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:
- Who Qualifies for a BDAR Discharge?
- Which Loans Qualify for a BDAR Discharge?
- How Do I Apply for a BDAR Discharge?
- How Can I Increase the Chances of Having My Application Approved?
- What Sorts of School Behaviors Count as Illegal?
- How Should I Present the Illegal Behavior in My Application?
- What Else Should I Include in My Application?
- Should I Put My Loans Into Forbearance/Stopped Collections Status?
- What Happens if My BDAR Application is Approved?
- What Happens if My BDAR Application is Denied?
- The Class Action Lawsuit Against Betsy DeVos
- What Should I Do?
- Where Can I Ask Questions About BDAR?
- Where Can I Ask Questions About Other Student Loan Topics?
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:
- The University of Phoenix Lawsuit
- The Art Institute Lawsuits
- The DeVry Lawsuit
- The Westwood College Lawsuit
- The Walden University Lawsuit
- The Capella University Lawsuit
- The ITT Tech Lawsuit
- The Corinthian Colleges Lawsuit
- The Everest College Lawsuit
- The Heald College Lawsuit
- The WyoTech Lawsuit
- The Le Cordon Bleu Lawsuit
- The Kaplan University Lawsuit
- The Anthem College Lawsuit
- The Brown Mackie College Lawsuit
- Full Sail University & BDAR Discharges
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 BorrowerDefense@ed.gov, 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:
- My School Did XXX To Me
- XXX Convinced Me to Borrow Money
- 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 studentaid.ed.gov 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 Benefits, Federal 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 Options, Private 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 – https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/borrower-defense
- The Official Website for the Borrower’s Defense Program – https://borrowerdischarge.ed.gov/s/?language=en_US
- NAPSA – What You Need to Know About Borrower Defense – https://www.naspa.org/rpi/posts/what-you-need-to-know-about-borrower-defense-to-repayment
- The Chronicle of Higher Education – Proposed Changes in BDAR Rules – https://www.chronicle.com/article/Proposed-Changes-in/244017
- Lexology – BDAR: The Saga Continues – https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=a0bf43c8-969a-4d6c-b3ae-222c16507c80
- NY Times – Borrowers Face Hazy Path as BDAR Stalls Under Betsy DeVos – https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/11/business/student-loans-betsy-devos.html
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hi, i attended AI at the OC, I busted my ass and payed off the loan by taking out other loans, is there a way to get reimbursed for the loans that I had to take out tied to the “education” i received at the school?
Did you read my page on the Art Institutes Student Loan Forgiveness Program?
Yes, but I wasnt sure how I could apply because unforunately I already paid off the loan. Is there any type of refund for loans that were already paid, and not just forgiveness for a remaining debt?
It’s nearly impossible to get a refund. They’re only being offered under VERY strict circumstances and I do not think you will qualify for getting any money back. Sorry!
I too, attended the Art Institute from about 2002-2005. Around the time of graduating, students would tell me the school considered it a job gotten due to school if it was McDonalds. That their placement rate was horrid.
I had always thought the AI was the best of the best. Man was I wrong.
As you probably know, they’ve been sued a few times now and some students have had their debt relieved as far as I know, but not many. It was said they falsified promises. Well, I never thought getting a job could be promised from any school, so I never thought about that. But now I am somewhat disabled, applied for disability due to Lyme disease and quite a few other things that were found. I’m on a debt repayment program that I pay 0 on now b/c my income is in the toilet b/c of my health—about 600/year. But before I got ill, I had a very hard time finding work. And the schools stops helping you after 6 months. And they are now closed.
So I dont really know what to do. I’ve signed petitions for the lawsuit. But this was long ago…I have no written proof. Just no job, no money and illness. And I feel very let down by the 25k I spent on a supposed ‘education’. I think my loans were federal.
Also, my borrower, Navient, is also being sued!
After a major hurricane came through wiping internet and cell towers I was unable to work on my AIU online classes I sent documents of proof. Originally told they could do a temp hold then when I was unable to regain service and was seeking other service providers I reached out regarding the continued problem of finding service and told that I forfeited all aid and I would have to reapply. I lost and owe money that was taken.
Oh My God I though I was alone. My story is with Kaplan University. Their advisors lie to me, saying that a high school diploma was not neccesary to study at kaplan. And they knowing I was not a qualifying student for loan they lie saying “you don’t need it” after a year I was block and have delinquent 17,000 dollars. But, I don’t know how to prove that because it was phone calls. Now they accused me that I said that I have Diploma. That was not true.
Document what was said, when they said it, who said it, and how it impacted your decision to borrow money. Document, document, document.
Where do I obtain an application to apply for the borrows defense?
Did you try Googling “Borrowers Defense Application”? Here.
What if I have a private student loan and I am NOT an American Citizen? Had to leave America because I could not find a job and now it’s my cosigner who is paying for my student loan. Is there any way you can help me out? Thank you so much.
Yeah, it’s going to be tough. Your cosigner is basically screwed…
My husband has a lot of documentation, transcripts course catalogs from 2008-2010 (thank God he is a pack rat) so I still need to sift through and find as much proof as possible. My specific question is he has emails where someone from ITT is helping him find a job he applied for so many jobs at the direction of that ITT tech (through emails) but none of them panned out. Is that something I can use as proof? Also I was thinking of researching the jobs he applied for at itt techs recommendation and see if any those jobs even need a 2 year or technical degree. Do you think that is considered fraud? Not being able to find him a job and the jobs suggested are jobs that dont require a specific degree?
Um, not really. But I bet if you read my Guide on ITT Tech Forgiveness you’d be able to come up with some better ammunition for a BDAR discharge.
Hey Tim. First off, thank you for making this site. your hard work is appreciated. I attended The Art Institute from 2008-2010 and graduated with a degree in culinary arts. The reality of my situation set in pretty hard after graduation when i realized that it would be at the very least a couple of years before I would be making the wages, or be in a the types of positions that the intake person had mentioned during my “interview”. The thing is, that this was 12 years ago. I have no idea what this persons name was nor do I have any proof of the statements that led me to believe my subsequent federal and later private loans were a good idea.
So, I suppose my question is this. How do i go about finding this information? Do i really need a person and place as you mentioned? Would paying $15 for my transcripts tell me this?
Thank you for your time,
Yeah, so you’re just going to have to come up with as much info as you can. Try to include everything you CAN recall in your application and hope for the best.
I’ve had to use 2 different loan companies to pay off my loans. The U.S. Army National Guard would not begin paying my student loans back in a timely manner according to my contract. I was paying the interest on time and I almost hit the 36 months and the National Guard started garnishing my check for my bonus money which the accumulated amount was $12,500, My Guaranteed Student Loan Program, (GSLP) was $50,000 because my first (GSLP) of $20,000 had a bad control number. After I fought for 9 years to get my loan repaid and I had a written a Congressional Investigation and I wrote to the Pentagon about the (GSLP). The National Guard had finally paid to the loan company in the amount of $31,000 and this was taxed and $20,000 of the loan was paid. I owed about this much by then. I was running out of options of deferring the loan and hardship based on my wages. I used a lower interest rate company to pay off the loan. I still owed the money but now another company has my loan. I was offered a even better loan adjustment with another company as long as I pay for the next 10 years I will be paying about $17,000 and the rest forgiven. So if another company has been hired how can the loan be forgiven. Can I still do the loan forgiveness if the University of Phoenix pays the money I owe? I mean now that its not under their subsidized and unsubsidized federal loan company.
Yeah, military benefits are super hard to deal with once things go sideways…
It sounds like you’re confused about how your situation works though. I think you may need to talk to your loan servicer or hire an attorney, because if what you’ve said is accurate, your case is more complicated than the usual one.
Tim: I hope you can help me decide if I have a case. My son attended Hallmark Institute of Photography, which was a 10 month accelerated program of study for photography that awarded a certificate. He graduated in 2013. The school closed in 2016, stating “financial difficulties,” but there was much more to it, as you will read below.
Among the promises that ended up being lies to get students to enroll were job placements after graduating, along with promises of internships. They said and listed in their literature that 40% of the coursework would be dedicated to the business and marketing of photography, but only one course was actually taught pertaining to the business side of the photography. They said that he would have a “business plan” upon leaving the school, which never happened and they never helped him find internships or employment. In fact, the school’s reputation hindered him from gaining employment in the photography business. Hallmark is now closed and in an article in PDNPULSE they state that financial difficulties and “Gainful Employment” regulations from the Department of Education were among the reasons they closed. In my opinion, Hallmark could no longer exist if they couldn’t lie to their students about the employment outlook for their graduates and that they would help their students after graduation to find employment. Due to the negative reputation of the school, my son was never able to gain employment as a photographer.
The school misled us by saying they were in good standing, when in fact they were in financial trouble due to the President and owner of the school, George J. Rosa III, diverting school funds for his own personal use, and then covering up the theft by recording the outlays as business expenses on the school’s books (see PNDPULSE article March 20, 2014). George J. Rosa III pled guilty on March 11, 2014 to charges of bank fraud and tax evasion, according to a report by Springfield, Massachusetts, TV station WWLP. In addition, the Vice President of Hallmark Institute of Photography, Gregory Olchowski, was sentenced to 6 months in prison for bank fraud, and five years for tax fraud in February of 2014.
All of the financial and legal troubles were known in 2009, three years before my son applied to the school. However, this was never disclosed to us. The school was in financial trouble when President Rosa borrowed money to fund school projects from People’s United Bank (PUB). Evidently, the bank took control of the school in 2009 due to the school defaulting on the loans. Later the bank sold Hallmark to Premier Education Group in Philadelphia. However, even after all of President Rosa’s mishandling of the money, Premier still kept him on as president of the school until 2012, which was the year my son began attending Hallmark.
President Rosa was sued by PUB for the $2.2 million debt to the bank and in the lawsuit, the bank alleged that President Rosa kept two sets of books at Hallmark Institute to hide assets from the bank and divert money for his personal use. Rosa also had federal charges against him which were criminal charges.
Would you be so kind as to let us know if we have a good case for relief of our Parent Plus loans, and do you think we can write our own letter based on these facts, or should we get help writing our letter?
Take a look at my Guide to Parent PLUS Loan Forgiveness, which will help you figure out whether or not you’ll qualify for benefits here. Parent PLUS Loans are very, very difficult to discharge, but you MAY be eligible for something.
Im sure you seen the new Regulations. Would you put your thoughts into it?
Yeah, so there have been all sorts of lawsuits against Betsy DeVos trying to get approvals going again, but she keeps blocking them.
I have a question. I went to school in the 90’s. I had taken general courses and a Community College for a year and then left school. I ended up going to a Fine Arts school for a year and had my first son. I decided that fine arts wouldn’t pay the bills and went back to the Community College to pursuit a Design Degree.
I went for 6 semesters straight earning Dean List or Presidents List status each semester. I was pursuing an Associates of Design, Desktop Publishing Certificate and a Interactive Media Certificate the whole 6 semesters. Like i said my grade-point was 3.5-4 every semester. Starting semester 7, being halfway through all the programs, I applied for student loans for the upcoming year and they told me they would not allow me to receive them because of accrued credit hours. I had 2-3 instructors write letters to the board urging them to allow me to have the student loans I required to continue the program. They even went in front of the board to request I was allowed to continue. The board refused me and did not allow me anymore student loans to finish my Degree or Certificates. They said I would be required to go to a 4 year college in order to receive the student loans I needed to get my degree.
I am not sure if everything would transfer to the State College and I had no interest in a 4 year degree. Do I have anything to stand on with the school I was attending not allowing the student loan to finish my degrees and certificates? I ended up leaving school and never getting the degree I was pursuing, thus the student loans I had taken out for my education was a mute point and a waste of money. I couldn’t afford to go the the 4 year college and accrue that much more student debt. Do I have ground to stand on for a BDAR? I feel like I got shafted. Over the years through hardship and divorce my 21K I borrowed is now 36K and I am having trouble making the minimum payment that Navient is asking of me.
Are you talking about Federal Student Loans, or Private Loans? Who was denying your request for loans?
This isn’t a typical story for a BDAR Discharge – it doesn’t sound like you were defrauded, but you might still be eligible.
Hey Tim I was pressured into attending UOP back in 2010, I’m interested in BDAR however most of the falsehoods were conveyed to me in phone conversations. I was inquiring about IT certs as I knew nothing about the industry at the time and they assured me their degree was just as good (it’s not). They puffed me up saying they had job placement services, telling me the degree would give me the skills I needed to break into the industry (it didn’t).
I can tell you as an experienced IT professional now that they grossly mislead me and took advantage of my naivety. I could show you through their coursework for their “Associate of Arts with a concentration in Information Technology” I can tell you now this degree is a steaming pile of shit and I could have accomplished infinitely more with a couple thousand dollars worth of certs.
I even had one UoP guy tell me “the bad thing about certs is that you have to pay for them out of pocket” still have the email haha. I’m looking for proof like you said form old websites but I can’t seem to find anything anywhere. I only have a couple email tidbits that allude but don’t outright prove the things I need. What can I do? I don’t want to blow my shot willy nilly.
Job placement promises are definitely an issue, but taking advantage of you being naive is NOT the sort of thing that will qualify you for a discharge. You need to focus on the sorts of issues I’ve outlined in my Guide, talking about what the school did that was illegal, misleading, fraud, etc., and using those as the arguments for why you deserve a BDAR discharge.
hi Tim I submitted my application almost 1 year ago. It is still under review. I just wanted to know if you knew how long the review process usually takes. i know the department has not set a timeline. which is is kind of ridiculous lol. another question I had was if you knew any other way i can possibly speed up my application through legal help or any other options. thank you ! awesome post!
I’ve heard of people waiting OVER TWO YEARS to get a response from the Department of Education, so you’ve still got quite a while to go if that wait time has become the average. Do not hold you breath waiting on their response, and make sure that you investigate other alternatives to BDAR Discharges as well, because Betsy DeVos and the DOE have clamped down on the program and are trying to reject as many applications as possible.
Hello Dayana and Tim.
This is some really good information. I have been waiting over two years for mine. I call them about every other month I always get the same answer its being reviewed you should hear something anytime. Uggg So frustrating. If you have any tips to speed it along please let me know. I feel like my life is on limbo till I get this taken care of. Thank you. Jeri
Well, on the bright side… Harvard’s Project on Predatory Student Lending just launched a massive Class Action Lawsuit against Betsy DeVos, and this could definitely help force her hand and get DOE to start issuing approvals. It may be a while until that happens, but at least things are happening here that will make things better over the long-run. You ARE in limbo, but so are about 160,000 other people. Hang in there!
Thank you so much! I have looked at several ways to try to get help with my federal loans from Brown Mackie College’s lawsuit. I didn’t see this option until I read your article. Easy to fill out and we’ll see how it goes!
Good luck Dustin!
Hopefully you can help, Dowling College (NY) was closed in 2016. Do you have any idea or recommendations where I could go to find copies of my tuition bill ? I am going in circles trying to find the tuition bills. My student loans amounts do not correlate with the actual tuition costs. There is about 8K excess that I have no clue where those funds went. I did not catch this discrepancy till recently, as I gathering and researching proof for my BDAR. Thank you so much for your help.
I don’t know of any way to get a copy from a specific school. It’s going to be a different process for every institution, I’m sure. I would try looking back through email records if you were receiving things electronically. Maybe get in touch with your student loan servicing company and ask them to provide it for you. They may be able to dig it up.
I attended ITT Tech from 2006 to 2008. I applied for a Pell grant and other government loans. I was awarded a few pell grants but never received any money for my living expenses or transportation. All of the grant money went towards old books. Not to mention the federal loans that I took out for tuition. If the federal loans was meant to pay the teachers then why would ITT tech hire a teacher who was not qualified to teach the class. Because I worked in a certain field that the instructor had no experience or never worked in…when found out that I worked in that field he asked me to teach the class for that day as it the class subject was related to the field that I worked in. ITT tech business office would call me in the office to have me to sign paperwork regarding my tuition but never explaining to me what I was signing as it related to my tuition. I feel ITT mislead me on so many levels.
Unfortunately I don’t think your explanations constitute Fraud, just a bad product. I would review the Guide again to see the sorts of things that actually prove FRAUD, and try to focus on those in your application. You can include some of this stuff too, but if this is all you write about, I don’t think you’ll get approved for a discharge.
If you went to ITT you can join the class action lawsuit against them. https://predatorystudentlending.org/cases/itt/former-itt-students/
Submit the Borrower Defense to Repayment form to the Department of Education right now. Because of the class action lawsuit against them you have a legitimate claim.
Tim, I’m happy to find your site. It was everything I needed in submitting the Borrower Defense application.
My story is actually very different than what you’re used to. I attended the University of Queensland, a public university in Australia, for medical school. They had this new program in effect since 2008 where they were partnered with a hospital in New Orleans called Ochsner to send their American students to for their clinical rotations. They inflated their USMLE pass rate and residency match rate (synonymous to job placement rate) to attract more students to join their program that costs nearly half a million dollars to complete. They do not include students that were dismissed or dropped out in the total. They also do not include the students that could not apply because they did not receive the adequate preparation for the USMLE to take them as advertised to us. I was one of those students that did not have the preparation needed to take the exams. A thorough medical education is also comprised of substantial, high-quality research opportunities that UQ advertised and was nonexistent up until 2018 when I departed.
UQ and/or Ochsner were not publicly reporting the high number of unemployed graduates of their program, but Ochsner felt guilty enough about their deception that they began offering jobs in research specifically designed for graduates of the program. I accepted this job, believing it would be an opportunity for me to prepare for the USMLE while continuing my relationship with Ochsner. However, it became clear within 6 months that these jobs were meant for Ochsner to squeeze further profit off of the UQ graduates by paying them a fraction of the salary they’d pay anyone else to run clinical studies that are lucrative for providers.
Not only this, I noticed that there was significant discrimination occurring at Ochsner as a student, which was only more pronounced when I was working in research. When I reported it, Ochsner retaliated. The retaliation was so severe that even over a year later, I’m having to regularly go to therapy to learn how the cope with the consequences I’ve faced as a direct result of Ochsner’s illegal actions.
I know that this last piece is the job for the EEOC, but I feel more than just defrauded for the false advertising. UQ and Ochsner robbed me of a small fortune in borrowed federal money and then kicked me while I was down on top of that. University of Queensland should not have access to such a large amount of federal funds without demonstrating their ability to responsibly deliver what they have advertised. It is clear to me that they have partnered with Ochsner to literally milk the unregulated US federal loan market for all the US Department of Education has without the need to even respect their current and former students.
Wow – now that’s a new one to me! I don’t run into many stories from Medical Schools or even any sort of Postgraduate or Professional Schools trying to pull the same scams as the Undergraduate For-Profits, but this definitely sounds like a compelling case for a Borrower’s Defense Discharge.
I think the inflated pass rates and residency match rates will carry the day for you. I don’t think anything about that poor job placement will matter. I’d probably even consider just leaving that part out, because it doesn’t sound like “Fraud”, more like a low-paying, bad job.
Discrimination isn’t going to make a difference either for BDAR, but it MAY open them up to a traditional lawsuit, so I might consider consulting with an attorney or at least contacting someone like the ACLU to see if they’d be willing to take up your case. It’s possible this would be a good alternative route to getting restitution.
I agree with you if what you’ve said is accurate, the school deserves to be punished. I think you’re headed the right direction and I want to thank you for sharing your story with us here! It was one of the clearest accounts I’ve read in a while, so I think you’ve got a great shot at finding the pot of the gold at the end of the rainbow. Good luck!
In December of 2008 I did a yahoo search for, “online schools to become a registered dietitian.” The first advertisement to come up was for Kaplan University. I called and spoke to an admissions counselor (Qwame Martin) expressing my interest to become a registered dietician. Not only did he tell me it was possible, he overinflated high graduation rates and job placement/internship possibilities. Shortly after our conversation the father- Carl Winslow (Reginald VelJognson from “Family Matters,” came across my tv promoting the school. I was hooked and started attending school at Kaplan the next month. A year later, after taking 9 classes I spoke to an academic advisor with the school in regard to what other students who wanted to be registered dietitians were doing for internships. That was the moment it all came crashing down! She told me that the school wasn’t accredited by the ADA: American Dietics Association. I then immediately withdrew from the school. I pretended that the loans and school didn’t exist after reading of a class action lawsuit against the now defunct University. Now, 10 years later my wages are being garnished without warning. Since my address wasn’t updated I received nothing in the mail.
It’s good that you wrote down all these details! These will DEFINITELY help with a Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Application.
Look at my Guide to Stopping Student Loan Wage Garnishments, and my Guide to the Federal Student Loan Rehabilitation Program as well. You might also want to check out my page on Federal Student Loan Defaults, because there’s some good details there that may help.
Finally, visit my page on Kaplan College Student Loan Forgiveness, where you will find really specific instructions on eliminating your debt.
I appreciate all of the time and effort you have put into this page. I don’t feel I have enough solid evidence to prove how the college I attended took advantage of my financial ignorance.
However, feelings aside, I do have substantial proof of the wrongdoings I have incurred with SallieMae and Navient. I can prove that I was steered into forbearance on a specific date in 2010 when I called in, for the second time, and explained how I couldn’t afford to make payments. Sallie Mae’s phone representative, whom I have the name of, omitted pertinent information about the Income Based Repayment plan that I would have qualified for. I confirmed this error, recently in two different phone calls to Navient. I have the dates, times and names of the representatives I spoke with.
I also can prove misallocated payments. I can prove how a 1 month forbearance pushed my payoff date back 3 years. When I caught the error, they corrected it. I have the paperwork saved from before they corrected the error, and after. I also have phone conversations written down.
I can prove that when I was finally aware of the IBR plan, after several forbearances, it was denied. I had logged into my account on the Navient website and saw that no payment was due and thought it meant the IBR was approved. They had placed me in a forbearance, when I noticed there was a payment due, 3 months later – I called in and found out the IBR was denied because my tax return wasn’t signed. The representative who told me to submit a copy of my tax return failed to tell me it needed to be signed. Once I signed it and resubmitted – it was approved. The representative put in her notes that it was denied, because it was an “old document” It wasn’t old, it just wasn’t signed.
These are just a few instances. I have collected 4 – 3inch binders of information pertinent to my situation. I have correspondence and emails dating back to 2006 when my loans were originated.
I don’t believe IBAR would apply to this circumstance. I have thought to submit a complaint to the Illinois Attorney General. However, I didn’t know if that would be the best avenue for me to take. I have started drafting a complaint. However, I need to review and take the “feelings” out and stick to the facts. Do you have a guide for making a formal complaint against Navient?
Can you please advise what you feel my next steps should be?
For now – there’s no way to qualify for a Borrower’s Defense Discharge against the Servicing Companies – unfortunately. You may be stuck hanging tight and waiting for some of the lawsuits against them to get resolved. Both SallieMae and Navient are under fire and it’s possible there will be a huge settlement with them, but that’s becoming less and less likely, especially if Trump and Betsy DeVos remain in power through 2024!
I would look harder at coming up with things that can help you file BDAR against the school.
Thank you for this website……you are such an awesome person to help guide others through this AI etc process………As a early 2000’s AI Grad I can tell you firsthand how worthless this AI degree is….I say that my AI degree MOCKS me from the wall.
I became an AI activist way way back in 2001 and through my last year graduating, still not knowing how to ‘do animation’ when I graduated and nobody cared, I was an AI # 6_____THIS student number indicted that you were just a sale to AI and nothing else…..
I challenged everything AI said and promised……..I went to Siggraph several times in the early 2000’s – the annual animation festival and met with several employers there, including the biggest names in animation companies etc who basically said, drop out of AI and go to a “real animation college”. These comments destroyed me – the animation employers at Siggraph used to accept demo reels and animation resumes BUT anything or anyone who had AI was immediately filed vertically into the bin or handed back to me,….several key people told in the arts/animation industry told me that this AI schooling thing would destroy and it was destroying the animation market…..;and would for years and years to come. No one wanted to hire AI graduates who were trained on old animation softwares, and taught incorrectly how to animate.
How could one expect 25 AI animation graduates each quarter to find work in the animation field…? . My school alone in Chicago would graduate over 100 animation student a year and of them, 1 or 2 found work in the “arts” or animation field. the Rest of us went to work for retail stores, or were animation arts degree unemployable, or went back to other schools to try to salvage the AI degree and then told, oh NONE or ALL of your AI college work is transferable.
SO, after Siggraph I returned to my AI ‘school’ not good and GD angry and yet deflated…….I then challenged everything and everyone working for AI. Except for a few “good’ teachers……each class I took propelled me deeper and deeper into despair…………when I started 3D Studio Max we had to build the body from each finger connecting to the hand/arm etc to build the entire body…….a year later 3D Studio Max had a new update that you could just automatically create your own body in Max and add your ‘skin” or character onto it………BUT the school would not reteach the older students the new technology…so we had to learn it on our own, or on Saturdays and late nights at AI. again on our own to apply that new knowledge to what we had learned.
Several AI people that I challenged argued with me and even tried to stop my comments or discussions especially (CAREER SERVICES -the BIGGEST BS DEPT EVER CREATED AT AI) when I started talking to everyone, mostly fellow AI ers…. about Siggraph and what the employers told me to my face……..some AI people listened others stayed in their own little AI dreamworlds……..I understand….they were in denial…but I tried to help others, especially from NOT ENROLLING or going to AI……..I even brought 10 people with me to the next Siggraph and most of them learned that I was telling the truth and they were told exactly and quite rudely to “fuck off’ and that none of them even if they were talented animators, none of them would be hired with AI on their resumes. Several guys dropped out of AI, I was shocked……I stayed on,,,why? I don’t know to see where this AI train wreck would end up……..my graduating portfolio show was a real eye opener, several employer came to it, package shippers, retail stores and ONLY one tiny animation company that animated biblical vegetables…and they were NOT hiring,….wtf? and they laughed and were coerced and joked how that they needed to waste time before dinner and told to come to the AI graduate portfolio show at the request of AI…….every other visitor to the show was parents and friends and not employers which career services had promised us all along our AI degree….oh you will get a job and make $75K a year and live in LA blah blah blah……BS
Soon after I graduated, AI told me to fuck off campus and that I was NOT allowed to talk to potential AI students. but…I still went to every AI Open House and talked to hundreds of people……to those who listened to me…….glad you listened and ran away from AI.
Also soon after I graduated, I actually was hired to work for AI to show off my new AI BFA degree and to beef up new AI student recruits…..this was just fuel for the fire….as I saw first hand the boiler room sales tactics created in the AI admissions office. It was all numbers…several times a day I was asked to call students and demand and insist they come in to sign up for an AI program…even if they were not an artist or designer etc…….most were people who signed up for a contest or shown some interest in AI, we went after them like sharks to blood……daily emails and admission office pow wows happened saying we had to have so many sign ups by days end or commitments or whatever or we had to stay late, or come in on the weekend to drum up sales…..it was all sales and I was trained to react to every comment a potential student would say….for example……..Admissions Shark to Potential AI student…..hey, Mike I know you were in the military, and now you are out, don’t you want to get your college degree? What? you cannot do art, ANYONE CAN DO ART, we teach you and build on your skills……etc……..we were trained to
avoid any “OBSTACLE TO THE SALE” (AI-each “sale’ was a student sign up)
Tell them anything to just get them to come in and meet with us……these people who came in were lied to and defrauded. I could not do it…….I worked there a month and turned away over 250 people and told them AI was NOT for them…….I feel I saved those people and I hope you thank me for that one day. I was soon fired, but before I left…I collected every email, photo, note and everything from AI, admissions and turned it all over to the main whistle blower/government.
All AI wanted was money and NEW student signups…..if you came in, we had a one hour getting to know you speech that we had to memorize,,,,,” You can see yourself going here right?” etc BS like that we would have to say anything to avoid the Obstacle to the Sale. Admissions reps with souls were not available……
We were given lunches and dinners and even booze if we made our AI sales numbers, which I never did….my AI trainer was a tall, seer sucker suited ex jock who could lie to anyone……grandmas, dads, new moms with little newborns, parents, and co signers etc he did it all…I sat in several of his meet the new ai student selling sessions, and it was worse than trying to go to a car dealer to buy a new car……I developed an ulcer from AI.
AI even sent me and 100 others to Phoenix, Arizona for a week long “training’ class on how to sell AI.
It was a daily boiler room class and everything was trained to me and others how to make a sale, and fuck any excuse anybody made not to come to AI.
I sat in a hot tub that first night with eager greedy admission reps who just wanted money…..all they cared about, except one guy from Ohio.and me……we chatted for hours about what was going on with AI and how they were lying to thousands to make money………I later found out, he was instrumental in being another whistle blower to help stop the AI monster. But after a week of this BS and role playing as either a potential student and the AI admissions rep…I had enough….a few days after I got home…….I was fired……..I told my boss and the AI campus president that they were defrauding people and I would help to expose them………..I was given the boot right there….but I already had all my evidence, photos, emails and so so much more that I had been taking from AI over the last month…all to be used to Bring them DOWN……now I can say umpteen years later that how the might AI has fallen. HA HA to AI…..
but I feel so awful for the thousands of AI ers like me, with worthless, shameful AI degrees and working shitty jobs to try to make ends meet…….I tried to help so many, but I am in the same boat as you….I owe $50K and still cannot pay for that….AI degree…yea, I gave some payments to Sallie Mae (assholes) and now Navient (bigger assholes) My state of Illinois Attorney General has sued Navient for many many things…..I leave off my education after high school and it is so sad.
I have been full time jobless now for several years, living paycheck to paycheck and mostly unemployed……..I file every year for the Navient non payment option, they can have a copy of my taxes and I make less than $5K a year….I told you AI destroyed me……now I sit and watch them fall further and futher into nothingness…….that is – until some new for profit school comes along with a new way of defrauding and lying to people…..
So thanks, NO THANKS AI for ruining my f—–g life and so many others….when will this nightmare be over? Yes, I did what I could…..but at what cost? My life now has little meaning, where do I go from here?
Will I be successful in having my $50K loan forgiven? I pray for that every day……….thanks for listening to my AI story and if you can, listen to Tim’s advice and read everything he says and get your AI records and anything you have like that old $500 portfolio case lying around in your garage……pull that out and file your Borrower Defense asap.
Peace and Love to Everyone!
Thanks for sharing your detailed story with us! It sounds like you really went to bat to take these guys to the cleaner, and like your work was instrumental in helping bring them down at least by providing lots of evidence for the lawsuits against them. That was a brave thing you did and an amazing show of courage. THANK YOU for helping to expose these sorts of scams that have been turning thousands of Americans into debt slaves!
If you wrote a solid Borrower’s Defense Narrative then I’m sure your application will be approved and you’ll end up having that $50,000 debt forgiven. Way to go, keep it up, and keep helping wake others up about what they need to do to get out of debt themselves. This is great stuff!
(If I were you, I’d try to get in touch with some Bloggers, Journalists or even News Reporters who want to do investigative journalism on the story. The more Media personalities talking about the student loan debt scam, the more likely we all are to have our loans forgiven and to stop the machine from creating MORE bad debt moving forward!)
Thanks Mr. Marshall
Yes, I have been involved with contacting the Media on anything AI ness ever since early 2000’s and it is not until just recently these past few years the media is now interested in what is going on, and what riles up people, so that is their primary goal in interviewing AI students who were wronged…..very wronged…the media spins everything in their favor…..they make many AI former student look like we wanted :Free Money from the Government and now we are whining about it…….that is NOT at all what we know AI did to us……I am so angry even all these nearly 20 years later that I say a call to action must be done……FORMER AI STUDENTS FILE GRIEVANCES WITH NAVIENT (FOR FEDERAL LOANS) AND REFUSE TO PAY ANYMORE MONEY….FILE FOR IDR OR FORBEARANCE…SHOW EVERYONE HOW LITTLE MONEY OUR AI DEGREE BRINGS IN……..which is a pittance. I also suggest we all burn or destroy our WORTHLESS AI degrees and post them onto social media….using some powerful hashtags any suggestions? #burninHellAI or #myAIdegreedestroyedmylife or???? I have just spent a month gathering my notes and files and going through everything in my AI files…..250 pages of AI lies, fraud and deceit by my former “school”. I refuse to pay back anything to AI, NAVIENT or any other “_uckers” involved with this massive fraud that has destroyed my life and so so so so many other lives…..and we suffer, and the AI Aholes romp around still in their Leer Jets, Mansions and enjoy all of that $11 BILLION dollars in PROFIT that they earned……while guys like me, near age 50 and I have no college degree now it is WORTHLESS! AM I Angry, oh yes I am……I am going to burn up my ‘offical AI’ degree this weekend and post it to social media…………burn baby burn……..I have copies of it, which really means nothing……….I filed my BDR already, wish me luck…cause ain’t nobody going to get another penny out of me for committing fraud to me. I won’t take this BS anymore AI………I already smashed my AI degree frame the other day, I THREW IT ON THE GROUND (referring to the funny Saturday NIght Live Skit……) Anyhow there is a time to be angry and a time to be passive and let Karma work….well Karma is not working for me or anybody else that I know suffering still from the AIness. Peace to everyone…..
I graduated from AI in 2012 and all I can say is im 68k in debt with a worthless degree, I will never pay AI a dime..i am looking into sueing them
You don’t need to sue them, just file a BDAR application.
I’m reading all sorts of comments and suggestions but there are no links where one can actually attempt to discharge their loan through BDAR. Please advise.
Go here: https://borrowerdischarge.ed.gov/s/?language=en_US
Hello! Your articles have been super helpful! Few questions for you. I’m currently paying down my private loans that I took out while attending The Art Institute. I want to apply for BDAR but my loans need to be Direct I read and most are not. Most of my loans were taken out 2005-2010. If I consolidate, will I need to be out of forbearance or deferment? I’m not currently paying that down. I don’t qualify for school closing because I withdrew in 2011 after my sister passed away unexpectedly. I also could not take on any more loans and I grew tired of AI threatening me to send to collections every session when my loans didn’t cover expenses. I was completely taken advantage of and feel violated. They used predatory practices and lied to me what my tuition would actually cost. I’m distraught at what poor choices I made then and want some debt relief! What do you suggest I do?! Thanks so much! Tania
I think you should try filing for a Borrower’s Defense Discharge, but you should look at my Guide to Discharging Art Institute debt for suggestions on creating a BDAR application that’s likely to get approved.
Tim I have sent you a question about Argosy. The school has closed all campuses due to fraudulent activity and now I am having a hard time applying for government jobs, such as the VA due to the the school being closed and not being able to obtain the official transcripts not being available, even thought they claim that one can obtain by requesting by mail but that has not worked at all.
Contact the Student Loan Ombudsman Group to see if they can help you.
I obtained six copies of my offical transcripts in case I ever had an issue after the closing. Did you use the link on the Argosy site? Was this matter resolved for you? Wishing you the best!
where would I go to file for against AI
Visit the Borrower’s Defense to Repayment website, here: https://borrowerdischarge.ed.gov/s/?language=en_US
I thought BDAR doesn’t cover private loans?
BDAR does NOT cover Private Loans. You’re correct.
My husband has Federal student loans, and we are trying to pursue Borrower’s Defense. I have read your blog and every single comment. I feel like I have a decent idea of what I need to do, and I have written the narrative piece. I DEFINITELY want to run it by an expert, however, and will pay the few hundred dollars you reference in some of your replies. But after calling every number I came across, I still have yet to find these people who provide this service.
This is what I have tried so far:
888-669-1064 and 888-732-4742 (Private loans only)
855-814-8327 (Federal loans) … they told me to call 888-906-3065 (Student Loan Relief Hotline) … they said that, for assistance with borrower’s defense, call the DOE at 855-279-6207. When I called that number, they told me to go to borrowerdischarge.ed.gov
Dead end. Help?!
I’m surprised that the Borrower’s Defense Hotline (1-855-279-6207) didn’t help. They were created SPECIFICALLY to help with these sorts of issues…
Try contacting the Student Loan Ombudsman Group though – they may be your last chance.
This is a group of attorneys who offer free legal advice on student loan-related issues, and they are backed by the Federal Government so you can trust the advice that they offer.
Thank you, Tim. Apparently, they don’t help with the narratives. They can answer questions and tell you where to go, what to do, etc., but they did not know anything about a service that helps with writing narratives. I also had tried the Ombudsman Group, but they seem to only be for loans that are in dispute. Meanwhile, we have been waiting months for word about PAYEE, and I am not sure how to proceed once our deferment ends in July.
Yes – there aren’t any really good services I’m aware of who will help you write the BDAR Application letter, other than hiring an attorney. I should start one, but I don’t have the time to do it.
I don’t get why the Ombudsman Group would turn you down though – your loans ARE in dispute, you just haven’t initiated the process yet! Those guys seem to be pretty hit and miss depending on who answers the phone.
