How to Get Student Loan Forgiveness via a Borrower Defense to Repayment Discharge

UPDATED Tuesday March 24th, 2020

The Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment Program is one of the fastest, easiest, and best ways to get rid of outstanding Federal Student Loans, without having to pay for them!

This program has been under siege by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has done everything she could to try and prevent BDAR Discharges from being approved, so please prepare yourself for an uphill battle if you do choose to pursue this path.

However, I want to assure you that the Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Program remains one of the ONLY options for many student loan borrowers, and by far the best option for those of you who went to a school that tricked you into borrowing money for their program based on lies, deceptions, false marketing practices, etc.

Should I Try for a BDAR Discharge?

The Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment Program (“BDAR”) remains the most powerful, most effective way to eliminate student loan without paying for them, but before you get too excited, please take note that BDAR discharges are only available for Federal student loans.

Also, it’s important to keep in mind that qualifying for a Borrower’s Defense Discharge is no easy task, as it requires convincing the Department of Education (DOE) that the school you attended purposefully misled you, performed some sort of illegal activity, or committed outright fraud against you, and that you only agreed to borrow money to attend the school because of their bad behavior.

With that said, the BDAR program is an excellent opportunity for discharging your debt, especially for anyone who attended one of the big for-profit schools that have recently been taken to task by the DOE, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over allegations of fraud, ill-intent and illegal misconduct.

This Guide will walk you through the entire BDAR process, covering all the basics about the program, including figuring out whether or not you may be eligible for a discharge, as well as giving you advice on how to set up your application to increase the odds that it’ll be approved.

Quick Links for Easy Navigation

To help you navigate through this Guide as quickly as possible, please use the list of links below to skip to the specific section that’s most relevant to you:

After reviewing this Guide’s content, if you have any questions about how BDAR works, then please ask them in the Comments section at the very bottom of this page.

But Before I Explain BDAR in Detail…

Let me offer you one quick word of advice – while I LOVE the Borrower’s Defense Program, and I suggest that everyone submit an application, the Department of Education has received so many of them that it’s taking up to 2 years to get a response, so sending one in and then sitting around waiting for their reply isn’t going to be your best plan of attack.

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!

News Alert: Class-Action Lawsuit Filed Against Betsy DeVos

On June 25th, 2019, over 150,000 students joined together to file a new class action lawsuit against Betsy DeVos, alleging that she is preventing them of receiving the student loan relief they deserve by personally preventing BDAR applications from being approved in a timely fashion.

For full details on the lawsuit, click here.

News Alert: $150,000,000 in New Approvals

On Thursday, December 13th, 2018 the Department of Education announced that they would be immediately approving up to $150,000,000 in Federal student loan debt discharges. This announcement was the direct response to a Federal Judge ruling from October 16th, 2018, which said that DOE had to immediately terminate all delays in BDAR approvals.

According to CNN, about half of the money will be used to discharge Corinthian Colleges loans (debt from Everest, WyoTech & Heald Colleges), and the Department of Education will begin emailing borrowers on December 14th to notify them that their debts will be cancelled within 30-90 days.

This is a great sign that positive progress is being made on Federal Student Loan Relief and it’s a great indication that the DOE will have to start doing their job again, reviewing and approving BDAR applications, and offering discharges to those borrowers who qualify.

If you’re still hesitating to submit a BDAR application because you’ve been worried it won’t get approved, I’d highly suggest that you get the paperwork submitted immediately!

Borrowers Defense Only Works Against Corrupt Schools

In the past, it’s been widely reported that BDAR could be used directly against Student Loan Servicing Companies themselves, like Navient, but apparently this is not accurate, and discharges are now only being approved for illegal behavior committed by the schools themselves.

On the bright side, many of the massive for-profit schools have found themselves wide open to Borrower’s Defense Discharges thanks to all the huge lawsuits that have been filed against them recently, which have helped to establish a legal precedent for their illegal behavior.

Because these schools have been accused of misleading, fraudulent behavior in court, and in some cases, even admitted to performing that illegal behavior, it makes it much easier to put together a compelling BDAR case against the schools, resulting in a discharge from DOE,

If you attended one of the schools that have recently been sued, or which are currently being sued, then you’ll certainly want to check out how those lawsuits could be impacting BDAR eligibility.

