Earlier this week, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos rescinded relatively new federal guidelines intended to make the student loan repayment process more accurate and transparent. With the possibility that other federal student loan protections could face the same fate, the Attorneys General from dozens of states are reminding former students of defunct for-profit college chain Corinthian Colleges to apply for federal student loan discharges.
The Attorneys General for 44 states and the District of Columbia are expected to send letters to thousands of former WyoTech, Everest University, and Heald College students reminding them to apply to have their loans canceled.
Corinthian College filed for bankruptcy and closed the doors of its campuses in 2015 after facing several investigation from the federal government and states related to its business practices, including allegations that it misled students with inflated graduation rates and job placement statistics.
It was those findings that paved the way for former students — enrolled between 2010 to 2014 — to be eligible for a federal student loan discharge through the Borrower Defense program.
Under the Borrower Defense program, a student’s federal education loans can be forgiven if they can prove their college used deceptive practices to convince them to enroll.
Back in January, the Department of Education announced that it had progress in granting relief to thousands of students who took out federal loans to attend Corinthian College’s schools.
At the time, the Dept. had approved more than 12,000 additional claims from borrowers deceived by CCI’s falsified job placement rates since the most recent borrower defense claims report released in Oct. 2016, the agency said.
In all, more than 28,000 claims filed by students against CCI have been approved, totaling about $558 million in loan relief.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said Thursday that every student — including the 5,800 residing in Illinois — who was misled by Corinthian deserves to have their federal loans canceled.
“These students should not be left with student loan debt from a school that did nothing to qualify them for their careers,” Madigan said.
She also warned students applying for discharges to be aware of scammers looking to take advantage of the process.
Student borrowers can apply for loan forgiveness, or get information on loan forgiveness, for free through the U.S. Department of Education, which never charges application or maintenance fees.