You Can Do Everything Right and Still Get Screwed: Student Debt Forgiveness Gone Horribly Wrong.

“I don’t have any control over this process at all.”

Sezeryadigar/Herianus/Getty

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

On this week’s episode of the Mother Jones Podcast, the rage-inducing inside story of America’s student debt machine: how the nation’s flagship loan forgiveness program is failing the very people it’s meant to help. You’ll hear disturbing firsthand accounts of how the mismanaged Public Service Loan Forgiveness has left participants swimming in debt, even as they diligently keep abreast of new payments—stories that should be outliers, but turn out to be all too common.

“At this point, I’m kind of resigned to the fact that I don’t have any control over this process at all,” Leigh McIlvaine tells the Mother Jones Podcast. “I still owe $70,000 on my original $70,000 balance.” 

McIlvaine is one of the several debt-soaked workers that reporter Ryann Liebenthal interviewed for Mother Jones‘ latest magazine cover story. By the time she finds herself at the end of the forgiveness program, McIlvaine will have paid close to the original amount she borrowed. “Yet when we talk about her forgiveness,” explains Liebenthal, “it’ll sound like she got $70,000 of forgiveness—as though she kind of took the government for a ride.”

Listen below: 

Also on the show: DC Bureau Chief David Corn tries to make sense of that bizarre Roger Stone video on Instagram, where the former Trump adviser denies the president had any prior knowledge of the Wikileaks dump of Democratic emails. Stone says media outlets might be preparing to publish claims they overheard him giving a heads up to the President about Wikileaks’ actions. “If Roger Stone knew this, who else knew this?” Corn asks. “And was there any—here comes the word—collusion?” Corn also explains the implications of Paul Manafort—Trump’s former campaign chair who was recently found guilty of  tax and bank fraud—having reportedly discussed a plea deal before his second trial in mid September. 

You can listen to these conversations on the Mother Jones Podcast and subscribe using any of the following services:

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate