This just in… DeVry University has finally admitted that its ads “misled prospective students”, and has agreed to pay out $100,000,000 to settle a lawsuit with the Federal Trade Commission.
Under the agreements of the settlement, DeVry must allocate:
- $49,400,000 for FTC to provide partial refunds to anyone who paid for DeVry classes
- $50,600,000 in loan forgiveness and debt forgiveness benefits to anyone who owes money to DeVry
And that’s a pretty serious penalty, but it’s great news for any of you who qualify for the benefit.
These funds will be made available to anyone who attended DeVry between 2008 and 2015, with some of the students receiving money, and others qualifying for student loan debt relief benefits (debt forgiveness on their DeVry-related student loan debt).
But better yet, I can FINALLY report that I’ve got good news to anyone who is in need of Private Student Loan Forgiveness, and who attended DeVry!
Typically, whenever programs like this are announced, benefits are only available to people with Federal Student Loans, but the DeVry relief and repayment program is going to cover ALL student loans, so no matter where you borrowed the money, if you used it at DeVry, you may be eligible for a refund or debt relief benefit.
What Loans Are Being Refunded?
DeVry University is being forced to cancel all unpaid balances for any private student loans issued by the school between September 1st, 2008, and September 30th, 2015, so if you attended during that time period, you’re in for a major windfall.
In addition, DeVry is going to also be forced to cancel $20,250,000 in debt owed to the school for tuition, books, lab fees and other costs associated with attending their academic programs, pretty much guaranteeing that anybody who went to DeVry during the impacted time period is going to get some kind of financial assistance.
The FTC is also going to host their own refund program, but the details surrounding that have not yet emerged. Be on the lookout for details from DeVry, as they’ve been told they must inform all previous students within 30 days after the judgment gets entered (meaning, very soon).
UPDATE: I was informed by reader Anthony that DeVry will be contacting everyone eligible for this forgiveness program by January 18th, 2017. If you did not hear from them before that deadline, but you are sure that you should qualify for some relief, then you need to contact DeVry, the Department of Education, or the Student Loan Ombudsman Group and start pushing for your benefit. It’s highly likely that some people will be left out (by “accident”) from the initial contact, but don’t let that stop you from pursuing your rightfully earned student loan forgiveness benefit!
UPDATE 2: Anthony has provided another excellent update which includes some good news and some bad… unfortunately, anyone with loans issued by another institution than DeVry (like Federal loans, or Private loans from a bank) will not be automatically eligible for the DeVry debt cancellation program, but will have to use the route of filing a Borrowers Defense Against Repayment to get their loans forgiven.
Are ALL DeVry-Related Loans Being Forgiven?
Unfortunately, no. While I initially interpreted this ruling as stating that any debt at all related to DeVry’s educational costs would be forgiven, reader Anthony has provided another great analysis of some specific details of the program, and it turns out that only loans issued directly from DeVry itself are being automatically cancelled and refunded.
That means that if your loans originated elsewhere, say from the Federal Government, or from a private bank, then you won’t be automatically included in the cancellation and refund initiative.
On the bright side, this doesn’t mean you can’t receive forgiveness, as both the Student Loan Ombudsman Group AND the Department of Education’s StudentAid.ed.gov representative indicated that anyone with outstanding DeVry debt would be easily able to qualify for a Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment discharge, especially since the Government itself has already proven beyond a reasonable doubt that DeVry actively misled students, violated state laws, and essentially ripped people off.
If you still owe money for DeVry educational programs, you need to visit my page about the Borrowers Defense Against Repayment Provision, learn about the application process, and submit your application ASAP. These applications are taking months to get approved, so it’s best to get yours turned in as quickly as possible.
One thing to keep in mind – this is a one shot chance at getting complete student loan forgiveness, so don’t screw it up. It’s worth spending a few hundred or even a couple thousand dollars consulting with an attorney to get their assistance in creating your Borrowers Defense Against Repayment letter.
What Did DeVry Do?
According to the complaint filed with the FTC, DeVry ran ads on Television, the Radio, Online and in Traditional Print Media claiming that their job placement rates and income levels were significantly higher than what it’s actual students reported.
The Department of Education investigated some of their claims, such as one stating that 90% of their graduates since 1975 were able to find jobs in their study areas within just six months of graduation, finding that DeVry couldn’t provide any proof for the claims.
DeVry also falsely claimed that their graduates with Bachelor’s Degrees earned, on average, 15% higher incomes a year after graduating than graduates from other colleges and universities, and again, failed to unearth any proof for the statement.
These statements, my friends, are what’s known as “false advertising”, which is entirely illegal. Fortunately, if you’re a DeVry student or graduate who attended during the affected tim eperiod (2008 to 2015), then you may be eligible for restitution via the DeVry Student Loan Forgiveness & Repayment Program (I made this name up, it’s not official).
How Do I Claim My Benefit?
Right now, there’s no way to claim the benefits, but the FTC page on the matter says that you should “be on the lookout for information… on your eligibility for a refund or for a notification from DeVry explaining your debt forgiveness.”
The FTC also says that DeVry will need to inform the credit bureaus and debt collection agencies about this debt forgiveness program, and that they’ll need to inform you of your personal benefits as well, within 30 days after the court’s order is finalized.
If you’ve been struggling to get your diploma or academic transcripts from DeVry because of your failure to pay down outstanding debt related to their programs, then you’re in for some good news as well, because the school is being forced to issue diplomas and transcripts to all students and graduates, regardless of remaining debt.
Finally, the school is going to have to set up a toll-free phone number you’ll be able to call if your credit report continues to show the wrong information about your DeVry-related debt, basically allowing you to call them on their BS and force them to fix your information with the credit bureaus.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are lots of questions about this forgiveness program, since the news just broke, and so many students are being impacted.
My favorite part about this story isn’t that tons of people will be getting money back, but that just like the ITT Tech Student Loan Forgiveness Program, and the Corinthian Colleges Student Loan Forgiveness Program before it, another For-Profit School is being punished for aggressively pursuing profits above student’s best interest.
Anyway, here are some of the most common questions related to DeVry’s Debt Forgiveness Program:
Are DeVry Refunds Available Now?
No, the refund process isn’t set to start until 2017. There’s no timeline set on when that’ll happen, so you may end up having to wait a few months before funds are made available, but they’re coming!
Who is Eligible for DeVry Forgiveness Benefits?
Anyone who attended the school between January 1st, 2008 and September 30th, 2015, including people who completed degree programs, as well as those who didn’t.
How Can I Claim My Refund?
I outlined it above, but you can’t do anything quite yet. I’ll update this page when the details emerge, but for now, all you can do is sit tight and wait for DeVry to contact you with additional information.
One thing I’d do if I were you is contact the school to make sure they have your updated address, email and phone number, to ensure that you won’t miss the boat on this benefit.
How Much Money Can I Get?
That hasn’t been worked out quite yet, but the amounts are going to be set based on the amount you spent at DeVry, and you may not be paid back in full.
Nobody knows just how much individual will get back quite yet, so keep checking and keep your fingers crossed.
Do I Need to Pay Money for My Refund?
No! If a debt consolidation company or some other vendor contacts you offering to help you get your DeVry student loan forgiveness refund, then hang up the phone!
You’ll be working directly with the school to get this benefit – do NOT pay anyone else to help you get the funding, because that’s bound to be some sort of scam.
Where Can I Get More Info?
I’ll update this page as soon as additional details emerge, but you can visit the official FTC Website for additional details, and sign up for e-mail updates from the FTC to be notified as soon as more information is released.