They’ve been waiting for student loan forgiveness, even though they qualified 6 years ago.
Here’s what you need to know — and what it means for your student loans.
A group of student loan borrowers filed a new, major lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education alleging they have been waiting six years to get student loan forgiveness.
Student loan forgiveness: the allegations
- In November 2016, the Illinois Attorney General filed a group Borrower Defense to Repayment application with the U.S. Department of Education on behalf of defrauded students who attended Westwood College’s criminal justice program in Illinois.
- Borrower defense to repayment is one strategy to get student loan forgiveness for your federals student loans if your college or university closed or misled you.
- After filing the group application, the State of Illinois and Westwood reached a settlement to cancel institutional student loans. However, the settlement did not include federal student loans held by the U.S. Department of Education.
- The student loan borrowers claim that they qualify for student loan discharge.
- However, the Education Department never approved their student loan borrower defense to repayment applications, which has hurt hundreds or thousands of student loan borrowers who should have received student loan forgiveness.
- These student loan borrowers are seeking total student loan forgiveness of their federal student loans through student loan discharge.
“For nearly six years, across administrations, the Department has shirked its obligations, leaving countless borrowers in the dark about whether or when they’ll receive the relief they’re owed under federal law,” Student Defense Litigation Director Eric Rothschild said. “The Department has everything they need to free borrowers from financial limbo and offer them a well-deserved fresh start. It’s beyond time they act on it.”
Student loan cancellation: the Education Department has canceled some student loans
The Education Department has approved at least some student loan cancellation for student loan borrowers who attended Westwood. For example, the Education approved $53 million in student loan cancellation for 1,600 student loan borrowers who attended Westwood. From 2002 through its 2015 closure, the Education Department found that all of Westwood’s campuses engaged in widespread misrepresentations about the ability of students to transfer credits to other colleges and universities. From 2004 until 2015, the Education Department found that Westwood made substantial misrepresentations to students that its criminal justice program would lead to careers as police officers in Illinois, particularly in Chicago. However, the Chicago Police Department would not accept Westwood credits in their hiring process.
“Westwood misled students into participating in its criminal justice program by deceiving them about their odds of finding employment as police officers after their graduation,” Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said. “I urge the Department of Education to provide the just relief due to students who took out federal loans in good faith with expectation of being provided reasonable opportunity for careers in law enforcement.”
How to get a student loan forgiveness through borrower defense to repayment
President Joe Biden has canceled more than $17 billion of student loans since becoming president. This includes $2.1 billion of student loan cancellation for 132,000 student loan borrowers under borrower defense to repayment. To apply for borrower defense to repayment, contact your studenet loan servicer or apply directly online. To qualify for student loan forgiveness, your college or university must have closed while you were enrolled or shortly after you withdrew. Alternatively, your college or university must have misled you in violation of law.
With the restart of federal student loans approaching, it’s imperative that you get educated on your options for student looan repayment. There are many options, including student loan forgiveness. Here are some ways student loan borrowers have been paying off student loans and saving money:
- Student loan refinancing (lower interest rate + lower payment)
- Income-driven repayment (lower payment)
- Student loan forgiveness (federal student loans)