Please look at the following Guides I’ve created to cover the lawsuits against these big schools, as well to explain how those lawsuits may open up access to Borrower’s Defense Discharges. These Guides will walk you through the details of filing a BDAR application against each specific school:

First – Who Qualifies for a BDAR Discharge?

Per the laws about BDAR eligibility, you’ll only qualify for a discharge if you can prove that the sole reason you thought it was a good idea to take out your student loans in the first place was because the school you chose to attend “misled you, or engaged in other misconduct in violation of certain state laws”.

In other words, you have to convince the person at DOE who reviews your Borrower’s Defense application that you were tricked into borrowing money to attend the school, and that if you had had accurate information about them that you never would have agreed to borrow any money to pay for their education program.

The easiest way to do this is to demonstrate that “the school, through an act or omission, violated state law directly related to your federal student loan or to the educational services for which the loan was provided”, and the most common way that this can be done is to show evidence of false or misleading advertising.

The important thing to keep in mind is that you have to accuse the school of having done this stuff to you personally, and explain that it was the illegal activity which caused you to decide to take out student loans in the first place.

If I were filling out a BDAR application, I would make this point crystal clear, with a closing statement along the lines of:

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 believe the lies/false promises/misleading statements presented to be my the school.

Second – Which Loans Qualify for a BDAR Discharge?

At the very beginning of this Guide, I mentioned that only Federal student loans are eligible to be discharged via BDAR, but there’s even stricter guidelines about the type of Federal loans that can be discharged.

Only “Direct Loans” (from 34 CFP 685.206(c)) are eligible for a BDAR Discharge, but the Department of Education has explained that they will also allow BDAR Discharges for Federal Family Education Loans (“FFEL Loans”) or Federal Perkins Loans (“Perkins Loans”) if they’ve been consolidated into Direct Loans.

Next, eligible loans can be for programs at any type of school, be it Private, Public, For Profit or Non Profit, and they can also be for a school that is open, which has already closed down, or for a program from which you’ve already graduated from, or not yet finished.

With that in mind, the easiest way to explain which loans are eligible for a BDAR Discharge is to say that the program is only for people with Federal Direct Loans.

Third – How Do I Apply for a BDAR Discharge?

Once you’ve determined that you and your loans qualify for a Borrowers Defense Discharge, it’s time to start filling out the application.

In the old days, you had to write a legal letter that laid out the reasoning for why you deserved a BDAR Discharge, but there was no template, no specific requirements, and thus it was a complicated, confusing process.

Filing a Borrower’s Defense Application is still difficult, as it requires collecting all sorts of information, putting together evidence of the school’s misbehavior, explaining how the school’s illegal actions impacted your decision to borrow student loans, and explaining how that makes you eligible for a discharge, but fortunately, the process is now significantly less complicated.

Before, where you had a blank slate and needed to come up with the format of the application letter entirely on your own, now there’s an actual application form used for BDAR discharges, which makes everything much, much easier.

You can find the BDAR Application itself at the official Federal Student Aid website, here.

Simply navigate to the link above, choose either the online application, or the PDF application, fill it all out and submit it to the DOE at, or to U.S. Dept. of Education – Borrower Defense to Repayment, P.O. Box 1854, Monticello KY 42633.

Personally, I’d use the electronic version of the form because my assumption is that it will get a faster response. Just keep in mind that I’ve had readers comment it’s taken over 2 years to hear back from DOE on the status of their application, so don’t hold your breath waiting for their reply.

And that brings me to my next point – since it could take forever to hear back from DOE, what can you do to increase the odds of getting your application approved?

Fourth – How Can I Increase the Chances of Having My Application Approved?

Remember, the most important requirement of getting a BDAR Discharge is that you have to prove that the school’s act or omission was directly related to your loans, or to the educational services that the loan was intended to pay for, and that the school’s behavior would be considered a violation of state or Federal law.

If you can’t prove this point in your BDAR application, then it’s almost certainly going to be denied, so to increase the chances of getting your application approved, make sure to pay close and careful attention to what I’m about to say:

Getting your debt discharged is going to require PROVING that the school did something illegal to you which convinced you to borrow money for their education program. This means you have to prove not only that they did something against you, personally, but also that it impacted your decision to borrow the money. As in, had they not done that illegal thing, you would not have taken out those loans.

Your BDAR application should not be a long sob story about how the school was mean to you, didn’t return your phone calls or emails in a timely fashion, didn’t have qualified instructors, didn’t help you find a job, etc., etc., because this comes across as a simple list of complaints.

