How to Qualify for an Art Institute Student Loan Refund
UPDATED Tuesday March 24th, 2020
If you have Federal Student Loans related to one of the Art Institute schools that has now closed down, you may be able to qualify for having your loans forgiven, perhaps even entirely.
The Education Department has agreed to expand the period of eligibility under the Closed School Student Loan Discharge Program.
Under this program’s normal rules, you would have had to be enrolled or on an approved leave from the Art Institute within four months of the school closing, but the Department of Education has increased that eligibility timeline to all the way back to January 2018, meaning that anyone who attended the school at any point in 2018 will be eligible for the Closed School Discharge!
And the really good news is that even more assistance may be forthcoming, as several state attorneys general and a series of Democratic congress-members have requested that the Department of Education allow EVERYONE with Federal student loans from the Art Institute schools closed in 2018 or 2019 to have their loans entirely forgiven.
Keep checking back on this page for further updates. Any time that there is more news, I will update this information accordingly.
The Purpose of This Guide
You can qualify for Art Institute student loan forgiveness via the The Borrowers Defense To Repayment program or the Closed School Loan Discharge program.
In this article, I’m going to explain the qualifications for receiving Art Institute loan forgiveness and I’ll also provide you with details on how to apply for the benefits mentioned above. Furthermore, I’ll tell you exactly what you need to do to increase your chances of getting your application for either program approved.
If you’re a former student at the Art Institute and want to find out how to get rid of your student loans, then you’ve come to the right place. Rest assured, Art Institute loan forgiveness is 100% legit. As long as you qualify for either one of the two government programs I mentioned above in order to wipe out your debt for completely, and for good.
But Before I Explain The Lawsuit…
Let me give you one quick piece of advice – the best way to deal with your Art Institute-related student loans is probably not sitting around waiting for the lawsuit to be resolved, or even submitting a BDAR Application that could take years to be processed and approved.If you're truly struggling with student debt, then you should also consider paying a Student Loan Debt Relief Agency for help. Why? Because the people working at these companies deal with student loans all day, every day, and they're your best chance at figuring out how to get your loans back under control.
I've interviewed all sorts of debt relief agencies over the past 10 years, talking to all sorts of so-called "experts", and I can tell you that in all honesty I've only found two companies I trust to offer actual financial relief to people struggling with student loans.
For help with FEDERAL Student Loans: Call the Student Loan Relief Helpline at 1-888-906-3065. They will review your case, evaluate your options for switching repayment plans, consolidating your loans, or pursuing forgiveness benefits, then set you up to get rid of the debt as quickly as possible.
For help with PRIVATE Student Loans: Call McCarthy Law PLC at 1-877-317-0455. They will negotiate with your lender to settle your private loans for much less than you owe, then get you a new loan for the much lower, settled amount. NOTE: McCarthy Law can ONLY help with Private student loans.
If you do decide to call one of these companies and you have a bad experience with either of them, PLEASE make sure to come back and let me know about it in the Comments!
The Art Institute Lawsuit
The company that owns the Art Institutes, Educational Management Corporation, was accused of violating US consumer protection laws, and in 2015, they agreed to forgive up to $103 million in student loan debt.
They also agreed to fork over $95.5 million as a result of a whistleblower’s claim that they were engaging in a student recruitment strategy that violated US federal law, which is good news for former students, as this opens them up to Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment claims.
In other words, The Art Institutes broke the law, and while they never admitted the illegal behavior, they did agree to pay out nearly $200 million dollars to make the lawsuits go away.
This means that there’s a very good possibility that you can qualify for some of that $200 million settlement to get rid of the student loans you took out in order to attend the school.
Two Ways to Discharge Art Institute Loans
As I stated above, there are two ways that former students of the Art Institute can apply for student loan forgiveness:
1. The Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment Program
2. The Closed School Student Loan Discharge Program
Click the links above to be taken to the section of this Guide that details the specifics for each program.
Unfortunately, you cannot apply for both programs. Therefore, you’ll need to choose the student loan forgiveness program that gives you the best chance of actually getting rid of your loans.
Let’s take a look at the differences between the two programs so you can figure out which one will work best for your specific situation.
Discharging Art Institute Loans via Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment
The Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment program was created to help people who took out loans in order to attend schools that broke the law in order to convince them to attend the school.
And because the Art Institute has clearly violated many laws, anyone who took out a student loan to attend one of their schools is basically automatically eligible for the Borrowers Defense Against Repayment program, which offers complete student loan forgiveness.
Remember, you aren’t the only person who was affected by the school’s illegal marketing, enrollment and recruiting activities. Other students took out loans as well in order to attend the school and many of these students have already had their loans forgiven.
Therefore, if you’re still wondering whether or not the forgiveness benefits for the Art Institute are legitimate, I can tell you with certainty that YES, this is likely your best and perhaps only opportunity to wipe out your student loans.
If you do choose to apply for a Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment Discharge, there’s a very good chance that you will be able to get your student loans forgiven entirely.
Listen Closely Now…
But before you get too excited, here’s the most important part of the Borrower’s Defense process: it’s extremely important that you link your Borrower’s Defense claim to the Art Institute’s lawsuit and the fraudulent activity that they’ve been accused of performing.
In order to do that, you will need to add details about the lawsuit into your Borrower’s Defense application, including monetary settlement figures and links to reputable sources containing information about the lawsuit and settlement they agreed to. Consider your application as an attempt to build a case against the school, and if you’ve watched enough court TV, then you know that every case needs evidence to win!
If you are eligible for the program and your application for the Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment is filled out correctly then you will qualify to have your student loans discharged and any payments you have already made toward the loan may even get refunded. Therefore, it’s vital that you pay attention to the details and fill out your application correctly, so let’s look at the application process in more detail.
How to Write Your Borrower’s Defense Claim
When you write your Borrower’s Defense Claim you need to stress the fact that the Art Institute was involved in a lawsuit because they broke the law by doing illegal things to encourage students to attend their schools, and to take out student loans in order to pay for their attendance.. Do not overlook or rush through this essential part of your claim, because it’s literally the most important thing for you prove.
You need to carefully explain that you would never have taken out a loan to attend the Art Institute if the school had not engaged in fraudulent activity designed to convince you to take out those student loans. Stress the fact that the school lied to you and that this was the only reason you decided to take out the student loan, or your application may not be approved.
You’ll need to discuss the specific lawsuit involving the school too, but remember that because the Art Institute agreed to pay out nearly $200 million it will be relatively easy for you to prove that they misled you via false advertising; you just need to explain exactly what they did and how it impacted your decision to attend the school.
Be very specific when explaining how the school misled and tricked you into thinking that it was a good idea to take out the student loan to attend their programs. What exactly did they tell you? Be sure to include everything in your application, and go into detail about it. Remember, you are building your case here so take your time and think it through before you even start writing about what happened and how it influenced you. Make sure that you can tell a clear story about what they said or did that changed your thinking, and convinced you to borrow money to attend the school.
In the next section, I’ll explain exactly the Art Institute did that led that to its closing and class action lawsuit. If any of these things sound familiar to you, then you can use them as the reasons for your Borrower’s Defense Claim, so listen closely and write down anything that you remember happening to you.
What Fraudulent Activity has the Art Institute Been Accused Of?
The Art Institutes are owned by Educational Management Corporation, the second largest for-profit college in the US. In the lawsuit against the Art Institute, which was actually filed against EDMC, they were accused of violating consumer protection laws, leading to a 2015 settlement in which they promised to forgive almost $103 million in student loan debt, and to pay $95.5 million over whistleblower claims that EDMC’s recruitment strategy also violated federal law.
EDMC refused to admit that they had done anything wrong. However, they agreed to pay almost $200 million dollars, which is basically as good as admitting their guilt, and which you can use for your Borrower’s Defense argument.
Of course, it isn’t enough to merely point to the Art Institute’s wrongdoing. You will need to emphasize that the school did these things to you. In other words, you will need to be very specific on your Borrower’s Defense application by explaining what the school said, did, or advertised which convinced you personally that you needed to borrow money to pay for their higher education programs.
Let’s take a look at what exactly EDMC was doing that led to the lawsuit. As a former Art Institute student, ask yourself if any of these things happened to you.
The Art Institute’s Illegal Marketing Activities
A complaint filed in the New York County Supreme Court alleges that EDMC:
- Deceived and misled students about the benefits of an education at their schools.
- Used high-pressure sales tactics on students that they knew weren’t right for the school.
- Falsely claimed that certain programs had the accreditation necessary for licensure.
- Misrepresented both their graduation and their job-placement rates.
Did the Art Institute do any of these things to you? Did you experience any of their marketing or advertising campaigns which made false promises, talked about graduation rates, job-placement rates, or accreditation for licensure that wasn’t actually true? If so, you can use this illegal behavior as your reason for filing a Borrower’s Defense Claim, stating that it was this illegal activity that convinced you to borrow money to attend the school. For additional ideas and more information about all the ugly details of what the school did wrong, be sure to read the official US government press release here.
Where Can I File My Borrower’s Defense Claim?
In order to file your claim, you’ll need to go to the government’s official website for the Borrower Defense Discharge Program and complete their electronic application.
Whatever you do, don’t file a claim anywhere else!
Make sure that you do it at the US government’s official website set up for this purpose, or you may be falling for one of the popular Student Loan Forgiveness Scams floating around.
There are a lot of scammers out there who will make all sorts of wild promises to you.
Don’t believe them! Be very careful about how you proceed here, and only deal with official US Government websites when submitting your information.
Checking The Status of My Application
Unfortunately, your application probably won’t be processed in a timely manner. I personally know people who waited over a year before they heard anything back from the Department of Education, and the lines have grown even longer as more and more people apply for forgiveness benefits.
However, don’t let this stop you from submitting the application, because again, this may be your best and perhaps even only chance at discharging your loans. I’m just letting you know this in advance so that you don’t get discouraged if you don’t hear back from the Department of Education immediately.
I would advise you to apply right away because Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is trying to get rid of the Borrower’s Defense program entirely, but as long as your application gets submitted before things are changed, you should be grandfathered in and remain eligible for the benefit.
We also still aren’t entirely certain what President Donald Trump’s Student Loan Plan is going to look like, but he could try to pull the plug on this program too. Therefore, apply for the benefit now so that even if the Borrower’s Defense program is cancelled you’ll still have a chance of receiving loan forgiveness.
Receiving Forgiveness via the Closed School Loan Discharge Program
If you don’t feel that the Art Institute defrauded you, then don’t fear, because you’ve still got a chance of wiping out your loans via the Closed School Loan Discharge Program, which is the second best option for receiving Art Institute student loan forgiveness.
This program is for students of schools that closed before they could finish their degree. To qualify for a Closed School Discharge, you must have either been a student at the Art Institute at the time it closed, or have left the school no more than 120 days prior to its closing.
Therefore, if you were a student at the Art Institute on the date it closed, or you left no more than 120 days prior to that date, you would automatically qualify to have your student loan discharged via the Closed School Loan Discharge Program.
Eligibility Requirements for Closed School Discharges
I have a ton of information about the Closed School Loan Discharge Program here. Be sure to take the time to read through it carefully if you’re thinking about applying for the program.
As I mentioned above, you might qualify to have your student loans written off via the Closed School Loan Discharge Program if you were a student at the school when it closed or if you left the school no more than 120 days prior to the day it closed.
However, there are other two conditions to be aware of it you’re thinking of applying for this program. First, are you currently attending another school after having transferred your credits from the Art Institute? If so, you will not qualify for Art Institute student loan forgiveness under this program, because transferring credits invalidates your eligibility to receive the benefit. Second, if you had already completed all your coursework before the school closed, but just hadn’t received your diploma yet, then you also won’t be eligible for the discharge..
If neither of the above exclusions apply to you, and you were a student of the school when it closed (or left near enough to the closing date), then you stand a very good chance of achieving Art Institute loan forgiveness via the Closed School Loan Discharge Program, and I would encourage you to apply for the benefit right away.
How Do I Apply for a Closed School Discharge?
You can apply to have your student loan discharged via the Closed School Loan Discharge Program by going to this website. NOTE: This is the official Government website for the program, so you can trust it. DO NOT GET YOUR FORM FROM ANYWHERE ELSE!
Download the application form, fill it out, and submit it to your loan servicer. If you’re not sure who your loan servicer is, it’s the company who receives your monthly student loan payments.
Every loan servicing company has slightly different procedures for processing the Closed School application, so you’ll need to contact them for details on how to proceed.
Which Program is Better? Borrower’s Defense or Closed School Discharges?
That’s hard to say. Both programs discharge your outstanding student loan debt and both may refund you the money you already paid toward the balance of your loan, but if I had to pick one, I’d recommend going with the Closed School Discharge since it’s probably a faster turnaround time to approval..
The key thing to consider here is that you can’t apply for both. You need to pick one or the other. Therefore, assuming that you qualify for both I would suggest going with the Closed School Loan Discharge Program because the applications to the Borrower’s Defense program are taking such a long time to process.
In the end though, the choice is up to you. Read through all the information here about both programs and make the decision for yourself.
Will I Owe Taxes on Forgiven Debt?
Unfortunately, yes. The IRS considers any discharged student loan debt as taxable income. This means that if your student loans are forgiven you will then be left with a big payout to the Internal Revenue Service. For details on how this works, visit my page about Student Loan Forgiveness and Taxable Income.
In a nutshell, if you got $100,000 in debt forgiven and your taxable income was 30%, you wouldn’t ever have to pay another student loan payment, but you would owe $30,000 to the IRS, and it’d be due all at once unless you worked out a payment plan with them. Ouch.
Because most people who have their student loans forgiven aren’t going to have that kind of cash laying around, I have started another site to help people better understand and get rid of their IRS debt, called Forget Tax Debt, which you can find here.
If you’re having problems with taxes, be sure to visit Forget Tax Debt, or simply check out my pages about Filing and Paying IRS Back Taxes, IRS Tax Debt Settlements, IRS Tax Debt Forgiveness, and The IRS Fresh Start Program.
Where Else Can I Ask Questions?
To get help with other student loan issues, be sure to check out some of the other pages of my site, where I cover both Private and Federal student loans in detail.
To get help with Federal loans, check out my pages on Federal Student Loan Relief, Federal Loan Forgiveness, Federal Student Loan Bankruptcy Discharges, Federal Loan Consolidation Programs and Federal Student Loan Repayment Plans.
If you need help with Private loans, look at my pages on Private Student Loan Relief, Private Loan Forgiveness, Private Student Loan Consolidation, Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Discharges and Private Student Loan Default Help.
The best place to find answers to your questions about Borrower’s Defense and Closed School loans is Federal Student Aid, a US government website. There’s a lot of information here, including details on the Borrower’s Defense program, and the Closed School program.
Be careful about getting your information from any source other than the US government. I’m not saying that there isn’t good information out there from sources not associated with the US government (after all, I’m one of those types of sites…), but I am saying that there are a lot of scammers trying to steal money from people, so be sure to be cautious in choosing who to trust..
I am not a representative of the US government or the US Department of Education. However, I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about these two programs, so please feel free to leave your question in the comment section below and I’ll do my best to get you a quick response.
Disclaimer:Information obtained from Forget Student Loan Debt is for educational purposes only. You should consult a licensed financial professional before making any financial decisions. This site receives some compensation through affiliate relationships. This site is not endorsed or affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education.
Yeah I called the numbers you provided and they’re trying to charge me $995 To go through the process of getting my FEDERAL loans forgiven. From what I understand this should not be something we have to pay for it should be free. Can you tell me why this is happening?
These companies charge to help you figure out which programs you’re eligible for and take care of paperwork. It’s like an advisory process and paperwork processing service. To be clear; you DO NOT have to pay a company like them for help. The purpose of paying them is making sure that you take advantage of whatever benefits programs you’re eligible for.
I owe $86K in federal and $80 in Private.
The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire
630 East Brier Drive San Bernardino Ca 92408
(school closed, phone disconnected, website not active)
1. My School Did This To Me: Predatory Recruitment
2. The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire Convinced Me to Borrow Money On: Date Enrolled: 1/07/2008 and Graduated: 12/04/2012
3. Had My School Not Misled Me, I Would Not have Borrowed Money:
I was promised a legit high school diploma, and guaranteed a $40-65 dollar an hour paying job. The Art Institute’s recruiter/admissions Adriene White assured me and my cosigner that the school was connected with Walt Disney and Sony as part of the arts program through which they have a contract with. Adrienne White assured me employment assistance and recommendations from the Art Institute to guarantee employment, so long as I finished the program. Adriene also guaranteed that once hired, Walt Disney or Sony would cover my loans through their referral program, so long as I work there at least 3 years. Adriene also stated that many professors teaching these classes came from Walt Disney and Sony so they easily have the connections; also stated that I also have the option to become an instructor at The Art Institute, in which the school would cover my loans if I became an art instructor. This misled me and my mother. This is why she cosigned. I borrowed this money without hesitation being young, trusting and ignorant. If I had accurate information about their fees and how these loans really worked I would have never agreed to borrow any money to pay for their education program.
4. What Went Wrong After Graduation?
During my entire 4 year attendance at this college, I did not learn the required skills for the real world in marketing and design. I was taught basic skills, and was instructed to watch a lot of youtube links they provided and have us watch in class. Once I graduated and tried to use my degree I came to find out that it is not taken seriously as a degree once you apply for work or even try to transfer school credits to another college. I was overcharged for amounts that far exceed what I can pay and with poor results/skills.
After graduation, I had zero assistance from the student aid office at The Art Institute.
I was unable to find work, so I was unable to make payments to my Federal and Private, which led me to continue placing my loans on deferment and forbearance. The Art Institute is a For Profit College with unfair deceptive practices.
I was limited to no experience in design and marketing, I could not find a job that I qualified for. I also have a deep emotional strain, and my credit is ruined. Very hard to get job interviews. I tried to look for Adrienne White, the recruiter who promised me $40-65 dollars an hour and fast employment, while she was trying to get me enrolled, also promised specific titles which I have also attached. I found out she was terminated from The Art Institute. So then I enrolled in San Bernardino Valley college to acquire marketing skills in which The Art Institute failed to teach/provide as part of their program which they cancelled midway for lack of teachers.
I have also attached my enrollment to San Bernardino Valley College with records.
The Art Institute misled me into believing I was going to get a high paying job that would easily cover my loans. Below is the reality, I have attached a recent pay stub from April 2019, The hourly rate is $12 an hour. I no longer work there because I do not have the skills to run the graphic design software, and was not capable of handling printing machines; in addition I was unable to execute various screen printing jobs using their machines and software, which are basic skills as a graphic designer so I was terminated. I have attached a copy of a paycheck stub.
During the course of time, I was also in a car accident, and this made it difficult to find work.
During my car accident recovery, I had a very difficult time financially.
I was in an even worse situation and I still suffer from that accident today.
I have been living in constant depression over the fact that my loans are increasing and over a worthless degree with zero skills to get a job that can pay for such high fees. On top of the fact that I am still in constant back and hip pain over my car accident makes it harder to find work.
I am unable to transfer these credits to any college, I also don’t even have a valid high school diploma. I was given false promises and a worthless degree with real bills and serious consequences and life setbacks.
Had I not been exposed to these misleading and false statements, I never would have agreed to borrow money to attend their program. I only agreed to take out these student loans because I believed the lies/false promises/misleading statements presented to be my the school.Thank you for your time and reviewing my application for Borrowers Defense against repayment. I look forward to your response and assistance.
So I have a question. I originally signed up to attend the art institute of Fort Lauderdale in 2008. Soon after I had a change of plans of was moving to Alaska. I withdrew from school (and after touring it was so happy I did) and never attended a single day. I have recently filed my taxes and they have now been used as offset for a federal student loan that the art institute received for me “attending”. I am furious and at a complete loss on where to start. They have now taken $6000.00 from me and I never even went to the crappy school:(
Tim – First let me thank you for posting all of this. I suddenly feel I have a slim (albeit to nine) chance of getting help.
I attended the AI of Atlanta from 1993 to 1995. my enrollment process took about 1 week – and at the time I was unemployed and had Zero income. They told me to just sign these papers and Id get all sorts of Grants and loans. they assured me that all of their graduates made a ton of money (average starting salary around 36k) and I wouldnt even owe much because of all the free money for grants. they had be buy all the supplies and books from their own store, and I started 2 weeks later. I had a GED and a little hope at the time.
while attending, the forst 18 months focused almost entirely around print (like news papers) and mark-up and the like. I did graduate, but woefully unprepared as the digital world has been discovered while i attended the school.
I did find work after graduation (one of 4 that did out of 36) and that was because a friend helped me out.
I ended up with 36k in Fed loans that they handled for me, and told me I was differed for 18 months. I was confused, but I figured Id make a ton of money and pay it back, i suppose.
i went into default in 2000 and in 2001 I worked my way Out of default – at which time they consolidated my loans. I have had scattered employment over the years and in 2013 I started an income based repayment plan. I currently Owe 180k in student debt. I was harrased by AIA in 2011 for the outstanding amount I owed directly to them and I paid that off in a little over 18 months.
however, I am amassing around 2k a month in interest and do not feel I will ever get these loans off my back.
they told me it would all be grants. they told me Id make a ton of money. they told me a Lot of things that were lies to just get me to sign on the dotted line – and my life has been a struggle ever since.
I cant take wayback machine screen shots, as this was before standard internet.
I am sunk. I have had this on my back my whole life, and I dont know what to do.
Can you PLEASE advise or give me your thoughts on filing for Borrower’s Defense?
-Lost in atlanta.
Definitely go for Borrower’s Defense. It’s basically you’re only option and you have nothing to lose!
I applied to the Art Institute of NYC, I filled out the application and was told I needed to take out a student loan without a cosigner. I never attended the school, they have no records of me attending any classes but the school cashed the check for the private student loan they told me I needed. ALL of my federal student funding was canceled but they cashed that check. Then, the school sent the balance to a collection agency that is threatening to garnish my wages. The debt collector continues to harass me even though I supplied them with a multitude of evidence that I never attended any classes and I never signed an award acceptance letter. I also supplied them with paperwork that has date discrepancies. I even asked them to send me the Art Institute issued bill with all of my information on it. Instead, they send me a court ruling from a case I was never made aware of that took place in Virginia when the school and I was in NYC. Am I eligible for this program?
I would apply to it because it sounds like you have a shot there.
Good morning Tim,
I just came across this informative article today and not sure if I’m too late however my situation is, I attended the Art Institute of NYC from OCT 2006 and graduated DEC 2009. I first applied online- met with a representative named Rachel – who, similar to other stories, also promised immediate job placement upon graduating. Before attending I was allowed to enter an “Art Innovation” poster competition- which I won first place and was granted $3000 towards my tuition. At the time I was commuting from Connecticut to NYC and had arrived late to the same class more than once
and later was advised and convinced to take out a loan ($12,000) to live in student housing which was only about 20 mins away in Brooklyn. After living there for a month and realizing that the loan would only cover for about 3 more months of housing – I decided to leave and got a studio off campus in the Bronx with the rest of the loan which covered about 9 months of rent (I ended up getting a part time job). In the beginning of 2008, I was told I had a balance for one of my classes that needed to be paid immediately – of which another loan had to be taken out. I graduated in DEC 2009, Deborah Holder was the advisor who was suppose to help me with job placement – never did. About 5 months after graduating I still hadn’t received my actual degree (“Associates in Occupational Studies”)- I called some of my former classmates who informed me they had just received theirs, some were still waiting. I called AI and was told I had a $3000 balance on my account and that’s why it was being withheld. I had to explain to multiple representatives that I had absolutely no balance left – if I did have one I would not have been able to graduate – that the $3000 balance was part of the poster competition that I won and was granted before attending. I was then told that there were no funds at the time (yes they actually told me this) to grant those $3000 and for that reason they wouldn’t give me my degree unless I paid. I then explained to Rudy Diaz who was the last person I spoke too that I would seek legal representation cause the situation was completely unprofessional and above all illegal. Only then was my balance dropped and a week later I received my degree in the mail. 10 years later I’m still about $60,000 in debt with (originally) Salllie Mae who sold it to Navient without any knowledge. My question is what is my next step and I completely understand if I’m way too late – but I wanted to give a try anyway.