Try contacting your loan servicer directly to see if they can offer any more guidance. The whole PAYE issue seems ridiculous. Even if you don’t qualify for PAYE, you should qualify for REPAYE, which is basically the exact same program.
Thank you for these very helpful articles! Do you know if the evidence we are reporting to the Department of Education could cause punishment or an review process with the school? I would hate to cause any drama between me and my former professors and directors (although they caused me some issues 🙂 )
Thank you, Cassi
I do NOT think that anything you report will lead to blowback with school administrative staff. I haven’t heard anything like this happening in the years and years that I’ve been monitoring this space, so I’m pretty sure you will be just fine.
After reading the article – I know that I would be qualified for the Student Loan Forgiveness – wholeheartedly- the only thing is I graduated in 2010 and there have been so many employers who state The Art Institute accreditation was not good or worth it. The “job coach” made it seem like i could be making between 45K-50k during the first year. I even remember sitting down with the “financial advisor” who also was a student their telling me I had to take a personal loan to finish paying – the only thing is I don’t have any previous emails – but i have my transcripts and financial schedule they set up and some flyers. I am seriously considering getting this application – think i have a chance?
You will have a chance if you can provide enough detail about what was promised and how it impacted your decision to borrow money. But you’re going to need to provide a LOT of detail since you don’t have anything in writing. What were you told? By whom? What was their position? When did this happen? Where were you when it happened? And how did it impact your decision to take out the loans?
Hi Tim, I somehow stumbled onto your site and I am glad that I did. Thank You for being so informative! So here’s my situation. Years ago, I attended a Tech School in Baton Rouge La whose corporate office was in Texas. Anyways, I attended the school for 18 months which is the length of the program. During my attendance, the school went through a name and location change. I was pursuing a lab technician certificate. Once I completed my clinicals, I took my final exams and that was it. I did not attend the graduation ceremony because I was too ill at the time due to my pregnancy so I requested that my certificate be mailed to me. Long story short I never got my certificate. Due to receiving a job in that field and dealing with just life itself, I didn’t pressure getting the certificate immediately. A couple of months past, maybe even a year, and the job that I was working began to request my certificate of completion. I went to the school and it had basically been placed under new management, staff, and teachers. I proceeded to request my certificate and was told that I had never taken my final exams. I disputed that response and requested a copy of my transcripts. I was told that I had to place a written request and my transcripts would be mailed to me. I did just that but never got them. I eventually found another job but it wasn’t in that field and I stopped pressuring them for my transcripts. Several years past and I contacted the school again, which was by this time, named something else. I spoke with a staff member in enrollment and explained to her that I had been trying to get my transcripts but I had gotten a run-around. She asked me for my information and told me that paperwork that far back was being stored in a warehouse and it would take up to 3 weeks before I received the transcripts. I was okay with that. Well, it has now been a few years since then and I still have no transcripts. I basically gave up and realize that the school had either lost my transcripts and/or knowingly lied about me not taking my exam. Whatever the case may be, I feel like I shouldn’t be obligated to pay a debt for a school that cannot provide my transcripts and has lied about my completion of their program. I have read many reviews about this school from people with similar circumstances. Is there anything I can do to get the student loan debt associated with this school forgiven?
Hi Ms. Smith,
I don’t want to say that you’ve got a slam dunk case here, because I’m not sure this constitutes fraud, but I do think that the school is giving you a very bad time without providing you basic details that they owe you.
I would probably try to come up with a better BDAR case than this if I were going to submit an application. The thing is, yeah, they screwed up and big time, but is this fraud? Would you be willing to wait 2-3 years to get a response from DOE that basically says “This isn’t fraud”, and then have to start all over again?
I’d either consult with an attorney to see if there’s another option for contesting these loans, or come up with a better argument for why you deserve a BDAR discharge. I don’t think this one will work, even though it SHOULD.
If I am approved for borrowers defense and I am disabled and on ssi, would that affect my disability? I don’t normally file taxes and since ssi is income based, would I end up screwing myself?
Good question! You’re going to need to speak with a tax attorney or a CPA or some sort of tax professional on this one. I offer advice for basic tax issues on my website Forget Tax Debt, but this is a very specific case that I don’t want to screw up for you!
I was told I was in a forgiveness program and that after remaining in good standing in repayment for ten years as public service worker my debt would be forgiven. I applied for what I requested the forgiveness program. What I did not know is that they sent me paperwork that was an income based repayment plan instead and I year after year completed the forms they sent. As I was ready to retire I wanted to verify my debt standing as I was just about to complete my 9th year in good standing repayment. That is when they told me I was not in a forgiveness program. If I wanted I would have to start all over with the proper paperwork. I tried to resolve it with supervisor but no one would work with me to resolve the issue. I retired and now my income based payment is $ 0.00 so I have a debt of $112,000.00 with no income to pay it.
The Income-Based Repayment Plans ARE required for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. If you were enrolled in an IBR Plan, and you were working as a Public Service Worker, then you should be qualifying for PSLF Forgiveness.
President Trump and Congress even recently approved a one-time financial relief package that would provide people who were enrolled in the wrong repayment plan, but who should have qualified for PSLF, to receive the forgiveness benefit, and you should look into that.
It sounds like your loan servicer is giving you the run around, so call the Student Loan Ombudsman Group to see if they can help. They’re a group of Government-backed attorneys who offer free legal advice on student loan-related issues like this.
I am trying to see if my wife is eligible for the public service loan forgiveness program, since she has always worked for nonprofits and plans to for the next decade. Since 2005, she has been in a consolidated loan serviced by Sallie Mae then transferred to Navient. It seems to be categorized as a FFEL CONSOLIDATED, so I’m not sure that it would be eligible. If it isn’t, would it make sense to do a new direct consolidation, or would that raise her payment amount? Is it better to see what relief might come as a result of the Navient lawsuits?
FFEL Consolidated is probably not eligible for forgiveness. There are weird rules about which types of loans are and which are not eligible. Direct Consolidation Loans are basically ALWAYS eligible, so I would look into your options for consolidating, checking how much it’d raise monthly payments, seeing which Income Based Repayment Plan would work for you guys, and again, just reviewing all the data before making any decisions.
