Patriot Act inadvertently demonstrates the needless complexity of student loans

Hasan Minhaj, discussing student loans on his Netflix show Patriot Act.

You can’t call loan servicers financial terrorists. Terrorists take responsibility for their actions.

Full clip:

Minhaj spends a lot of time slamming Navient, which makes sense because Navient is terrible.

It’s a solid episode that also spends a nice amount of time lambasting Betsy DeVos (please see her 60 Minutes interview with Colbert commentary), the completely unqualified Trump appointee for Secretary of Education, whose main claim to fame in her current role is being wrong in everything she does and generally being an embarrassment. She was apparently picked because she is rich; she has no qualms practicing petty cronyism; and she believes in charter schools, defunding struggling public schools, and especially loves voucher programs that allow people to siphon money out of cash-strapped school districts to help them pay for private school.

But perhaps the best part is at the 17-minute mark, when Patriot Act inadvertently demonstrates the often-confusing and needless complexity of federal student loans by including a news clip that incorrectly describes the requirements for PSLF!

The expository clip states that both Direct and FFEL loans qualify for PSLF. FFEL loans don’t! The FFEL loan problem is one of the most common disqualifying reasons unsavvy borrowers get nailed for when applying for PSLF, and it has not and likely will never be addressed by Congress.

The clip also says you need to work at any non-profit organization. But that’s also wrong! In addition to government work, PSLF is specifically for 501(c)3 organizations or other orgs that provide certain qualifying services approved on a case by case basis.

Even a 27-minute segment on a well-produced show has a hard time getting it right.


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