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美国国家公共电台 NPR Education Department Could Do More For Student Loan Borrowers With Disabilities

时间:2019-12-09 02:12来源:互联网 提供网友:nan   字体: [ ]



An exclusive now, an NPR investigation1 into what's happening to hundreds of thousands of Americans with student loans and a significant permanent disability. According to U.S. federal law, these borrowers are entitled to have their student loans erased2. But as NPR's Cory Turner and Clare Lombardo report, that is often not happening.

CORY TURNER, BYLINE3: Denise was driving through New York City when her car was rear-ended by a large truck.

CLARE LOMBARDO, BYLINE: The impact ravaged4 her back and legs.

DENISE: I've basically been in pain, chronic5 pain, every day.

LOMBARDO: Denise asked that we not use her full name to protect her privacy.

DENISE: You know, I went from working and doing extra overtime6 all the time. I was called the overtime queen. Now I live on going to doctor's visits.

TURNER: Denise used her loans to help pay for a degree in psychology7. But after the accident, she had to stop working and defaulted. But then on one of her many doctor's visits...

DENISE: I overheard someone in the waiting room telling someone about the discharge that you can have your student loan waivered.

TURNER: John Brooks8 of Georgetown University Law Center says this person Denise overheard was right.

JOHN BROOKS: Anybody who is totally and permanently9 disabled can have their student loan fully10 discharged.

LOMBARDO: The problem, says Brooks, is that the U.S. Department of Education doesn't do enough to make sure borrowers like Denise know this benefit exists.

TURNER: According to data provided to NPR by a department official, 365,000 borrowers likely qualify to have their student loans discharged because of a permanent disability. That's more than enough people to fill a city the size of Pittsburgh. And of those, nearly a quarter of a million are already in default.

LOMBARDO: NPR has also found that the vast majority of eligible11 borrowers won't get the hope they're entitled to. Just like Denise Drew, Lehman was badly injured in a car accident and had to stop working full time.

DREW LEHMAN: It was at a point where I couldn't, you know, do anything. I was having trouble just getting up walking.

TURNER: Drew Lehman is 48 and married with two kids. He had no idea he qualified12 for a discharge of his student loans until one day he was on the phone with somebody at the company that manages those loans.

LEHMAN: I got the impression that he really wasn't supposed to be telling me about it but felt sorry for me and told me about the options.

TURNER: Specifically that Lehman might qualify to have his debts erased.

LEHMAN: People don't even know about this. They don't find out about it. Nobody tells you about it.

LOMBARDO: The Ed Department tried to fix this problem a few years ago. It started identifying eligible borrowers and then mailed them letters telling them they qualified.

TURNER: But it requires borrowers to apply for help. It isn't automatic. And according to data provided by an Education Department official, since this outreach began, just over a third of eligible borrowers have even applied13.

PERSIS YU: There's a lot of reasons why people don't respond to these notices.

TURNER: Persis Yu works at the National Consumer Law Center, and she says, first of all, the Department of Education has lots of outdated14 borrower information, including wrong addresses.

YU: So you just have an initial question about whether or not borrowers are actually receiving these notices.

TURNER: But even for borrowers who do receive them, Yu says...

YU: A lot of folks have disabilities that, frankly15, prevent them from going through the process.

LOMBARDO: What's more, tens of thousands of people who do apply to have their loans discharged and get approved still don't make it through.

TURNER: That's because after borrowers get approved, they still have to send in some pretty confusing paperwork verifying their income for three straight years.

LOMBARDO: Investigators16 at the Government Accountability Office looked into this problem a few years back, and they took issue with how these forms were written. Here's the team lead, Allison Bawden.

ALLISON BAWDEN: We found that they did not clearly inform borrowers that failure to return that form and state their income, even if they had no income, would result in their loans being reinstated.

TURNER: The department has slowly been updating this language, but it's easy to understand why many people still would not think that they'd need to verify their income if they're not earning any income.

LOMBARDO: The problem is not turning in that form means getting failed out of the program.

BAWDEN: Tens of thousands of people who are initially17 approved for that discharge have their loans reinstated.

TURNER: In fact, NPR has learned that 44,000 borrowers who had been initially approved to have their loans erased got kicked out of the program, largely because they didn't meet this extra paperwork requirement.

LOMBARDO: They're all back in debt. Not only that, earlier this year, the department told Congress it had discharged the loans of 40% of eligible borrowers.

TURNER: But new data obtained by NPR from a department official show the real number is much lower. Over the past three years, only 28% of eligible borrowers with disabilities have either had their loans erased or are on track for that to happen.

CHRIS COONS: I just don't understand why the Department of Education continues to fail to make good on this opportunity to make a lasting18 difference in the lives of Americans who've already suffered enough.

TURNER: That's Senator Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat19. He's one of a bipartisan group of lawmakers who wrote to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos urging her to make this loan discharge for borrowers with disabilities automatic.

COONS: The Department of Education simply needs to match up Social Security numbers and full names and send a notice of discharge rather than making folks jump through another hoop20 and another layer bureaucratic21 red tape.

LOMBARDO: Several experts we spoke22 with said the income verification requirement is one hoop that needs to go. They said it doesn't prevent fraud like it was intended to. It just makes things harder for borrowers like Drew Lehman.

LEHMAN: I'm now the criminal. I'm now the one that has to be treated like I'm trying to defraud23 the system when I've done everything I was supposed to.

TURNER: It's been years since the car accident that left Drew Lehman unable to work. And now he and Denise and thousands of other borrowers like them are trying to make it through three years of income verification. It is the last step in a long process that Lehman says has left him tired and frustrated24.

LEHMAN: The anxiety, depression, the burden that I face with my family, all because of something that wasn't my fault.

LOMBARDO: For now, Lehman says, he'll be watching the mail, making sure he doesn't miss an important form that could once again leave him saddled with debt. For NPR News, I'm Clare Lombardo.

TURNER: And I'm Cory Turner.


MARTIN: We want to note that NPR has reached out to the Education Department for their response. An official says, quote, "we continue to look for ways to make the process easier to navigate25 for disabled student loan borrowers while maintaining the integrity of the taxpayers26' dollars associated with the discharges."



1 investigation MRKzq     
  • In an investigation,a new fact became known, which told against him.在调查中新发现了一件对他不利的事实。
  • He drew the conclusion by building on his own investigation.他根据自己的调查研究作出结论。
2 erased f4adee3fff79c6ddad5b2e45f730006a     
v.擦掉( erase的过去式和过去分词 );抹去;清除
  • He erased the wrong answer and wrote in the right one. 他擦去了错误答案,写上了正确答案。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • He removed the dogmatism from politics; he erased the party line. 他根除了政治中的教条主义,消除了政党界限。 来自《简明英汉词典》
3 byline sSXyQ     
  • His byline was absent as well.他的署名也不见了。
  • We wish to thank the author of this article which carries no byline.我们要感谢这篇文章的那位没有署名的作者。
4 ravaged 0e2e6833d453fc0fa95986bdf06ea0e2     
毁坏( ravage的过去式和过去分词 ); 蹂躏; 劫掠; 抢劫
  • a country ravaged by civil war 遭受内战重创的国家
  • The whole area was ravaged by forest fires. 森林火灾使整个地区荒废了。
5 chronic BO9zl     
  • Famine differs from chronic malnutrition.饥荒不同于慢性营养不良。
  • Chronic poisoning may lead to death from inanition.慢性中毒也可能由虚弱导致死亡。
6 overtime aKqxn     
  • They are working overtime to finish the work.为了完成任务他们正在加班加点地工作。
  • He was paid for the overtime he worked.他领到了加班费。
7 psychology U0Wze     
  • She has a background in child psychology.她受过儿童心理学的教育。
  • He studied philosophy and psychology at Cambridge.他在剑桥大学学习哲学和心理学。
8 brooks cdbd33f49d2a6cef435e9a42e9c6670f     
n.小溪( brook的名词复数 )
  • Brooks gave the business when Haas caught him with his watch. 哈斯抓到偷他的手表的布鲁克斯时,狠狠地揍了他一顿。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Ade and Brooks exchanged blows yesterday and they were severely punished today. 艾德和布鲁克斯昨天打起来了,今天他们受到严厉的惩罚。 来自《简明英汉词典》
9 permanently KluzuU     
  • The accident left him permanently scarred.那次事故给他留下了永久的伤疤。
  • The ship is now permanently moored on the Thames in London.该船现在永久地停泊在伦敦泰晤士河边。
10 fully Gfuzd     
  • The doctor asked me to breathe in,then to breathe out fully.医生让我先吸气,然后全部呼出。
  • They soon became fully integrated into the local community.他们很快就完全融入了当地人的圈子。
11 eligible Cq6xL     
  • He is an eligible young man.他是一个合格的年轻人。
  • Helen married an eligible bachelor.海伦嫁给了一个中意的单身汉。
12 qualified DCPyj     
  • He is qualified as a complete man of letters.他有资格当真正的文学家。
  • We must note that we still lack qualified specialists.我们必须看到我们还缺乏有资质的专家。
13 applied Tz2zXA     
  • She plans to take a course in applied linguistics.她打算学习应用语言学课程。
  • This cream is best applied to the face at night.这种乳霜最好晚上擦脸用。
14 outdated vJTx0     
  • That list of addresses is outdated,many have changed.那个通讯录已经没用了,许多地址已经改了。
  • Many of us conform to the outdated customs laid down by our forebears.我们许多人都遵循祖先立下的过时习俗。
15 frankly fsXzcf     
  • To speak frankly, I don't like the idea at all.老实说,我一点也不赞成这个主意。
  • Frankly speaking, I'm not opposed to reform.坦率地说,我不反对改革。
16 investigators e970f9140785518a87fc81641b7c89f7     
n.调查者,审查者( investigator的名词复数 )
  • This memo could be the smoking gun that investigators have been looking for. 这份备忘录可能是调查人员一直在寻找的证据。
  • The team consisted of six investigators and two secretaries. 这个团队由六个调查人员和两个秘书组成。 来自《简明英汉词典》
17 initially 273xZ     
  • The ban was initially opposed by the US.这一禁令首先遭到美国的反对。
  • Feathers initially developed from insect scales.羽毛最初由昆虫的翅瓣演化而来。
18 lasting IpCz02     
  • The lasting war debased the value of the dollar.持久的战争使美元贬值。
  • We hope for a lasting settlement of all these troubles.我们希望这些纠纷能获得永久的解决。
19 democrat Xmkzf     
  • The Democrat and the Public criticized each other.民主党人和共和党人互相攻击。
  • About two years later,he was defeated by Democrat Jimmy Carter.大约两年后,他被民主党人杰米卡特击败。
20 hoop wcFx9     
  • The child was rolling a hoop.那个孩子在滚铁环。
  • The wooden tub is fitted with the iron hoop.木盆都用铁箍箍紧。
21 bureaucratic OSFyE     
  • The sweat of labour washed away his bureaucratic airs.劳动的汗水冲掉了他身上的官气。
  • In this company you have to go through complex bureaucratic procedures just to get a new pencil.在这个公司里即使是领一支新铅笔,也必须通过繁琐的手续。
22 spoke XryyC     
n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
  • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company.他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
  • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre.辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
23 defraud Em9zu     
  • He passed himself off as the managing director to defraud the bank.他假冒总经理的名义诈骗银行。
  • He is implicated in the scheme to defraud the government.他卷入了这起欺骗政府的阴谋。
24 frustrated ksWz5t     
adj.挫败的,失意的,泄气的v.使不成功( frustrate的过去式和过去分词 );挫败;使受挫折;令人沮丧
  • It's very easy to get frustrated in this job. 这个工作很容易令人懊恼。
  • The bad weather frustrated all our hopes of going out. 恶劣的天气破坏了我们出行的愿望。 来自《简明英汉词典》
25 navigate 4Gyxu     
  • He was the first man to navigate the Atlantic by air.他是第一个飞越大西洋的人。
  • Such boats can navigate on the Nile.这种船可以在尼罗河上航行。
26 taxpayers 8fa061caeafce8edc9456e95d19c84b4     
纳税人,纳税的机构( taxpayer的名词复数 )
  • Finance for education comes from taxpayers. 教育经费来自纳税人。
  • She was declaiming against the waste of the taxpayers' money. 她慷慨陈词猛烈抨击对纳税人金钱的浪费。
TAG标签:   NPR  美国国家电台  英语听力
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