Thankyou very much for your time and help,
It’s never too late for BDAR. I would apply and see if you can qualify.
What about this:
My daughter who was in her father’s sole care and custody signed up at the Sacramento Art institute at the age of 18 years old. She went with a member of her paternal family and signed up. Her father signed all papers saying he was responsible for ALL payments and debts. She then decided to move in with me and I was required to fill out paperwork confirming she lived with me, so she could qualify for low income discounts. I made it VERY clear to the woman that I was there for address verification ONLY. That I didn’t have a job and had 3 children under the age of 5 at home and can’t afford and won’t be able to pay back a loan. She assured me a loan would not be taken out in my name. Then my daughter decided to live in the “dorms”, which where really just co-ed apartments. She got pregnant within the month and dropped out. Then lost the baby and moved back in with her dad. About a year later I find out I’m in default for a loan in the amount of $7,000 to the Art Institute. I have no paperwork and never had any, because all I did is confirm her address. I’ve trued to look into it and argued it with the state franchise tax board….but they say it is valid, because they used my signature online from when I signed the address paperwork….
I attended the academy of art university online but out of San-Francisco. I don’t have anything paper wise from when I signed up but once I finished the Masters requirements, they said I had to do a specialist which is an extra two years! And, an additional 50k! I have all of my transcripts, where I completed my Masters course, but they will not grant my diploma because I didn’t do a specialist. Is there anything that I can do? It was a bait and switch in my mind because I was not told about a specialist program until I finished my masters! Please let me know what you think about this. I now owe $58,000 for a degree that I “didn’t finish” but I finished…. It’s very frustrating
Most people don’t have anything written that proves they were defrauded. Transcripts and such won’t matter, but if you can prove that you were defrauded and the school did something illegal, then you can qualify for a BDAR Discharge. I’d pursue that.
Hi my name is Jeanette Dennis. And I was a student with the Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online Division. It was from 2010-2014. They really did me wrong. Do I qualify for student loan forgiveness. Thanks.
Maybe? You didn’t give me any info to help me decide either way. I’d look into the BDAR program if I were you.
Hi Tim! We can’t thank you enough for this information. My husband went to Art Institute of Atlanta and was lured into applying for their financial aid, promised his dream career of being on air on radio by following their program. He started working in the industry right away but never made more than $15 an hour with any salary position requiring broadcasting degrees etc. – similar stories to everyone here. But my question: My husband was enrolled 1993 – 1995, Is that too early for us to file a Borrower Defense Application in the wake of all of this news with the schools?
You have nothing to lose by attempting a BDAR Discharge, so I’d file and hope it works out.
Hey Tim, I attended the Art Institute in Houston from 94′-96′. There was a class action law suite back in the late 90’s if I recall correctly. I missed that law suite. I was lied to about the job placement percentage. The accreditation, ability to transfer credits, and the expected salary. Iv’e began tackling this issue on my own. Just want to make sure I get the right info. the Borrowers defense application. Iv’e spoken with a loan forgiveness company Rely on Light House. 1st guy told me $800.00, the next guy told $1,200.00-$1,500.00. Sounds like a scam to me. Are you familiar with this company? Anything you can recommend that I do? Thanks.
Yeah, so, I don’t comment on individual companies. Too much liability.
Dear Sir, My son’s “servicer” sent him a closed school discharge form in response to his complaint about being defrauded by Art Inst of Pittsburgh. The fine print said the 120 days was waived if the school closing was due to unusual circumstances, so he applied. Months later, DOE said they did not “recognize” the school as closed and please send any proof he had that it had closed. I have their letter. Please advise. Thank you.
Um, I can’t provide you with this. That’s on you.
I attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale 1985-6. Its been 34 years of harassment.
My loan came from Florida Fed Saving & loan and somehow got put into a Federal Student Loan.
The school never gave any employment support other than jobs at McDonalds and such.
I applied for a Federal forgiveness program in the 1990’s and was told I’m not in the system.
in 2001 I started receiving outrageous bills in excess of $36,000 for a $1500 loan every few moths the threatening letters to sue me & claiming I borrowed more and more monies.
This has totally ruined my life. I’ve suffered from low credit rating, never had a credit car, couldn’t buy a home.
Doesn’t seem fair that recent graduates, borrowing tens of thousands of dollars, being able to walk away free and myself and others suffer.
Sorry to hear about your issues. Unfortunately, the rules are the rules, and they leave a lot of people, like yourself, hung out to dry.
Is the Lawsuit against the institute still pending? If so this could affect those who are applying for the Closed School Discharge due to the exception: The closed school’s loss of accreditation; • The closed school’s discontinuation of the majority of its academic programs; • Action by the State to revoke the closed school’s license to operate or award academic credentials in the State; or • A finding by a State or Federal government agency that the closed school violated State or Federal law while you (or the student) were enrolled at the school. Some of us might need to wait out the lawsuit in order to receive the Closed School Discharge since the school (Ai of Pittsburgh) closed in March.
Yeah, the lawsuit seems to still be going. I haven’t gotten any updates on it or I’d share them here.
I attended the Art Instutute of Fort Lauderdale from 1976-1978 studying Advertising Design. I paid for the schooling through Pell Grants, Student Loans and working full time while attending. I left the school without graduating because a few weeks prior to graduation and portfolio review I was told that I had failed 2 classes and would need to repeat them the next term or the next time they were offered, in order to graduate and participate in portfolio review. I asked why wasI notified so late and why was it that I could pass all of the other classes with no lower that a “B” and was ranked as one of the top students in the program and couldn’t graduate because of only 2 failing grades out of the many classes you take in the continuous 3 year program. Their response was “that you were required to pass all classes in order to graduate. Period.” I questioned that at a college or University you could fail classes and still graduate as long as met the credit requirements for graduating so what was the difference? Again the same response and a dismissal from the conversation. I finished the term and left the school never to return or complete my education.
now some 40 years later I’m trying to get copies of my transcripts and low and behold the school has closed and they can’t seem to find any transcripts from that far back from the school.
The school has also closed now too, so it’d pretty difficult to access your old transcripts, but you SHOULD still be able to source them somehow. Keep trying to contact them.
I attended the Art Institute of Atlanta in the mid-90’s. Though I no longer have any debt, is there a way to receive compensation for any past tuition paid?
Unfortunately, the odds of getting a refund are extremely low.
Do you have any companies that you recommend that could help me complete the paperwork. Like you mentioned there are a lot of scammers. I would like to have someone professional help me in filing these correctly and efficiently.
For help with FEDERAL Student Loans: Call the Student Loan Relief Helpline at 1-888-906-3065. They will review your case, evaluate your options for switching repayment plans, consolidating your loans, or pursuing forgiveness benefits, then set you up to get rid of the debt as quickly as possible.
For help with PRIVATE Student Loans: Call McCarthy Law PLC at 1-877-317-0455. They will negotiate with your lender to settle your private loans for much less than you owe, then get you a new loan for the much lower, settled amount. NOTE: McCarthy Law can ONLY help with Private student loans.
Hey Tim! I am stuck in tying the lawsuit on AI to the BDAR. Where can I sign up for the lawsuit? Am I just automatically signed up if I can show that I was enrolled in the school? Thank you so much for all of the information!!
Yeah, you don’t sign up for it. If you are covered in the class, you’re automatically in it.
I’m trying to help my husband possibly apply for BDAR. We both went to the Art Institute in Costa Mesa from 2006-2008. I took screenshots of the Wayback Machine’s snapshot of the website around August 2006 when he would have enrolled. I also spoke to his mom who accompanied him to the open house when they decided to enroll. Their story is that, at the open house, there were speakers who talked about the various programs they offered. Then the lady who handled the loans, a red-haired lady (whose name we do know, but I don’t want to say it online), took them on a tour of the school, showing them the classrooms, kitchen area, and also showed trophies of past students who had “made it.” His mom was concerned about his dyslexia, and the lady promised there would be tutors who could help. They also talked about all the other amenities they would offer to help him succeed. At one point, one of the culinary instructors, who would later become one of my husband’s professors (we know his name too), walked by and into his nearby porsche car. My husband and his mom both recall the lady commenting that soon after graduating, he’d be making that kind of money. When they asked about this, they say she promised “as soon as he graduates, he’s guaranteed a job, and he’ll make around $60,000/year.” They also promised to help place him in a job upon graduation.
I’m not sure I have much more physical evidence of that conversation aside from the wayback machine screenshots where they describe the graduation rate and the average salary that graduates make. Do you think this might be enough?
I also wanted to ask if he would still be eligible even though he recently consolidated his federal loans? We didn’t know about the BDAR prior to that.
Thanks for all your help, we really appreciate it!
Those sorts of guarantees are DEFINITELY a violation, and certainly a good argument for a BDAR Discharge. I would absolutely pursue this in your case, and just make sure to provide as much evidence as possible for your story. The screenshots from the wayback machine are vital, but even the anecdotal quotes of things like promising job placement, a certain salary, etc., are going to be important to include.
I do think this might be enough, and I would absolutely pursue BDAR. Consolidations may cause problems, but it depends on how the loans were consolidated, and what sorts of loans were included. If he consolidated Federal debt with Private debt, then you may be out of luck, but as long as all the loans were Federal going into the consolidation, you are probably still eligible. Good luck!
The information you have provided is priceless. I have started on filling my case but I just want to make sure I am eligible for the Borrower Defense to Repayment Discharge program since I graduated from the AI of Chicago in 2003. I found information that final day of attendance must have been between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2014. If possible please let me know where I can find the actual court documents against The Art Institute of Chicago so I can attach them to my case.
Thank you for the hard work and for giving us a chance to claim back our lives that were deliberately and brutally stolen.
I don’t have a link to the court documents, but you may be able to find them via Google searches.
Final day of attendance won’t apply to BDAR and is only relevant for a Closed School Discharge Application, so you’re good no matter when your final day was if you’re pursuing the BDAR discharge.
Hi Tim, I attended The Art Institute of California and graduated in 2008. Like others in this post I have been promised to be making over 50K after I graduate and as everyone my loans reached over 90k as we had to keep getting more loans for more software, textbooks and other necessities for classes. I was constantly pulled into the counselors office to sign more loan docs with my mom as a co-signer. She is now on disability and I am have always been the only paying. I have been paying these off for 10 years and i still owe over 60k. The job market is hard and so is the economy and the housing in California. My loans were originally federal loans, along with Sallie Mae, who all of a sudden sold to Navient without any of our knowledge. Please advise.
I also wanted to add that I did file for bankruptcy almost 10 years ago and that did not apply to those loans as the lawyer said they were not eligible through Sallie Mae.
If you were promised a certain salary after graduating, then you basically qualify for a BDAR Discharge by default. That is illegal behavior on the school’s behalf. Read my full post and look for anything else they might have done, as you should be able to pursue a BDAR Discharge here based on that one promise alone, but the most examples of fraud or illegal activity you can cite, the better your chances will be!
I attended the art institute from 4/09-3/11. I’ve been trying to get these student loans taken care of until I found this website and I applied. I just want to know how long the process of hearing back with my respond. Will I get a email? Or phone call?
Did you submit a BDAR request or a Closed School Discharge application?
BDAR can take over 2 years to hear back from DOE, but the Closed School Discharges are coming much more quickly, and shouldn’t be more than a couple months wait.
I had to take our Federal loans but that didn’t cover my total coast. My father was told a parent plus loan was the best option. They NEVER told us that once you are 24 you are no longer eligible for that type of loan. So during my last quarter i was forced to take out a $20,000 private loan my last, so i could graduate. (Financial Aid event admitted they had messed up)
Which option out be the best. I graduated in 2012 & would my father be able to get forgiveness as well and if so does he need to file separately or can I do it all together.
