denied their claims. The reviewer wrote that the borrowers had failed to provide evidence and the agency “is not otherwise in possession of evidence to establish a pattern or practice of this type of misconduct.”

Reviewers were under significant pressure to quickly process claims, the new documents show. To clear its backlog, the agency hired dozens of employees and contract lawyers. Their assigned goal was to review at least five cases per hour. Those who did more could earn extra cash and time off. Those who did less were placed on “heightened monitoring” by their managers and subject to remedial action, including termination.

Officially, that system remains in place, said Eileen Connor, the director of litigation for the Harvard Law School’s Project on Predatory Student Lending, which represents the borrowers in the class-action case. Applicants will have no hope of prevailing until the department dismantles its assembly-line approach and gives applications the consideration they deserve, she said.

“There was this whole infrastructure set up to process claims without really contending with them,” Ms. Connor said.

View Source