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Congress DeVos

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on budget on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

A major teachers union is suing the U.S. Education Department over a program designed to forgive student loans for public workers but which has been beset by problems.

The American Federation of Teachers filed a federal lawsuit in Washington on Thursday alleging the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program has been mismanaged, violating the Constitution.

The program was created in 2007 and promised to forgive student loans for graduates who made 120 monthly payments while working as teachers, nurses or other public workers.

Just 1% of applications have been approved. Many applicants say they were wrongly rejected or weren't notified they had the wrong type of loans.

The lawsuit asks for improvements to the application system and a new appeals process.

The department said it does not comment on pending litigation.

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