See my page on Parent PLUS Loan Forgiveness for details there, and for your Private loans, there is no option for BDAR. BDAR is only for Federal student loans, so you’d need to look into alternative options for handling your private debt.
My favorite option is going after a debt settlement, and using McCarthy Law PLC to handle negotiations on your behalf. You can reach them at 1-877-317-0455.
I’ve attended two different campuses within the Art Institute network (transferred from one to the other) and have had to take multiple Parent Plus loans as well as additional federal grants and loans to attend both schools. Is it possible to list both within my claim? Combined, I attended for 5 years, and at my 5th year, they told me I had two more years left. That’s when I left.
I’m curious to know if you’ve heard of the credit weight change per class that the network decided to enforce mid quarter about two years before they closed. They allegedly had to change their credit value when I was attending. Because of this change, which no one at the school could really explain to me in depth, I had to repeat classes that I had already taken.
I noticed that classes were considered as new to the program. I noticed even more than they would change the jargon of the syllabus description of the class slightly and that equaled their “new/you have to take this to graduate” curriculum. It really was just enough so that if you compared the class and the syllabus description I had taken before, and unless you sat in the class as I did, you wouldn’t really know you were in the same class. The content of the “new” class requirements, in reality, and actuality, was exactly the same.
If you have any insight as to how I can describe this in my claim I would greatly appreciate it. I’m currently at a more notable, much better school, but once I graduate, I’m looking at 84,000$ for the art institute and $84,000 for the school that I’m actually getting a usable degree from.
Yeah, you can include multiple loans in your claim – the argument is against the SCHOOL, not against the Loan, so one claim can cover several loans.
I do not know about the credit weight change, and I’m not really sure that this would be a good argument for BDAR either. I would stick with the classics that we KNOW have gotten approvals – false advertising, false promises, fraud.
Anything other than the things that these schools have been getting taken to task for is pie in the sky. Bad experiences, weird policy changes, it’s all a bad product or experience, but not grounds for having your loan discharged.
I attended AI Inland Empire in CA when it first opened and was slated to be one of the first graduating classes. Not only was I misinformed about job placement, credits and school accreditation, because of the recruiter I have a fake High School Diploma and must now get my GED in order to go back to school. I had dropped out of high school because of family illnesses and had planned to get my GED until the recruiter I was working with, which I don’t remember the name of and cannot find the paperwork for (may have been thrown out during a garage flood or lost between 3 moves since then plus i worked with 3 separate recruiters in a 6 month span for that school) pushed for me to go to a scam school which he, and they, claimed was an actual school and would give me a fast diploma and my mother and i fell for it. I think this would fall under the “sob story” part but it is something they falsified and is now majorly affecting me today.
I had a combination of federal loans, Sally Mae, and a private student loan through Chase. The Sally Mae one refused to work with me on a repayment plan when i had no job and just differed or forbearanced my loans till i didn’t have the option but to pay them $600 a month when i was at the time unemployed in California. The Chase loan was settled and paid back a couple of years ago but the federal one is now being garnished.
My question is, would it be worth applying for BDAR? I never finished the degree due to several deaths in the immediate family and the loans are now about 10 years old. Is it worth my time or am I doomed to be screwed by AI loans for the rest of my life? I moved out of state and never knew about any of the other lawsuits otherwise I would have tried to get in on them.
sorry for any grammatical mistakes. Going to that school was the worse decision of my life. they are the reason my husband and i cannot afford to have kids, buy a house, get a decent car, go back to school, we almost did not get married because my credit score is so incredibly low because of the debt I’m in over this stupid school. Any advise that could help would be amazing.
For your Federal loan, yes, you should apply for BDAR. You are not at all screwed, and you can certainly qualify for a discharge if they lied about job placement rates, accreditation and credit transfer.
For your Private loan, I would recommend contacting McCarthy Law PLC, a group of attorneys who specialize in handling private student debt. These guys will negotiate a settlement for your outstanding debt (typically about 40% of what you currently owe), then get you hooked up with a new loan for the lower amount, meaning you’ll get to pay off the old one and start making lower payments on the new one. It’s a huge short-term and long-term savings, and certainly worth exploring. You can reach them at 1-877-317-0455.
My husband and I took our Parent Plus Loans for my daughter back in 2011 so she could attend The Art Institute in Tampa. She wasn’t able to swing the schedule so she postponed her education. Fast forward 2018, she moved up to Pittsburgh, PA and re-enrolled at The Art Institute here and they closed less than a year later. Do we have any recourse here for the loans issued back in 2011&2012? We are both in collections at this point and on payment plans.
That’s a good question, and you MIGHT still be eligible.
If I were you, I think I’d push for a Closed School Student Loan Discharge and see if it works out.
This program is getting much faster responses than the Borrowers Defense Program, as Betsy DeVos hasn’t been able to crush it like she did to BDAR and PSLF, so my advice is to try submitting an application and seeing if that works out.
If it doesn’t, you’ll want to move on to looking at my Guides on Federal Student Loan Defaults and the Federal Student Loan Rehabilitation Program.
I would like to know how it turns out for you guys, we are in the same boat here in California. We paid cash for most of our daughters tuition but had to take a Parent Plus for the last $5000 due to her not passing one of her classes. It turned out that it was an open-ended loan. That $5K turned into about 20K from what the school told us initially.
@ Tim; is that an Arabian in your picture? I’m partial to my Quarter Palomino.
She’s actually a full-blooded Quarter Horse, but she looked and behaved like an Arab. She has new ownership now after one too many refusals to cross dry creek beds and several near death experiences due to her anxiety responses to everyday events like garage doors opening, people getting out of cars, etc. I loved the look of that horse, but I sure do not miss her bad behavior!
I went to the art institute of Seattle some years back and had to take out loans to do so. I took out around 20,000 in loans (half subsidized, half unsubsidized) not knowing what i was getting into, and being told my GI bill would assist in a lot of my payments, which they did not qualify to. I had my doubts, including a lot of things I’ve read here. I remember feeling pressured into signing papers without any explanation, and many of the questions i did have were dismissed. Unfortunately i do not remember who i spoke to and before i apply for the borrowers defense, I’m curious what steps i should take to make a solid case.
I’d still try to submit a BDAR Application and just include as much detail as you can. Read through my Guide and look at the comments I’ve responded to others asking the same question. Everything you need is on this page.
my girl friend went to south coast college of courting report 40k in 2000 know owes 56k never got a job in orange city in orange county bunch of liers
That’s not necessarily the school’s fault – we’d need to know much more about your girlfriend, what she was promised, why she hasn’t been able to get a job, etc. It could be entirely her fault…
Hello, My loan (daughters loan) is with Great Lakes and attended The Art Institute in Phoenix AZ, 2010-2012. She did not get her diploma because one of her teachers had no heart to cut her any slack due to her grandmother , who she was very, very close to, suddenly passed away. The loan has been on deferment for the last few years because we cannot afford to make the payments. I am no longer employed and she does not make enough to make payments. And of course the balance has pretty much doubled. What are your thoughts?
Is the loan Federal or Private? If it’s Federal, you need to find a way to get enrolled in one of the Income-Driven Repayment Plans, which may allow you to qualify for $0 monthly payments. Then, find a way to get her qualifying for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which will allow the loan to get forgiven after 10 years of payments have been made (even if they’re $0 per month).
If the loan is Private, call McCarthy Law PLC at 1-877-317-0455. They can help you get the loan settled for much less than you currently owe, allowing you to pay it off entirely via a new loan, and qualify for much lower monthly monthly payments than you’re currently facing.
My daughter is eligible to apply for this. Unfortunately she heard that today is the last day to apply. Is this correct?
That sounds ridiculous. There’s no “last day” to apply for a BDAR Discharge or a Closed School Discharge.
I attended the AI of Costa Mesa and they were really constant bugging me and made me feel like I wasn’t up to par when I was applying. I then decided not to go and another person contacted me and he seemed like he was so pushy to get me in so I thought maybe I would go ahead and apply. As soon as I was in, I was constantly getting harassed about my high school diploma because it didn’t have a date on the signed part of the diploma and kept pushing me to get the info from my school district I had graduated. I eventually after some weeks, dropped out and wasted my GI BILL Post 9/11 . I think It was about a month or two I had attended before dropping. Also, I felt like I had to take over the classes I took at Orange Coast College like some didn’t transfer over.
Hi Adam, have you already filed your DTR application? I attended the Orange County campus as well for the Digital Photography program. I’m working on my application and haven’t found anyone else who attended the same campus as I did that is working on this.
I’ve attended both the costa mesa and Seattle campus of the AI network and am currently working on a BDR claim myself. I can say without a doubt that the costa mesa campus specifically overpromised in every single category. The promised that my degree would get me an instant job as an interior designer. Low and behold through actually building up experience first hand I can say without a doubt that a degree from that school is not enough to just become an interior designer. Let me know if either of you have any updates.
I attend The New England Art institute 2011-2013, left for personal reasons. That school closed not long after. I paid out of pocket there. I transfered to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in fall of 2015. of course in this process I lost a few credits. This time around I got Financial aid, federal loans and grants. I never fully understood the loan information and often told my adviser that. They made it sound like no big deal to get loans. Fast forward to March 2018, I was struggling with the death of my mother and need to take time off school. I took 2 quarters off. Mid July I try to enroll back at school, to find out that they are closing and I can’t finish my 5 classes for my associates. I can’t get anyone on the phone at the fort lauderdale so i have to call another art institute for help. I am told that the miami and the online division are accepting students from effective schools, and are taking all credits regardless of grade. These school only offered the bachelors, so that already meant more time and money. Of course this sucks but at least there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I look at both schools and find out only the online will take all credits. So I pursue the online one. They start the enrollment process and then I get an email saying my enrollment application was cancelled. The explanation I was given was that students from closing school were on hold for enrollment. I called and they told me to reach out again in a month this was August 2018. I called in October and November, both times I was told they can’t tell me anything until the next month. So December, I’m pissed when they told me that they wouldn’t know anything until March 2019!! I let them have it. They ended up giving me a list of schools that were take art institute student credits… The school I ended up choosing didn’t take any of my Fort lauderdale credits only the New England ones. So that was just 3 years and 33000 wasted!!!!!! I’m so vex that they did this to me! I feel that I should really get the CSD but because I wasn’t enrolled within the amount of day before they were to close. I don’t think I have proof of a lot of the other things just this is what i was lead to believe not write documentation of them saying such and such. This has caused me so much emotional stress.
Sorry to hear about your experience, but you’ll want to leave out all the emotional details and personal issues and focus on the legal concerns in your BDAR Application. What you need to explain is how the school committed fraud against you. Follow the explanations in my Guide on which details to include in your application and you will have the best chance on getting your discharge approved.
Thanks for creating this site. I entered New England Institute of Art from 2000 being told by the recruiters about the job placements and salary expectations. After my second semester, I suspected it was a big lie with the quality of education I was getting. I fairly remembered being pull from the classroom due to a late payment mistake. My parents were paying my loans. I felt so guilty about them footing the bill, I took a semester off to reaccess what to do with my life. I eventually went back
Seems like your comment got cut off early? What happened next?
I attended The Art Institute Online Division from 2008-2013 for Media Arts and Animation as well as Interior Design and Architecture. I remember being excited to attend the school because they came into our High School promoting in our Art Classes that they have one of the highest job success rates after graduation and that they help students find work with credible employers looking for graduates in those degrees I went for. I waited a bit after I graduated in 2007 because I became a single Mom in March of 2008. They told me that was perfect anyway because I could receive grant money which would help pay for my classes. They made us buy tons of different software for the Media Arts and Animation classes that they never had us use. In my second year I got worried about the amount of loans. They were making me apply for tons of different grants but my loan amount kept increasing to about 36k when I tried to reach out to my student adviser he/she (I got passed around a lot) would never return my call until I decided to withdraw from the school because of lack of communication from them and because of the huge concern of my ever increasing student loans. I’m not sure I qualify, but they were very misleading. I remember the brochures talked about their job success ratings, helping students find work during attendance and after graduation which they didn’t. I know its kind of late to be applying for one now but I’m going to try I guess. The information is a bit hazy and I don’t think I have evidence of their propaganda.
The job placement rate piece may be enough to qualify for a BDAR discharge. Try looking for evidence of these sorts of claims using the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. Plugin the school’s website and look at the snapshots saved around the time you were making your decision about whether or not to apply there. You might be able to find some good hard evidence of misleading claims.
Reading your column has given me hope regarding my student loan debt. I graduated from Argosy Univ in 2009 in the Psychology program. The school never applied for accreditation as promised, therefore I was not eligible to work for the government or compete for decent paying jobs. I joined my classmates in filing a class-action lawsuit against the school for deceptive and fraudulent practices. Our attorneys encouraged us to settle after 2 years and we received less than 10% of our tuition as a settlement which also released them from future lawsuits. My loans are on hold with Navinet due to insufficient income. Do you think I would qualify for Loan Forgiveness? Thanks for your reply.
Yeah, that settlement was terrible. Those attorneys were just looking out for themselves… I’m sure they made out like bandits, taking something like 40-60% of the multi-million dollar settlement, while you all got a pittance. You definitely need to try for a BDAR Discharge.
What kind of evidence do I need to prove the school’s recruiter lied to me about job placement? I don’t even remember the recruiter’s name, it was back in 2012 when I attended. I was told that they had someone who would help me get a job after graduation, and after graduation mostly all that person did was tell me to go on indeed.com.
It’s tough, but the more info you can provide the better. The other option is to use the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine and look at old versions of the school’s website to see if you can find them making any false claims. Look at the versions of their site from around when you were first considering applying there. If you an find hard evidence of their claims, that’ll help with BDAR tremendously.
How can I get a brochure of classes offered and what classes there were for specific branches of a degree? Do I need copies of what classes I took during my attendance as evidence, if so how can I find them? I attended 2010-2011 graduated June 2012 associate in baking and pastry. I was told for my specific branch of the major they were already working on adding several more courses with focus on baking and pastries(there were a hand full to 3 specific classes for baking and pasties and I expressed co even about that and was told this by the head director of culinary department) and added to the curriculum to focus more on that specific branch of culinary (that was never done or mentioned again), I was also told several times it was a well known and trusted school with lots of pull and open doors that would help me tremendously once I graduated it would help me find good work and positions I may otherwise not have an opportunity with(no doors opened what so ever and I was I was told to put myself in job hunting sites to find a job) I was also told they had a program once I graduated to help me find good employment and quickly and given a % of success(I was directed by this program to put myself n job websites and never heard from them again and I found no job and didn’t even get any offers for a job) I was told I was going to get a top of the notch education by top chefs in their fields that would teach us all they know and get specialized courses in my degree focus and more were already in works to be added (there were very few classes specific for baking and pastry degree and none were ever added to the program & we learned straight from a book and did recipes from books and were told we went allowed to “add ingredients” or deviate from the recipie( luckily I had one teacher who allowed us to do so anyway and in my opinion actually “cook”) I was told the school was well known and renowned and the name alone was going to open many doors to me. I was told that if I ever did have any issues or for any reason chose to not attend their school\program anymore that my credits would transfer so I had nothing to worry about it I wasn’t happy there I could finish my degree elsewhere(this was completely untrue as credits would not transfer to any other school and that if I was to leave the program I would lose the yr and a half of classes and credits I had and start over. I was told there was no way I could afford to attend and that I would have to take out loans and a parent plus loan for me to even be able to Attend at all. We were a week to week family I got upset when I was denied and she began increasing us to try for the parent plus loan thAt it was the right and best decision to make and if approved if start my future beginning of the next quarter. All I have paper wise is cards from the financial director and head of culinary that spoke with me during my school tour,testing, and paperwork to attend and loan apps, my parent plus loan paper work from the school, the approved loan papers from the loan company from 2010 & 2011, and my lone bills I got in the mail. I never even felt comfortable enough with what they taught me to ever go for a position in that field as close as I got was a waitress I didn’t feel they taught me anything other than reading and following a recipe in a book! I’m hoping to get out from under this felt for an education I didn’t get! Where can I find and what else do I need to have the best chance at getting approved ed and where do I find it all?
To be honest I’m just not sure that this is a good case for a BDAR Discharge. I don’t see where the school committed fraud against you, or did something illegal? If you can’t prove that they did something illegal, then you won’t get the debt forgiven.
Thank you so much for all of this info, you’re a true hero!
I am currently in the process of filing for borrowers defense. I graduated from ai-hollywood in 2015 (I got a bachelors in fashion marketing & Management). Not only was I lied to about how easy I would find a job, I was being pulled out of class and told that I could not return until I signed off on more student loans. I remember trying to be pulled out during an exam by a student helper and when I refused to leave class my financial aid advisor came in himself to pull me out of class. I was honestly terrified of my financial aid advisors. I also had a teacher who was high while teaching and after I complained and it was confirmed that she was under the influence I was able to get a refund for my two classes (this I do have email proof of). Is this something that I should include in my defense claim? While I can’t find any proof about the job placement, grad rates, or accreditations (I threw out all of that) I was promised. I am REALLY relying on the lawsuits against ai and the fact that the schools closed down because of fraud. I am really nervous that I will not have enough “proof” for my claim. Is it enough to mainly have attached websites of their fraudulence?
To be honest, I don’t really think that you will want to include these other details in your BDAR Application, because the program is not built to let you discharge debt from bad experiences or issues with the quality of your education programs; it’s created to help you get rid of debt that was created over FRAUDULENT ACTIVITY on the school’s behalf.
I think you’ll want to focus on the issues with job placement rates, graduation rates and salary expectations, or accreditation statements (if they made false ones), because that’s the only way to get an approval. If you were promised these things, then you deserve to receive an approval.
I know you don’t have written documentation of the claims, but can you remember when you were told these things? Who told it to you? What their role or position was? Where you were when you heard it? And can you explain how it impacted your decision to borrow money to attend the school? These are the sorts of things that you can include to create “proof” for the claim.
YES, attached websites showing fraudulent claims is PERFECT for evidence. To be clear, I suggest that EVERYONE applying for BDAR spend a bit of time playing with the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, looking at old versions of the school’s website from around the time that they started thinking about applying for the school.
If you can find any claims on the site that speak to these sorts of false promises or illegal marketing activities, and if you can include screenshots of those in your application, then you are truly golden and nearly certain to get an approval!
Thank you soo much for creating this page and all the hard work you are doing .
Please give me an advise if you can…
My case is little different
I attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, it closed there doors this past December 2018.
I was paying all my education out of packets with my family saving ( I paid over $15000).
The school offered me some options to continue education but anything can apply to me because I was driving from Naples to Fort Lauderdale ( which is 4 hours daily back and forth to go to school because it was the closest school).
I am seeking for “refund” because I can’t do anything with those credits, neither continuing education.
Do you think is a chance for me to get my money back? Till today, I haven’t heard anything back from the school and I really don’t know what to do 🙁
Do you have any advise ?
Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult to get a refund, especially if the money was paid in cash instead of via student loans. However, I would still TRY to apply for the Closed School Discharge Program if I were you, hoping that it will include a refund.
And then if that doesn’t work, I’d try to use Borrower’s Defense to Repayment to see if that one may get you a refund.
Again, I think the odds are like 95% that you will not get a refund, but I’d try it anyway.
Thank you who ever created this article. I attended the art institute of Atlanta and had to withdraw because they lied about my tuition and I ran out of financial aid money. I feel like I have a good case. I applied and I hope to get good news. Thank you for educationing us all. Im also going to look into a student loan lawyer to be on the safe side
That would be me. Than you for the kind words Kayla, I will keep my fingers crossed for you!
If you can find a good student loan lawyer, come back and give me their contact information. I’m ALWAYS looking for good referrals to send my visitors to.
Hi Tim! I attended the Art Institute of Fort Worth in 2011 and in 2013 they told everyone in my Interior Design program, the program will be getting shut down because there were not enough students in the program and the only options we had were to 1. transfer to another art institute 2. Quit school. I opted out and quit school because there was no way I was going to continue getting into debt after what had happen. Since the program was shut down, none of my classes were accredited. This was almost 8 years ago and I don’t have any documents or proof of what happened. I can however request a transcript that shows that the program was not accredited. I was also led to applying for loans at a young age and lied to about graduation rate and promises that I wouldn’t have to worry about the loans because my chances of getting a job at the school were very high.. I cannot remember whom I spoke to but I think it was the admissions office that led me to apply for the ridiculous loans. Will I have no hope in applying if I can’t remember the details? I have emailed the school for any financial documents during the time I was there, hopefully I get a response with something that helps.
Yeah, you’re going to have to remember more details than what you outlined here. This wouldn’t be enough to get an approval for a BDAR application. I would absolutely spend some more time thinking about who made promises to you, what exactly they promised, and how the promise affected your decision to borrow money to go to school.
I am wondering about what happens if you had no loan but paid as you went as my grandson did.
We had a 529 plan and when that was used up we paid in cash as we were invoiced. He was 3 months from graduating when the school closed. This was the Art Institute of Phx. What are our
chances of getting money back if we sued the school. Or would you have some other idea that might help us? Thanks Roberta Petrocci
Good question, but this may unfortunately be one of those fringe cases where you’re basically out of luck. These programs were created to help people deal with DEBT, and I don’t think you’ll be able to qualify for a refund since you were paying in cash.
My best possible suggestion is to contact the Student Loan Ombudsman Group and see if there’s anything that they can do to help you out. They are a Government-backed group of attorneys who offer free legal advice on student loan-related issues.
Hello, I attended the Art Institute of OC back in 2000-2003. I was told by the recruiter that I would come out making more than $50,000.00 a year. My loans were a little higher than $50,000. The recruiter told me about job placement help and being able to get jobs after graduating. I was never told about how students loans worked federal or private. I was only called in to sign documents to keep going through my classes until graduating in November of 2003. The saddest thing about this was being offered leads via sales jobs after graduation. The education was minimal to basics of how programs worked. This put me in a situation were I had to deffer my loans a couple of times while I struggled with the high payment. I am know to about $30,000 in federal debt and just found out that the school closed, actually today 3/9/19. Are the degrees still good or would they be of no use on a resume. How can I show proof as I don’t have the names of those who lied to me about job placement, wages. We were also told by the president of the school that we could go back at any point and study new programs that were not taught at that time. I found out later we could not sit in any class after graduating.
That promise – that you’d graduate making over $50,000 a year, is basically a slam-dunk case for a Borrower’s Defense Discharge. In your application, you need to include as much detail as you can come up with, including exactly what was said to you, who said it, where you were when you heard it, and how it impacted your decision to borrow money for the school. The more details you can put together, the more likely you’ll be to qualify for a discharge.
Hi Tim i applied to have my loan forgiven back in October. How long will it take to hear back about it?
It’s hard to say, as I’ve heard from people waiting a year or even two years before hearing back. It’s almost impossible to figure out how long it’ll take to get a response because everyone is having different experiences.
Thank you very much for the wealth of information that you have provided to us concerning the Art Institutes. Recently (and curiously), my loan provider had just emailed me the CSLD form for me, and I assume others like me, to fill out. After reading your blog, it appears that I have a better chance of having the loan forgiven by using the BDRD form. However, the CSLD states the following: “If you withdrew more than 120 days before the school closed you may be eligible for this form of discharge if the department determines that exceptional circumstances related to the school’s closing justify an extension of this 120 day period.” One example indicated on the form is “(4) a finding by a state or federal government agency that the closed school violated State or Federal law.” Would it not be wise to file CSLD, given that my loaner was the one who provided me the document? At first, it seemed like I wouldn’t be eligible for it since it had been more than 120 days since I left the school, but the aforementioned clause would also be in my favor. Thoughts?