Instead, you should focus your argument on one or two illegal activities that the school committed, clearly laying out the explanation in the following format:

  1. My School Did XXX To Me
  2. XXX Convinced Me to Borrow Money
  3. Had My School Not Done XXX, I Would Not have Borrowed Money

This is a clear, concise, and factual argument which explains what the school did, how it impacted your decision to borrow money, and clearly stating that you would not have borrowed the money had the school not done something illegal to convince you that it was a good idea.

This is what you need to present to the Department of Education in your application, otherwise, they’re going to read it, view it like the 1,000,000 other complaints they’ve received from other borrowers, and deny your request for a discharge.

Fifth – What Sorts of School Behaviors Count as Illegal?

Most of the people who leave Comments on my site tell me their story, then ask if they’re eligible for a discharge.

In most cases, I honestly can’t tell, especially because most of the people leaving these comments don’t clearly explain what happened in a simple, straightforward manner, but go on a rambling complaint about how terrible their school was.

Most of the complaints I read have nothing to do with illegal behavior, but are about poor customer service, which don’t make you eligible for a Borrower’s Defense Discharge.

To help you create an application that has a better chance of being approved, here’s a list of the types of illegal activities a school could commit that would qualify you for a BDAR discharge:

    Activities Eligible for a BDAR Discharge

  • Promising you a set salary: “You could make $50,000 a year!” or “$20 an hour!”
  • Promising you a specific title: “You could get a Management-level role!” or “You could become a Director!”
  • Promising inflated job placement rates: “85% of our graduates find a job within their field!”
  • Promising inflated graduation rates: “75% of our students graduate from their program!”
  • Lying about your program’s accreditation: “Our Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice is regionally accredited” (when it isn’t)
  • Lying about credit transfers: “100% of our our credits can be transferred to other schools” (when they can’t prove that)

Remember, if you can’t show some kind of illegal activity on the behalf of your school, but are simply complaining about them, about the quality of the teachers, your ability to pay off the debt, or find a job, then you’re almost guaranteed to have your application denied.

Sixth – How Should I Present the Illegal Behavior in My Application?

If you experienced any of the promises listed above, or something similar to these promises, then you’ll want to make them the core concept of your BDAR application, focusing on these specific issues, and explaining that these were the lies which made you decide to borrow money to attend the school.

Again, don’t ruin your chances by complaining about things like poor teaches, bad customer service people, lost transcripts, missed phone calls, etc., as none of those things qualify you for a BDAR discharge.

Instead, when writing up your application, talk about the types of issued I’ve listed above, and provide as much evidence as possible for what you were told, shown or promised, including:

    Specific Details to Include in Your Application

  • What were you told? Write it down exactly as it was presented, using quotes around the statements you were told and NOT paraphrasing or generalizing anything
  • Who told you that? What is the name, rank, title, position, etc., or the person who made the claim or promise to you?
  • When did this happen? What is the exact date that the false statement, promise, claim, etc., was made to you? Mention THE date, not a period of time
  • Where did this happen? Where were you when you heard the false statement? Were you on Campus, at a Recruiting Event, at home sitting in front of your computer?
  • How was it conveyed? Were you told this over the phone, in person, via email, text message or instant message? Did you see it on TV or hear it on the Radio?
  • Finally, how did this statement impact your decision to borrow money to attend the school. Would you have taken out those loans if you hadn’t been told this?

If you structure your BDAR application like I’ve presented above, it should read logically and flow easily, providing the reviewer at the Department of Education will a well-constructed argument that clearly explains why you deserve a discharge.

Seventh – What Else Should I Include in My BDAR Application?

Even if you’re able to present a clear explanation of illegal behavior, and to tie that behavior to being the reason that you borrowed money to attend the school, that may not be enough to get a discharge approved.

Why? Because you need to present EVIDENCE along with your story, including any of the following materials that you can find:

  • Documents proving you attended the school, including something that shows which program you studied and when you were there: Transcripts, Enrollment Agreements or Registration Documents work best
  • Promotional materials from the school, especially if you can find some that support the claim you’re making about their illegal promises or claims: Try searching your old recruiting Emails for examples, Googling for things other people have already found, or looking at the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to find old versions of the school’s website, which may contain the promises you’re referencing in your application
  • Your school’s manual or course catalog, especially if it contains information about the benefits of specific courses, or again, false advertising claims and promises related to your application’s core argument

The BDAR application allows you to attach these sorts of documents to your official submission, and as I said above, these sorts of things aren’t necessarily required, but will go a long way toward helping your cause of getting your application approved.

