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Feds find potential fraud in student loan repayment plans

July 25, 2019
FILE - In this Sept. 17, 2018, file photo, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks during a student town hall at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. One of the nation's largest teachers' unions sued the U.S. Education Department on Thursday, July 11, 2019, over a federal program that promises to forgive student loans for public workers but has been beset by problems. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 17, 2018, file photo, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks during a student town hall at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. One of the nation's largest teachers' unions sued the U.S. Education Department on Thursday, July 11, 2019, over a federal program that promises to forgive student loans for public workers but has been beset by problems. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

A federal watchdog agency says thousands of student loan borrowers may be getting their monthly payments lowered by lying about income and family size.

The Government Accountability Office issued a report Thursday finding potential fraud in the Education Department’s income-driven repayment program, which adjusts borrowers’ federal loan payments based on income and family size.

Investigators found 95,100 cases in which borrowers were approved as having no income even though it appears they were earning money. The report also found 40,900 approved plans in which borrowers said they had family sizes of nine or more, including two borrowers who said they had families of 93.

The agency says the Education Department should do more to verify income and family size. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says the department will review the program.

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