If I were you, I’d try for the Closed School Discharge first, because they get reviewed faster, have better chances of being successful, and do not EVER require you to list the forgiven debt as taxable income in your IRS returns. Definitely try for the Closed School Discharge first, then only use BDAR if that fails.
I took out a parent plus loan for my son back in 2001 at the art institute of New England and my son only attended for a semester. The loan amount was for 9k and Has doubled since then due to me as a single parent struggling to make payments etc. I wish that back then that I contacted the school about refunding the difference but didn’t know. Since then, I have consolidated the loan and have been trying to make payments. I need to prove that the school didn’t refund the $.
My son is now in the military but the loans in my name.
Any advice? Do you think I’m eligible for loan forgiveness? The loan amount I should be repaying should be for 1 semester but the difference wasn’t returned and I have to figure out how to prove it.
Please help? It’s so frustrating
Take a look at my Guide to Parent PLUS Loan Forgiveness & Discharge Options for some ideas on things you could pursue. There may be a way to get out of this.
Thank you for all of this great info!
I attended The Art Institute in Los Angeles, graduated 2009.
With 4 outstanding private student loans out with my father as a cosigner, (Great Lakes and Navient) would I still qualify for Borrower Defense to Repayment Discharge with the right evidence to back up all of the accusations?
Or is this just for federal loans and without a parent cosigning?
No – Private loans are NOT eligible for BDAR, unfortunately. You’re going to have to look into other options here, and I’m sorry to say that there’s very little available to people with Private debt. Look at my page on Getting Help with Private Student Loan Debt for some details. My opinion is that filing for bankruptcy is the easiest way to wipe out private loans, but as we all know how difficult that is, there’s truly no silver bullet here.
What an amazing person you are to take this much time to help those of us who are so distraught! Why would you do this?
Thanks for the kind words! This site started as an SEO testing ground where I could try different techniques and see what worked and didn’t work, way back in 2011, but then I got obsessed with knowing all the latest details about every program, and once I realized how helpful I could be I just didn’t stop developing new content. Thank you though, I appreciate it!
Has this worked with Academy of Art? I attended this school, but couldn’t complete my education because I maxed out my loans and the cost of school was far more than I could afford.
Borrower’s Defense Discharges work for ANY school, but you’ll definitely need a better argument for why you deserve to have the loans forgiven. If you just say that you couldn’t afford it, you’re sure to be denied.
Thank you so much for the information you’ve provided. While I don’t know if I will qualify for either program it may be worth me pursuing the BDRD program. I applied to The Art Institute Pittsburg – Online Division in mid December 2018 and began my courses on January 10, 2019. I had no idea whatsoever that The Art Institutes had these financial troubles, lawsuits, and I certainly didn’t know about the rumored closing of the Pittsburg campus, including the Online division effective March 31, 2019. Had I known any of this I would never have enrollment. I learned of the above mentioned troubles on Friday February 8, 2019 after my access to Adobe Creative Cloud was revoked, the purchase of which were included in my tuition student loan. Revocation of my Creative Cloud access made me suspicious that something was up, and then came the email on Friday 2/8/19 advising that the media reports about the March 31, 2019 school closing were “not the case.” After getting that email, I then started to research and saw the January 13, 2019 Pittsburg-Post Gazette article that talked about the March 31. 2019 closing. Anyway, thanks again for all the information you provided and your responses to those who submitted questions and comments. I am most appreciative for your efforts to help those affected.
You should definitely go for the Closed School Loan Discharge Program. You were actively a student at the school when it shut down, so you’ll be able to get full forgiveness for your loan!
Don’t bother with BDAR. It’s a long-shot for people who aren’t eligible for Closed School Discharges. Good luck!
Thanks for all the information here. I’ve been thinking on doing the BDAR application on and off the past few months or so, and I’ve started digging up information through emails and such.
I attended the Art Institutes online division for Game art and design right after I graduated high school in 2009, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into or grasp of how loans worked backed then. I ended up dropping out in 2011 because I was so scared about my loans blowing up to $36,000! Also because I was really skeptical about the school credibility- a lot of the classes were not professional and didn’t match what the school was trying to offer me
It was a long time ago so the hardest part for me is remembering the specific details of what was said to me. I definitely remember feeling taken advantage of since I was fresh out of high school with high hopes for my future career.
Is there any hope for me? I feel like my best bet is bringing up standards of quality since that’s mostly what I have a case built up for.
Thank you again!
There may be hope for you if you can remember some very specific details about what was promised or marketed to you. The key to getting an approval is that this is a legal process, and so you have to prove that you were taken advantage of ILLEGALLY, not just that you got a raw deal. Talking about things like low quality teachers, classes that didn’t feel professional, etc., won’t work – you’ll need much more specific claims about some kind fraudulent behavior on the school’s part, false advertising, made up statistics, claims that they couldn’t back up with data, etc. Good luck!
I can’t believe someone else is in the exact same boat as me. Roped into a game art and design degree because there were no alternatives in sight for those interested in game design. I started in 2006 and dropped out late 2010 because I reached my loan limits and would need to take out personal loans to continue. So now I have 88k in school loans with no degree and the credits are useless. I applied for the discharge for school closure. Fingers crossed
For some odd reason, the FSA website redirects you to an error message when you actually try to submit an application. The error message reads: “We are unable to complete your request at this time. Please try again later. We apologize for the inconvenience.” Not certain why that’s the case. I’m hoping it’s temporary. Any idea why this would be occurring?
Sounds like something is broken with their site, or maybe you input something strange in a form? Try contacting the Department of Education, or try filling out the form again on a different day.
It SHOULD work!
Does any of this pertain to loans that are already paid in full? And graduation was in 2001? Thanks
It’s POSSIBLE though highly unlikely to get money back for loans already paid in full. I would still try filing a Borrower’s Defense Application, but the odds are pretty low that it’ll work.
THANK YOU SO MUCH, HOLY COW! I have been trying to fight the damn loans I was totally tricked into getting (even though I was continuously telling the financial aid admins that I was having a hard time even understanding what they were saying) they still managed to con me into getting them, .or signing me up for them without telling me very much about the consequences. I was always told, “You’re going to be making $80,000 a year, so you will pay it off really quickly and 80% of the graduates will get a job straight out of school, so don’t worry about it.” Without my knowledge, or understanding of the difference, I was also signed up for private loans. I was never told that they acted completely differently and they caused me great confusion when Sallie Mae and friends started hounding me for a MASSIVE precedent of my income. The jobs we were always told we were, “pretty much guaranteed, especially in the Portland area,” weren’t even real industry jobs! Several times I was told by the idiot job placement advisor that I should start with unpaid internships, and suggested to me several places where I could work as a SECRETARY, and not a designer to “make connections.” On the very first day of school I went downstairs, completely distraught because one of the “expert” instructions (an unknown graphic designer whose only real talent was in typography) said that people who were interested in becoming illustrators, or comic book artists were “in the wrong program.” I told one of the office people who worked in recruiting this and said, “I really don’t think this is right for me.” She sweet- talked me into continuing with the promise of a future making more than $80,000 a year, promised that I would get a job by inflating the number of students who gets jobs even higher than 80% so she could keep me on the hook. She didn’t even want me changing programs within the school. In hindsight, I figured out that it was likely due to the fact that they would have made less money off of me if I went into game programming; they only offered an Associate’s for that at the time I attended; but if they kept me there for longer to get a Bachelor’s they would have me up to my arse in debt.
I have so many horror stories from this place and the fact that ther interest rate ended up being so much higher than I understood had made sure that I’ll never EVER pay them off. My degree is useless. I’ve worked in semiconductors for 7 years because the Pacific North West market for graphic designers is SO flooded with designers, wannabe amateur designers and the masses and masses of those of us who have been floundering about without industry work, .or any commitment advisors trying to actually help us that it’s simply impossible. I don’t want these scum suckers, or the government that allowed such disgusting racket to take place to make a single penny off of me. I’ve never been able to make the ridiculously high payments, so my credit is completely destroyed. I can’t buy a house, I couldn’t be on the lease for my own car, I can never have even the smallest of in-store credit cards because this school and the system have completely ruined me for life.
I want my chance to stuff it back in their faces and I want them to recognize that their predatory practices have now, largely crippled those of us who stre supposed to be “the future.” They should suffer like I have and like so many others that graduated alongside me.
I’ve now started towards completing a certification in an entirely unrelated field; computer programming. Tech has been much longer to me than the useless piece of paper that certifies me as an educated graphic designer.
If you were really told that you’d be making $80,000 a year then you have a SLAM DUNK case for Getting a BDAR Discharge. I would absolutely fill out the application and pursue this. Just make sure that you do a really good job of explaining exactly what you were told, who said it, how it impacted your decision to take out the loans, etc., and you should be on the path to a discharge.
Thanks for existing Tim,
I was instructed by my loan service provider to apply for a Borrower Defense to Repayment Discharge but feel like it would be useless. I did a bit of research and I stumbled on your site. I attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale from 01 -05 and withdrew without obtaining a degree. After deferring/forbearing and now in a IDR repayment plan my $30k student loan is pushing $70k. At some point it has to cease as realistically I will never have the opportunity to make enough money to pay this loan back and live comfortably.
Not that I have a desire to go back and finish to get a degree I now no longer have an option to do so. This is the reason I thought I would qualify for a school closure discharge. It is quite possible that The Art Institute made a bunch of false promises/lies and even had illegal practices but there is no way of me remembering events that happened 18 years ago. Is my fate doomed to filing for IDR repayment plans until the end of time or is there a chance at BDtoRD?
No, you should definitely pursue the BDAR Discharge. There’s no reason not to push for it. You need to think back about what you were promised and how it impacted your decision to take out the loans. You won’t qualify for a Closed School Discharge because those require being enrolled in the school within a small time window from when it shuts down. You should pursue the BDAR Discharge even if it seems unlikely, because it was made for people like you.
I attended the art institute online division from 2015 to decembet 2017 i never finished my degree and had to quit was going to return to finish and have been payi g on student loans since last year i remember them telling me about the graduation rate and job rates that they promised me will i be eligible for this forgiveness
You might be! Maybe via Borrower’s Defense to Repayment, and maybe via the Closed School Discharge Program.
Hi this article is awesome !! I’m goin through the process with both loans school closure and Borrower’s defense I received a letter for the school closure loan today saying that i need a letter on letterhead paper from the school stating that they closed the art institute we never received that from Tinley or Schaumburg yes we’ve been through both and still have nothing to show for anything I really would like to discuss this with you is there any way we could talk I’m ready to beat my head off the wall over this stuff it’s ridiculous it just makes me sick please get back with me my number is (555) 555-5555 If you can talk with me or if you prefer me to type all my stuff out I can do that I just need some real advice
Sorry, but I don’t do personal consultations. You should contact the Student Loan Ombudsman Group for legal advice or assistance in dealing with your loans (they’re a group of Government-backed attorneys who provide FREE legal assistance on student loan-related issues). I’m removing your phone number from this comment for privacy purposes.
I transferred to Ai in January of 2018 when the school was purchased by DCEH with the knowledge that I would receive my bachelors now if they made that promise enrolled me knowing that they were going to shut down and cause me and my family hardships due to the closer. Do I have a right to sue under breach of contract. I have every correspondence with this school as well as several disheartening emails to Pittsburgh about the conditions of the campus here as far as tech and structure.
You may be eligible for the Closed School Discharge since you were still enrolled at the time of the closure. But I’m not sure how it’ll play out since your loans were mostly from the previous schools? Contact the Department of Education or the Student Loan Ombudsman Group to see what would happen in your case.
I attended the art institute of Pittsburgh from 2006 to 2010, I went into there special effect program. I do remember them telling me that they have connections with people in the field and could find me work. But once I finish I did not get any help from othe counselor.
I will be filing for the BDRD with help form someone I can find that is better at wording facts and these type of government forms.
Also few years back the school was sold and now found out thatAIP closing. Would this also be under a school closing type of form?
Thank You for your time.
You can only qualify for a Closed School Discharge if you were still attending the school within 120 days of the closure, so I don’t think that will work for you.