These will be especially powerful if you can provide written or photographic evidence of the school’s false promises, claims, etc., as that is basically first-hand evidence of their wrongdoing, and much more powerful than simply explaining what you were told, heard, or saw.

Should I Put My Loans Into Forbearance/Stopped Collections Status?

While you’re filling out your BDAR application, you’ll have the chance to check a box on the application that temporarily pauses repayments on your debt while you wait for the Department of Education to review your application.

This can happen in two ways: for loans in active repayment, they’ll be put into Forbearance. For loans that have Defaulted, they’ll be put in “stopped collections status”.

This is a huge benefit to anyone who thinks they’re going to get an approval because most BDAR approvals don’t offer refunds for payments already made, but simply wipe out the remaining debt you still owe.

Basically, by putting your loans into Forbearance, you get to stop paying on them while you wait for DOE to review your case, which could end up saving considerable sums of money since it may take them several years to finish their analysis of your application.

However, keep in mind that your loans will continue to accrue interest during this time period, even if you have subsidized loans, and that if your BDAR application is approved, the interest accumulated will be added to the amount you owe before your loan is discharged.

Finally, even if you do not opt to have your loans placed in forbearance or stopped collection status, DOE will do it for you anyway. They’ll put any ED-held loans into forbearance and they’ll ask for a forbearance and debt collection to stop for any commercially held FFEL loans as well.

In fact, if you have 3 Federal loans, and you’re only applying for BDAR on 1 of them, DOE is going to place all 3 into forbearance or stopped collection status, automatically.

There’s a whole section covering Forbearance issues and questions on the Government’s official BDAR Guidelines page, which I would definitely recommend that you review. You can find it here.

What Happens if My BDAR Application is Approved?

If your application gets approved, then the first to consider is that you may get a full or partial discharge.

If you get a partial discharge, you’ll still be responsible for making payments on any amount of money that wasn’t discharged, including interest that accumulated on your debt.

Also, when the forbearance or stopped collections period on any of you other Federal student loans ends, you will need to start making payments on them again, and paying off any interest that accrued while they were paused.

Whatever is actually discharged will disappear forever, but… you’ll have to claim the discharged amount as income on your annual tax return, and pay taxes on it!

Borrower’s Defense Forgiveness & Taxable Income Laws

One thing you need to keep in mind about getting a Borrower’s Defense Discharge is that the eventual student loan forgiveness benefit you receive will have to be counted as taxable income on your IRS filings the year that you receive it.

And that’s a big deal, because it could mean you’ll end up with a much higher tax bill than you were expecting to face.

For specific details on how forgiveness and taxes work, please visit my page about Student Loan Forgiveness Benefits and Taxable Income Laws, but for now, here’s a quick example to give you an idea of what will happen:

Let’s say your Borrower’s Defense Application is approved, and you get $10,000 in student loans forgiven. The year you have that debt forgiven, you’ll now have to list the $10,000 as taxable income on your IRS tax return, meaning you’ll have to claim that $10,000 as income, and you’ll need to pay income taxes on that amount.

If you’re paying 25% income taxes, you’d now owe an additional $2,500 to the IRS (on top of whatever else you have to pay for the year).

This is a big deal, because unlike student loan payments which are automatically stretched out over many years, the IRS typically wants to be paid all at once.

The Coming Student Loan Forgiveness Taxpocalypse

Most people who talk about student loan forgiveness benefits and even the Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Program fail to mention this important part of the process!

In fact, the official Borrower’s Defense Guide on doesn’t even mention anything about the taxable income rules, but the reality is that a lot of people are going to end up with less student loan debt and way more IRS tax debt.

As a response to what I see as a looming crisis, I’ve created an entirely new website called Forget Tax Debt, where I provide the same kind of advice I offer here, except that I focus on taxes instead of student loans.

If you have any tax-related problems, you’ll definitely want to check out Forget Tax Debt, where I go through all sorts of complicated tax programs in extreme detail, offering advice on things like How to Apply to the IRS Fresh Start Program, How to File and Pay IRS Back Taxes, and How to Qualify for Tax Debt Forgiveness or an IRS Tax Debt Settlement.

What Happens if My BDAR Application is Denied?

