2022, Rep. Pressley and Senator Warren toured communities across Massachusetts to celebrate the Biden administration’s student debt cancellation plan and help residents sign up for student loan relief.
  • On October 12, 2022, Rep. Pressley joined parent borrowers and advocates for a discussion on the impacts of student debt cancellation on parents and families.
  • On September 29, 2022, Rep. Pressley, along with Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Reps. Omar, Jones and advocates, held a press conference to call for swift and equitable implementation of President Biden’s student debt cancellation plan.
  • On September 21, 2022, Rep. Pressley delivered a powerful speech on the House floor in which she heralded President Biden’s action to cancel student debt for millions of families in the Massachusetts 7th and across the nation. Watch the full video here.
  • On September 12, 2022, Rep. Pressley and Senator Warren wrote to the nine federal student loan servicers to inquire about how they are providing borrowers with accurate and timely information about student loan cancellation.
  • On August 24, 2022, Congresswoman Pressley issued a statement applauding President Biden’s action to cancel student debt.
  • On August 10, 2022, Congresswoman Pressley and Senator Warren Massachusetts joined Massachusetts union leaders in Dorchester for a roundtable discussion on student debt cancellation.
  • On July 18, 2022, Congresswoman Pressley delivered remarks at the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) national convention and renewed her calls for President Biden to cancel student debt by executive action.
  • On July 8, 2022, Congresswoman Pressley with The Debt Collective hosted a virtual roundtable with student debt holders from all walks of life to highlight the intersectional burden the nearly $2 trillion student debt crisis has had on individuals and families. 
  • On June 22, 2022, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, with Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, joined AFL-CIO and union leaders for a roundtable discussion on the importance of student debt cancellation for American workers.
  • On May 20, 2022, Congresswoman Pressley applauded the Congressional Black Caucus’ (CBC) statement calling on President Biden to cancel student loan debt.
  • On May 4, 2022, Congresswoman Pressley visited Bunker Hill Community College to celebrate the $1 million in federal community project funding she secured and continued her calls for President Biden to cancel student debt.
  • On March 17, 2022, Congresswoman Pressley and Arisha Hatch, vice president and chief of campaigns at Color of Change, published an op-ed in Grio calling on President Biden to use his executive order authority to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt per borrower.
  • On December 8, 2021, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer sent a bicameral letter to President Joe Biden releasing new data about the adverse impact of restarting student loan payments and calling on him to act to cancel up to $50,000 of student debt.
  • On December 2, 2021, Congresswoman Pressley delivered remarks on the House floor in which she reiterated her calls for President Biden to cancel $50,000 in federal student loan debt by executive action.
  • On October 8, 2021, Representatives Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar and their House colleagues sent a letter to President Biden and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona urging him to release the memo to determine the extent of the administration’s authority to broadly cancel student debt through administrative action.
  • On July 29, 2021, Congresswoman Pressley issued a statement reaffirming President Biden’s authority – and the urgency – to cancel student loan debt.
  • On June 23, 2021, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Congressman Joe Courtney led their colleagues on a bicameral letter to President Biden calling on him to extend the pause on federal student loan payments.
  • On April 13, 2021, Congresswoman Pressley testified at a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Policy hearing to examine the student loan debt crisis in our country.
  • On April 1, 2021, Congresswoman Pressley, along with Senator Elizabeth Warren and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, held a press conference calling on President Biden to tackle the student loan debt crisis.
  • On February 4, 2021, Congresswoman Pressley, along with several Democratic House and Senate leaders, led their colleagues in reintroducing a bicameral resolution outlining a bold plan for President Biden to tackle the student loan debt crisis. 
  • On December 17, 2020, Representatives Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Maxine Waters, and Alma Adams introduced a resolution outlining a bold plan for President-elect Joe Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in Federal student loan debt for student loan borrowers.
  • On December 10, 2020, Congresswoman Pressley was in Yahoo Finance urging the Biden administration to cancel student debt, stressing the impact on Black borrowers.
  • On May 8, 2020, Representatives Ayanna Pressley, Alma Adams, and Ilhan Omar, led 28 of their colleagues and sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy calling for the universal, one-time, student debt cancellation of at least $30,000 per borrower in the next round of COVID-19 relief legislation.
  • On March 23, 2020, Representatives Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar introduced the Student Debt Emergency Relief Act, legislation that provides immediate monthly payment relief for federal student loan borrowers.
  • On March 17, 2020, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley and Senator Elizabeth Warren were on The Hill calling on congressional leadership to include student debt cancellation in the next coronavirus relief package.
  • On October 11, 2019, Congresswoman Pressley introduced legislation – the Ending Debt Collection Harassment Act – to protect consumers from abusive debt collection.
  • On July 17, 2019, Congresswomen Pressley introduced legislation – the Student Borrower Credit Improvement Act – to provide much needed support to private student loan borrowers with a pathway to financial stability by helping them improve their credit.