Everything they told me (guaranteed job placement, starting salary, etc) were all done verbally in person. How do I provide documentation on that? None of the emails are like this at all.
That’s the trick – you’ll need to provide as much detail as possible. Think about when it was said, where you were when you heard it, who told it to you, what their official job title was, etc., and provide a direct quote, not a paraphrased version of what you were told. Then, clearly explain how it impacted your decision to attend the school. Provide as much context as you possibly can!
Okay thanks! I’m just worried of getting a detail like the specific date or title of a person wrong, then having it all be dropped and being accused of lying (which I imagine has extreme repercussions). So be as specific as I can accurately be, if I’m not sure on an exact date just say “around mid-June” for example. Correct?
I think something like “mid-June” would work, but provide the year for sure as well. Give as much detail as possible, but like you said, nothing that can lead to a quick dismissal because some minor thing was incorrect.
What if I paid cash and now the school is closing? Can i get my money back?
It’s very, very hard to get refunds for any money already paid. It’s much easier to get forgiveness for debt that still remains. If you paid cash, it’s going to be almost impossible to get it back, but there’s always a chance, and I would still apply to see if it’ll work.
Hey Zach, I went to that website that Tim Suggested “Wayback Machine” and I was able to find claims of actual percentages and salaries that were guaranteed on the AI website
I printed and saved them as PDFs and hope that will help as documentation backup.
Be sure to check that out.. I’m not sure what years you attended but go back to the beginning of the snapshots they have saved and check out the career services pages.
Hope this helps you !
Great work Jess! Nice job doing the legwork required to gather good evidence. Your BDAR Discharge Application should get approved since you spent the extra time to gather HARD PROOF against the school!
Do you have a link to that Wayback website? That sounds super handy!
Yeah, you’ll find it here: https://archive.org/web/
Hey are Parent PLUS loans forgiven with BADR? How would I go about adding it to a BADR application?
Good question! Parent PLUS Loans fall into a weird, strange category of their own. I have never been able to give anyone a straight answer on how to tackle them, because DOE offers conflicting advice about them and they operate so strangely.
Try contacting the Student Loan Ombudsman Group to ask if you can include these in a BDAR Application, then let me know what they say. The Ombudsman are a FREE group of Attorneys backed by the Federal Government, so you can trust their advice.
I did here is their response “If deemed eligible, a parent PLUS loan can be discharged under provisions of Borrower Defense to Repayment. For more information, please go to studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/borrower-defense”
Zach! You are one of the ONLY PEOPLE to ever come back and let me know what you were told! Glad that Parent PLUS loans are eligible, and thank you VERY MUCH for your response! I’m going to create a Guide on Parent PLUS Loans now that I know for certain they can be discharged too. Thanks again and good luck!
I currently have Fedloan as a Parent Plus loan and a Nelnet Loan. The Nelnet loan is in my name and the Parent Plus in my mom’s. Does she need to file an application as well, or will mine do it for both?
Yes, you’d need two separate BDAR Discharge Applications to get both loans forgiven.
Glad I could help!
Hi. I attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and graduated in 2000. I transferred to the school from an accredited sister campus in Seattle, which was at the time accredited. However, when I enrolled, I was not informed the Fort Lauderdale campus was not credited but I was told that job in South Florida for graphic design were in high demand. That turned out to be utterly untrue., In fact, I continually emailed and called the career assistance office for years after my “graduation” attempting to get work and I never did. They were never helpful or even interested in helping me. After years of not being able to find employment, I had to go back to school and re-enroll at a state university where I finally graduated with a degree in communications. I was finally able to get my career going but I’m behind because of the years I lost waiting for my graphic design degree from the Art Institute to pay off. I graduated a long time before any of this happened. I went back to university in 2005 and couldn’t even transfer any of my credits over, so I was starting from scratch basically. Do you think I had a chance? I am still paying an arm and a leg for these student loans.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like the school did anything illegal here. They didn’t promise you that a percentage of their graduates finish, they didn’t promise you a set salary, they didn’t even promise that your credits would be eligible for transferring. I don’t really know what you’re accusing them of having done wrong, and it definitely doesn’t sound like they did anything illegal, so I would not submit this claim as-is.
I attended The Art Institute Of Pittsburgh Online Division from Spring 2007 to Winter 2011. I did not graduate from the school, I was told that I hit the Financial Aid Ceiling and was told to take out private loans which I did not, and am stuck with a big student loan and a $2,000 balance from the school. I am in the process of trying to get this loan discharged, but my loan provider needs more information from me to get this loan discharged, and using my deafness to get out of this loan. And I believe that the AI is a scam and need some help. Plus can’t get into another school because this school messed up with my Pell and Financial Aid too.
Did you have a specific question? I can’t tell what you’d be able to use as a BDAR claim because I don’t see anything in your explanation about the school doing something illegal to you?
Well since the school closed for good, I am having trouble getting my loan wipe out. They are giving me the run around. I am not having the credits transfer to another school since the AI say I owe them money for one course and I won’t pay them since they mess up my Financial aid and left me with a big bill for Student Loan which I am having trouble paying. I just feel cheated. I am trying to get a hold of someone at Fedloan Servicing and PA Department Of Education to help me out. Plus I am on disability.
You should be using either the Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Program or the Closed School Loan Discharge Program to get your loans wiped out.
The same exact story for me. If I was told up front the total cost of my education I would have backed out right away. They kept doing shady little tricks like telling me to drop classes it would be cheaper but it pushed my Graduation date further and further out. Then they hit me with the Financial Aid Ceiling thing. For that amount of money I could attend Harvard. I had so many phone call from a different advisor at least every month. It would be impossible to name them. But I do remember the conversations. I’m retired and disable and they sent me a letter today to garnish my Social Security benefits.
I am fighting to get the AI loans wipe out, and it is harder to do it! I just need that AI loan wipe out and the bill is getting higher, and on disability and can’t pay for it. I filed the BDAR and it is not clear if I got approved or not, so I am filing a new one and still fighting!!! Plus thought Sallie Mae was in trouble too over the student loans thing from AI?
I attended the AI of Ft Lauderdale in 95. The program I was in got discontinued and to finish my degree they said they could not do anything but to enroll me in another program. I had to take another student to loan to cover about 5 classes which I needed to graduated. They collected on the first program and then instead of charging me only for 5 classes they charged me for the whole new program. The loans have been moved through several different lenders and now is being managed my ED Financial. Is it possible for me to take advantage the settlement?
This sounds like you may qualify for a Borrower’s Defense Discharge thanks to the bait and switch tactics utilized against you. I’d look into filing a BDAR Discharge Application against AI.
I went to the Art Institute CA – Sac. It was a misleading processes with all of the financial aid, a lot of “oh you only need to take this small loan out” then quickly went to “a bigger loan is necessary” then to the “your parents need to take a parent plus loan to help cover your school”. My last quarter there was July-Sept 2018 with the school closing in December 2018. It was hell and crazy, I was mislead and told that I would get a refund of around $6,000 because the school was closing early without a longer warning so they would discount my quarter by 50% meaning that I’d have left over financial aid money that I could take home and apply to my student loans. Which was something I held on to for the rest of my last quarter up until the last week of school when I was told that the school “returned” that money to my lenders, which doesn’t make sense because my student loans are completely the same amount. It was a huge mess and now I’m left with $20,000 of my student loans and $6,000 of my parents plus loan, before interest. I read the guidelines for the Closed School discharge, and think I actually can apply for it. Will I be able to even though I graduated in September? It was within those 180 days, but the application says that I don’t apply because I graduated. Can you please help?
If you’ve graduated, then you will NOT be eligible for a Closed School Loan Discharge. The rules clearly state that you have to have failed to complete your degree before the school closed, so yes, the application is correct and you are stuck with your debt. HOWEVER, you may still be eligible for a Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Discharge, so I would look into the details of that program and see what you can come up with there. My page has plenty of details about how it works and what you need to cite in order to get a discharge approved, so make sure to read through all the content and you should be all set!
My son son attended the Art Instiute of Charlotte, and has closed. I filed the loan discharge papers to our loan provider, and was told we were ineligible due to the Dept of Education had not notified them of the school closure. Where do I go from here?
Contact the Student Loan Ombudsman Group and ask if they can assist you with the legal fallout here. This is a group of attorneys who are backed by the US Federal Government and who offer FREE ADVICE about student loan-related legal issues. Google their name for their contact info.
Thank you so much for your help. Question though – Any way you recommend that we write this letter to them on the website or does the site prompt you through everything? Looking at the BDAR eligibility because I graduated in 2015 from AI – Cincinnati. And I am still not able to find a job in the field or with enough pay to pay back the $90k in debt that I have from the school.
Thank you again for your help!
The Federal Government’s BDAR application will prompt you through the whole process now. The BDAR letters used to have to be hand written, and it was much more complicated, but they’ve streamlined things significantly. Good luck!
I attended New England Institute of Art from 2004-2007 mostly having to use private loans in order to keep attending school.
Do these programs address private loans?
Unfortunately, no, most of the programs I write about on my site don’t offer any assistance for private loans. Take a look at my section on Private Student Loan Debt Relief, and Private Student Loan Forgiveness Programs for details on what’s available there. Be warned; it’s not much.
I tried filling out the BDAR application but apparently it’s not available at this time? What’s the details on this? Is it still relevant? Because I’m realizing I was promised things before enrollment and now I’m 70k in the hole with no way out..
That’s strange; there hasn’t been a pause on BDAR for a while so it seems like the application should definitely be accessible. I would check again and see if you maybe ended up at a broken link or old page or something? Go here, login and you should be able to find the latest version.
Hello ive been in the Art Institute of Pittsburg Online Division. I heard they might lose accreditation. Is there anyway to know for sure. I only signed up for a Diploma but i will still have the 11,ooo loan to pay off.
I have no idea where to go to find out; I’d set up a Google Alert and keep searching daily to see if any stories about them pop up. Losing their accreditation may not matter though if you have already graduated? Are you pushing for a Borrower’s Defense Discharge? If you already graduated and they lose accreditation after the fact, I don’t think that’ll satisfy the eligibility conditions of the BDAR program.
I went to the Art Institute of Portland before it closed down in December, and now owe the school about $1,650 and now have to pay that back in order for my FASFA to go through to my new school. I am curious on a few things that was said and shown to me and was wondering if that could be used for the programs. They stated I could accept the $2,000 credit for me to go to another college or half off tuition if I went to another one of their colleges and they said at the end i signed a paper stating I won’t get the credit and it will pay off what I have to the school, was given a for cast of what my terms would look like as Wella ND was told that being in the school for 2 years I would not owe the school anything but they closed down, which was not brought to my attention they were closing in 2 semesters. Was also put into basically a beginner math class without testing my skills in my basic study’s to see where I placed but rather put me into a class that had ample room and needed more students.
Were you still a student at the time the school closed down? If so, you have a really good chance of being eligible for the Closed School Loan Discharge Program, and I’d pursue that first before trying to qualify for a Borrower’s Defense Discharge. Your story about about being put into a beginner Math class is definitely not going to be enough to qualify you for a discharge, so I’d think about other things that happened and see if you can come up with a more compelling argument on that front.
I attended Art Institute online. Is this institution eligible for one of the discharge programs?
Yeah, the Online portion of the school is definitely open to Borrower’s Defense Discharges. There have been all sorts of complaints about how the Online school was run, and if you can provide evidence for them committing fraud against you, you’ll have a great shot at getting approval for a discharge.
Do you know of any lawyers who are helping with this I can hire?
Apologies, but no, I don’t have a list of referrals to offer.
This is news to me, and I think I may actually be one of the people you’ve described as, “whistle-blowers,” in the article. I brought a class action lawsuit against them in 2012. Would have been more if so much didn’t amount to hearsay at the time, but my goodness, this is gratifying. These events changed my future, and for a while there I grew pretty nihilistic, but it looks like there may be a reason here or there for at least a few things in life, such as they are.