If your application gets denied, then the forbearance or stopped collections period will end and you’ll immediately become responsible again for making monthly payments on the debt.

Plus, you’ll need to pay for the interest that accrued while your loans were in forbearance, or while your defaulted loans were in stopped collections.

The Class-Action Lawsuit Against Betsy DeVos

On June 25th, 2016, a new class-action lawsuit was launched against Betsy DeVos, alleging that she was preventing over 150,000 former students of for-profit colleges from receiving the student loan forgiveness benefits they are legally entitled to via BDAR.

This lawsuit is being handled by Harvard Law School’s Project on Predatory Student Lending and Housing & Economic Rights Advocates, and was initiated against DeVos directly, since she’s the person responsible for preventing DOE from issuing timely responses to BDAR applications.

Even though it seems a little ridiculous to be suing the head of the Department of Education, I think this is exactly what’s needed, as last year a Federal ruled that DeVos’ delay in approving BDAR applications was unlawful, and that DOE needed to start issuing approvals (or denials) immediately, but nothing has changed as a result of that ruling.

People are still waiting several years to get any sort of reply on their BDAR applications, and based on reader comments, the average wait time sounds like it’s hovering around 2.5 – 3 years at this point in time, which is obviously far too long for people facing serious financial distress.

There’s really no telling how this lawsuit may or may not help resolve the BDAR deadlock, but I think it’s an important one to be tracking and supporting. For full details on the lawsuit, visit it’s official page on the Project for Predatory Student Lending and Housing here: Sweet v. DeVos.

What Should I Do?

My advice is that anyone who thinks they have even a shot in hell at getting a BDAR discharge approved should apply for one.

But take this process seriously, do not lie or even exaggerate any claims, and make sure that you follow my instructions above to present a clear, concise, and compelling argument for why your debt deserves to be discharged.

And remember, jumping into the defense against repayment pool without first testing the waters by researching the opportunity in detail is likely to lead to disappointment, and potential financial ruin.

Be careful about how you proceed with your application, as no one really knows how likely you are to receive a discharge.

Honestly, up to now, very few Borrowers Defense to Repayment applications have been approved, so I’m still not entirely sure if this is a great debt forgiveness program, or a niche opportunity that only a few people will get to take advantage of.

If You’re Going to Apply, Do it Now!

Not only are my readers reporting that it can take over two years to hear back from the DOE on submitted Borrower’s Defense claims, but we’re also facing an imminent threat from Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education, who wants to kill the program completely.

In July of 2017, Secretary DeVos attempted to “freeze” the Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment Discharge Program, claiming that the rules created “a muddled process that’s unfair to students and schools”, but we all know that this is a complete lie, as the process is extremely straightforward.

What Betsy DeVos is really trying to do here is to protect her friends and family members who work for corrupt For-Profit Schools and literally evil Student Loan Servicing Companies who stand to lose billions of dollars when all of these immoral student loans end up getting discharged.

She attacked BDAR again in the Summer of 2018 by proposing new regulations that sought to make things even harder for borrowers to get a BDAR approval.

Under her proposed new standards, qualifying for an approved BDAR discharge would require that borrower’s prove the school or lender did something illegal with “known falsity, intent to deceive, or reckless disregard for the truth”, whereas the current rules only required illegal or fraudulent activity, without any apparent motive.

Furthermore, the new proposed standards tried to outlaw any group claims (like class action lawsuits), and attempted to make it illegal to pursue a Borrower’s Defense Claim without first defaulting on the debt, which was a huge risk to those borrowers in good standing who didn’t want to “strategically” default.

If You’re At All Unsure – Keep Making Monthly Payments!

One thing to keep in mind is that you really shouldn’t simply give up on paying back your student loans at the time you submit your Defense to Repayment application.

Because while Department of Education will place your student loans into forbearance from the very moment that they receive your application, those loans will continue to generate interest even as they’re paused as DOE works on investigating your claim.

At the very least, you should consider making monthly payments on those loans in forbearance or stopped collections in the amount of interest that they’re accumulating so that you can prevent the debt from ballooning to out of control levels should your application be denied.

My advice is to keep making your monthly payments until you’ve received an official, written notice from the Department of Education that your loans are being discharged.

Why Did Borrowers Defense Become Popular all of the Sudden?

It’s kind of funny that this little legal provision from way back in 1965 is only now starting to receive so much attention, but that’s happening for one very good reason.

The now defunct Corinthian Colleges, notorious day-time advertiser and parent company of the largest for-profit schools chain in the United States, home to Everest, Heald and WyoTech, is the reason for this provision’s newfound popularity.

When Corinthian collapsed under the weight of its own corruption (and the added pressure placed on it by a series of Federal investigations for fraud and deceptive business practices), a huge portion of it’s thousands of students found themselves between a rock and a hard place.

These were students who had racked up tens of thousands of dollars in debt, but who now had zero chance of receiving a diploma that would help them to land jobs capable of providing income streams to pay that debt back.

These were students who had sunk thousands of hours, and tens of thousands of dollars, into education programs that would never lead to degrees of any sort.

But these students decided to do something about their unique situation, and they accomplished something that no previous generation of debt-saddled college kids had managed to accomplish: they went on strike, publicly swearing to refuse to pay back their debt, and the media covered their efforts!

The Birth of the Student Loan Debt Strikers

Initially called The Corinthian 15, this group of student loan strikers received a tremendous amount of media attention, raising enough awareness for their problem that the entire country began to take notice of what was going on, and earning enough sympathy to get a federal hearing scheduled with the Department of Education.

Fortunately, DOE sided with the debt strikers, and on June 8th, 2015, announced that they would support the tens of thousands of students caught up in the collapse of Corinthian Colleges.

But the best part of the whole deal was that the Department of Education was serious about their promise to help those now saddled with excessive student loan debt, as they publicly affirmed that those students would be able to qualify for a comprehensive student loan forgiveness program, governed by the old 1965 defense against repayment provision.

Forgiveness Expands Outside the Corinthian System

The great news for those of you who did not attend a Corinthian-affiliated school is that it’s not the only case under which defense against repayment may be invoked.

In fact, the Department of Education itself made clear that other schools (especially those operating in the for-profit sector), would also be covered under the conditions of the provision.

Along those lines, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau went to the mat on behalf of begrudged students by filing a lawsuit against the for-profit ITT schools, stating that ITT has “exploited its students and pushed them into high-cost private student loans that were very likely to end in default.”

And that’s serious business, because while you may not know anyone who attended an ITT school, this massive for-profit educator enrolls about 70,000 students per year (far more than most of the big schools you ARE familiar with).

That single suit seems to have opened the floodgates for others seeking to qualify under the defense to repayment provision, encouraging millions of other students who now feel like it may be possible to get out of paying back their student loans.

For Questions About the BDAR System

If you’re still having trouble understanding how the Borrower’s Defense Program works, or if you’re worried about making a mistake on your application form, then I recommend that you call the Federal Government’s Official Borrower’s Defense Hotline at 1-855-279-6207.

This hotline has representatives available to walk you through the defense to repayment process on weekdays from 8:00am to 8:00pm EST, and it’s entirely free.

For General Questions About Student Loan Debt

If you have other questions about student loans, then the good news is that I’m here to help, and that my website probably has a Guide dedicated to whatever you’re trying to figure out.

If you need Relief from Federal Student Loans, you’ll want to review my Guides on Federal Student Loan Forgiveness BenefitsFederal Student Loan Bankruptcy Discharges, Federal Student Loan Delinquency & Default, The Federal Student Loan Rehabilitation Program, and my Guide to Stopping a Federal Student Loan Wage Garnishment.

And if you need Help with Private Student Loans, I would highly advise reviewing my pages on Private Student Loan Forgiveness OptionsPrivate Student Loan Consolidation Programs, Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Discharges and Private Student Loan Default Help.

If you can’t find your answers on those pages, and you don’t want to call the Government helpline, then please feel free to ask anything you’d like in the comments section below.

I’ll do my best to get you a response within a day or two.


I created this Guide using information from a variety of websites, including:

  • The Official Federal Student Aid Guide to Borrower’s Defense –
  • The Official Website for the Borrower’s Defense Program –
  • NAPSA – What You Need to Know About Borrower Defense –
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education – Proposed Changes in BDAR Rules –
  • Lexology – BDAR: The Saga Continues –
  • NY Times – Borrowers Face Hazy Path as BDAR Stalls Under Betsy DeVos –

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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.


Tim's experience struggling with crushing student loan debt led him to create the website Forget Student Loan Debt in 2011, where he offers advice, tips and tricks for paying off student loans as quickly and affordably as possible.