I hope you managed to turn a profit off your lawsuit! Thanks for being one of the trailblazers because your work is definitely helping THOUSANDS of other borrowers out now!
Thank you so much Will! I was a student at AIP, we’re working on a documentary on the fraud. Would you be willing to be interviewed for it?
My son attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh & I know we were mislead about his job prospects and the help he would receive obtaining employment after graduation. So, I’m sure he would qualify for loan forgiveness.
My question is about our loans we took out on his behalf through Great Lakes which have grown to over $100,000. Is there an option for us? Can we apply through the same programs, as I took out those loans based on the false information and promises from AIP?
Are your loans Federal or Private? Great Lakes is a servicer of both types of loans, and if your loans are Private, then they probably won’t be eligible for the Closed School Discharge or the Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Discharge.
I understand that i may qualify for borrowers defence but are you aware of how i would sue the school for money I’ve paid for classes that were taken off my transcripts, missing transcripts, stipends made it to me that they made me cash and thengive them the money back etc…. They completely robbed me blind and the runaround kept me from even getting a degree.they say i owe them money for a class i never took and couldn’t attend until i payed. Then, when i asked to be put on a payment plan they said I’d have to start over because the curriculum had changed…. I was 4 classes away from graduating!!
You’ll need to speak with an attorney about all this lawsuit stuff.
Thank you so much for your article. My fiancé graduated from AI with a BA in graphic design in 2013. He graduated owing 120k for a BA. He stayed hopeful because the school promised job placement and they could not help him. They kept telling him to look on craigslist. He worked many odd jobs just to make the payment, but struggled and still continues to struggle. We’re going to go ahead and apply for the DOE borrowers defense. Do you offer a template on what to write to really qualify? All we want is for these loans to disappear.
Julie and Leonard
I don’t think this is enough to get an approval – the school saying they’d help with finding a job is a pretty open-ended promise. Did they say he’d make a certain amount of money? That he’d be able to find a specific job role or title, or management position? You need something a little stronger here!
I attended the Art Institute of Portland for 2 terms in 2010 and left after learning more about the negative and fraudulent things they had/have been accused of. At the time I did not think i could do anything about it. After seeing your article though I feel like I can take action based on my experience. But I want to see what you think.
Before I decided to take out loans and enroll at the Art Institute of Portland I remember specifically being shown a piece of marketing material during a 1 on 1 informational meeting that listed the job placement rates of all of their graduate programs. And I remember those job placement rates being a key factor in why I decided to take out loans and attend the school. I was also a dumb 19 year old at the time so i was pretty dense…and i suspect they did not really care. Today I know that these job placement they were inflated/faked to convince students such as myself to attend the school. I ended up taking out 2 loans in the amount of around $4000 and my parents took out a parent plus loan for around $13,000.
For my claim and my parents claim, if we hammer on the fact that AI broke the law, specifically Oregon Deceptive Trade Practices Laws by using fake graduate employment rates. And that these fake rates were the deciding factor that convinced me to take out a loan to attend the school as well as get my parents to assist with Parent Plus Loans, do you think I could win my case as well as my parents? I have brief emails from the Assistant admissions director when we first set up the information meeting and can also provide her name, that is all i really have though. Also do you think it matters how long you attended the school pr how much debt you ended up with from the school? I’d think it would not matter since they broke the law in the first place, altering there graduate employment rates in order to convince me to take out loans and attend the school. What do you think though?
Thanks for this very informative article
Those Job Placement Rate promises may be just the ticket! This is exactly what schools (including AI) keep getting blasted about, so I think you have a good chance of applying for a Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Discharge and getting your application approved in this case. I’d make sure to explain EXACTLY what they showed you, who showed it to you, when it happened, where you were when it happened and how it changed your decision making process about borrowing money to attend the school. You’ll need to specifically say that you were NOT going to borrow money because it didn’t seem like a good idea until they showed you those job placement rates.
Thanks, this is EXACTLY what we went through with our son at the Art Institute of Portland. He has Asperger’s Syndrome and completed the four year program on time (something to be proud of , I guess, considering the actual graduation rates) to get his BA in Game Art Design in July of 2017 – only to find that there was virtually no after graduation support from the school nor any eal employment prospects. The ONLY reason we agreed to take out Parent Plus loans and federal loans was the high graduation and placement after graduation figures we were shown in marketing documents during multiple one on one sessions with admittance personnel from the school in late 2012/early 2013. Praying we can get relief from the Borrowers Defense to Repayment Discharge form we are filling out now. It has been over a year and a half since graduation and while he diligently searches daily for (and has applied for) any and every job he can find in his chosen field and has not had even a single interview to date. He is heart broken and we are being crushed by the debt due to a recent reduction in our own income. We are facing the very real possibility of losing our house because of this.
That piece about the high graduation and placement rates is going to be the key to your successful BDAR application. I think you’ll be able to win an approval for a Discharge if you can make it clear that you were tricked, swindled, defrauded by that data.
I attended the Art Institute if Cali-LA, the campus is now closed. I took loans out and I’m currently 60-70K in debt. I was unemployed for months after I graduated. I’m not making enough money to afford- rent, car, and monthly needs (gas, until bills, food) but I can’t afford to pay these loans with my income. It has become a burden that I can pay off this loans. I thought most of my units were transferable so now if I enroll to a community college, I would have to retake English and Math courses. That’s outrageous.
Does it sound like I will qualify for the program? I tried filling out the application and I’m trying to figure out how to word my answers in the questionnaire they provide.
If you left the college fewer than 180 days before it shut down, then you’re guaranteed to be approved for a Closed School Loan Discharge. Are you going after that, or are you pursuing a Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Discharge? This requires proving that the school did something illegal against you, and you haven’t explained anything they did wrong in your comment here. Did they lie to you about something? Did they make some false promises about what you’d be able to earn after graduating, or about a job title you could get because of your program? Did they tell you that their graduates had some set job placement rate in their field of study? You need to be specific about what you’re accusing them of having done, and I see no record of that in this comment. Read my post again, it details EXACTLY what you need to do.
I went to the art Institute of Fort Lauderdale for culinary in 2011. My father doesn’t read or speak English had to co-sign for a student loan for me. The recruiter told us that all of the student get jobs paying over $30,000, so that the money we take out in loans shouldn’t be a problem later on. One I graduated and asked for help finding a job they just put my resume on monster.com, that’s all the help I got. Going to the school is the biggest regret in my life.
If you were really told that “all of the students get jobs paying over $30,000”, then you will DEFINITELY get approval for a BDAR Discharge. That was HIGHLY ILLEGAL of the recruiter to make that claim. Make sure that you document this perfectly on your Borrower’s Defense application, including the location, date, time and name and position of the person who made this statement. Use quotes to show exactly what they said and make it very, very clear that you were being promised something specific here; a set salary. This is definitely grounds for a discharge!
I went to the art institute from 2011 to 2013 I did not finish at the school because of a mental health problem and they told me I needed to take a break (basically I was kicked out) I am about to finish my BA an university this spring.(I had to start all over because none of the classes were transferable) The Ai school I went to closed down as well, but I had been gone about two years prior. Is there any chance I can have my loans cancel as well??
You won’t qualify for a Closed School Discharge because you left too far away from the time they shut down, but you may be able to qualify for a Borrower’s Defense Discharge. Check out that section of my Guide and see if any of the issues mentioned there apply to you.
I know I can apply for the Borrower’s Defense to Repayment program. My only concern is the application only discusses federal loans. While I have those, my main concern is my private loans held with two different providers. If approved, does this program cancel/dismiss private loans as well?
Unfortunately, no, you won’t be able to get assistance with your Private Loans via BDAR.
I am helping a friend who’s student loan is currently in default. While in default, can I file and receive student loan forgiveness under the Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment Program, or do I need to get out of default first in order to qualify?
You need to get out of Default first. The Federal Government won’t help anyone who has defaulted on their loans. Check out my Guide on the Federal Student Loan Rehabilitation Program, and look at my Guide on Federal Student Loan Default Help.
Hi Tim, you can still qualify even if your student loan is in default. Here are straight guideline from the Borrower Defense program application:
If you are not currently in default on your federal student loans, you may request to have them placed into forbearance status while your application is under review. Forbearance means that you do not have to make loan payments and your loans will not go into default. Forbearance will continue until the borrower defense review process of your application is completed. Your servicer will notify you when your loans have been placed into forbearance status. If your federal student loans are in default, you may request to have debt collection on your loan stopped (“stopped collections status”). This means that the federal government or debt collection companies will stop attempting to collect on the loans, including by not withholding money from your wages or income tax refunds. Stopped collections status will continue until the borrower defense review process of your application is completed.
Oh, good find James! They may have changed the rules on this. This would be a great way to delay payments then and avoid collections activity, especially since it’s taking YEARS for BDAR reviews. Great tip!
Thanks for creating this site and providing all of this info. I attended one of the Illinois Institute of Art locations for a graphic design degree — sadly, the chain bought out the small art college I’d started at and converted it into one of their abominations. As has happened with so many others, my experience was terrible. They were quite misleading about employment prospects and their job placement “assistance” was of little help — the best moment being when, despite my actual field of study, I was given a “lead” to a job dressing mannequins.
No joke. Dressing mannequins.
Teachers were a mixed bag; I did have some truly awesome ones, including, ironically, the best math teachers I’ve ever been a student for. But then there were the ones who would sit in front of the class on a computer “trying to remember what I learned about this program so I can show you”. No joke, one teacher actually said this to a Saturday morning class. We did most of our own teaching in that we often just read through the textbooks and learned on our own, so pretty much all I paid (waaay too much for) was a largely useless piece of paper. They were also sketchy when it came to their accreditation, which I discovered when I attempted to transfer to another design program at a different school. They refused almost every credit hour I’d gotten up to that point.
Anyways, I rant — you know all this stuff, I’m sure. I attended in the late 90s – early 2000s, so I’m not sure if I can qualify for forgiveness, but I’m going to try. I’ve been paying my debt off, but the amount is well beyond the true cost of the degree. I feel screwed over enough after my experience with this “school” that I’d happily take forgiveness or relief of any kind.
The accreditation issue and inability to transfer credits MIGHT open you up to a Borrower’s Defense Discharge possibility, but I’d read through my entire post and see if you can remember anything else that was more specific, and specifically illegal. False promises and false advertising are typically the best claims for a BDAR discharge. There’s definitely a chance of getting your loans forgiven, but you’ll have to put together a much stronger legal case than what you outlined here. No one is going to forgive loans because of bad teachers, for example.
Hello Tim and thank you for your article and useful information!
I just paid off my loan for The Art Institute of Los Angeles this year ( I started paying back the $20k in 2002). Do you think I would be eligible to get some are all of this money back since my loan has officially been paid off? Thanks so much in advance for your help!
It’s definitely possible that you could get a refund or partial refund via the Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Program. Read about it on my Guide to BDAR Discharges.
My son came out of the art Institute of ft lauderdale $100,000.00 in debt. Was promised 100% job placement prior to going to the school only to find out that their 100% job placement may be at Burger King or where or whoever was hiring. To top that off half way through his education the professor passed away so my son who was studying yatch and marine design now was being educated by the culinary professor. I can go on but I think you can understand my frustration from just this short amount of information.
I think your Son has a good chance of getting an approval for a Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Discharge based on what you said here. I would try to find out if they did anything else, however, like promising a job in the field of study, promising a set salary level, or a position in management, etc. The strongest argument you have so far is the 100% job placement, which may be enough, all on it’s own, to qualify, but I’d try to make this case even stronger if you can find something else as well.
My son attended the Art Institute of Dallas at a time when it wasn’t an academically accredited institution which they lied about. They had the accreditation that goes with barber colleges, etc. He did qualify for aid/loans and his father and I paid our share. However this was back in the mid-nineties. Would we still be eligible to apply for loan forgiveness?
The only way that you’re going to be eligible for forgiveness is if you can prove that you qualify for a Borrower Defense to Repayment Discharge. I go through that process in the content of this post, so make sure you read through the whole thing, and pay careful attention to the BDAR eligibility, application and approvals pieces.