It may be worth waiting for the Navient lawsuit to finish, but there’s basically no way to be certain about that front, so I don’t think I’d hold my breath on that one…
FFEL loans are not eligible for the PSLF program. FFEL Consolidation loans can be re-consolidated if they are in default OR if the person works at a public service organization.
Once consolidated, the new Direct Consolidation loan can be forgiven through the PSLF program as long as all requirements are correctly setup and maintained until 120 qualifying payments are acquired.
Also, to qualify for PSLF you must pay under an income-driven repayment plan. The payment would be calculated based upon filing status, adjusted gross income, amount of debt, state of residence, and number of allowances.
IDR plans have mandatory re-certification every 12 months until loans are either paid back or forgiven.
I need help I was told by great lakes that I was eligible for a student loan forgiveness program. My employer filled out the paper work and I sent in the required information. Only to find out that it was a refinance not a forgiveness program I have been fighting to clear my credit due to the huge issue that this has created. Now Greater lakes and Fed loan as well as my current student loan services are being sued over the navient salie may issue. I have been told that even though there are other loan companies being sued that my loans do not qualify to take part in the law suit even though there is clear cut fraud and misrepresentation. In my case and with my loans. They have damaged my credit and my I have not received a tax return due to this Any help would be great. I feel helpless
You will probably need to contact an attorney to get this sorted out. There’s really no way to contest something like this without using a lawyer.
Thanks for the great information. When I called the Dept. of Ed., they said I could only use the Borrowers Defense Forms for Universities and not loan providers. So now i’m confused on how to actually file a claim against Navient. I was put unto deferment/forbearance after i graduated undergrad, while i was a grad student making $25K. I could have made payments to keep the interest down, and no one would offered me that option, so I accumulated 5-6 years of interest. Any thoughts on this one?
It’s possible that Betsy DeVos’s Department of Education is changing the rules on how this program works…
We need to elect a more student loan-savvy President, who could appoint a useful Secretary of Education. I’ll look into this, but if DOE is telling you it can’t be done, then you may be stuck and unable to use BDAR.
It’s still possible you could file a lawsuit against them, however, if you feel that they defrauded you.
Just called the BDar hotline and service loan providers such as Sallie Mae and Navient are not part of the program or lawsuit. Bdar only covers schools who wronged students not service providers as mentioned in your article above.
Yes, this is true. DOE is protecting the servicing companies now. BDAR Discharges can only be filed against the schools themselves now.
Hi Tim, I currently have 2 applications on file with the Barrows Defense. One against the University of Phoenix and the other against Ashford University. These applications have been on file now for a year. I have elected to continue to make monthly payments and I am on the IBR payment plan and it only keeps going up. With UOP I was told I can get a good paying job making $60,000 plus a year when I get my Assoiciates in Health Care Administration since I have been in Health Care most of my life. My whole reason for going was because I was told they have a lot of coding classes, which I kept asking about and kept being told the next class has coding courses. None of them did and I did not learn a darn thing as I knew what they were saying. I did graduate with the Associates, however no one in the state of Texas will hire you with the degree from UOP, plus I was told that my credits will transfer should I decide to attend a local college. Well that is not correct as the credits will not transfer to any local college. I was then told the Bachelors program will allow me to make even more money upon completion. I did not try to get my Bachelors through them. Being desperate and trying to get back on top of life from going through a divorce and nearly losing everything the sound of making more money would have helped me get back on top. That is when I attempted to go for my Bachelor’s through Ashford University. They quoted me the cost of classes to be half the cost of UOP for the Bachelors and they also promised I would make more money, be more marketable and be able to get a great paying job within a short time after graduating. Both UOP and Ashford told me that they both have connections with employers in my area that will hire me once I graduate. When I contacted UOP for a list of those employers I was told to post my resume on Monster.com. That was their connections. The other issue I noticed which I had to fight to get the information was they were submitting for Dorm fees to Fed Loans and were receiving funds. The amount that they said they billed Fed Loans and the amount that was paid showed a discrepancy. The money did not balance. I cannot have any kind of future with anyone as once they realize I have student Loans they tell me any relationship will not work as they do not want to be anyone’s sugar daddy. I am not asking for their help but this is a hugh issue for me so I sit at home alone and have continued panic attacks as the balance on the student loans has grown from $35K to over $42k since 2013. I feel I have a good case as both schools told me things that were lies and had I known I would never have attended either college and would be in less debt today. Is there anyway to find out how long it will take to find out if these loans are or will be eligible for discharge? Also when I look at the amount of income tax that I will be held responsible for scares me as well as everything I have read the IRS wants all that tax up front when it comes to the loans being discharged. Is there anyway to prove to the IRS you cannot pay it? As it is I am barely making it paycheck to paycheck and might have $10 bucks at the end of the month. I really regret ever being talked into either school.
Thanks for your detailed explanation here!
It sounds like you’re going to get an approval on your BDAR application because it definitely feels like your story is in line with the eligibility requirements.
I wish I could give you an idea of how long it takes to hear back, but I’ve heard from people who have been waiting 2+ years at this point for a response from DOE.
I would seriously consider a Deferral or Forbearance, especially if you can get one that will NOT accumulate interest while you’re on it. Or at least start a deferral and make the monthly interest payments so the loan balance doesn’t increase.
The IRS will want all the money up front – that’s the worst part of any student loan forgiveness benefit other than the really big programs like PSLF, but with the IRS, you can always ask them to help you out with structured payments.
They offer payment plans to people who can’t afford their taxes (for a fee of course), but it’d still end up being much lower than what you owe to the schools, so even though it sucks, it’s still an improvement in your financial health over the long run.
I went to a school that is now closed. I graduated but couldnt get a job the school had lied to me about everything. They told me I’d make over $20 per hour and they would line me up with a job once done with school. Those were lie. Also told me I was going to have an associates degree and my credits would transfer which were lies too. I would of NEVER gone to this school. I actually tried to transfer to this school but they didn’t except my credits so I had to start over, looking back I realize now it was cuz they wanted more money out of me. After 3 months I wasnt learning anything and I was paying for school to learn so I tried to transfer to a different school again and they wouldn’t accept my credits either so unfortunately I stayed there being i didn’t want to start over again. Also theres so much more they lied to me about. I’ve never worked in the field i went to school for being i could not get a job for lack of experience plus i didnt have an associates degree only a certificate and most people laughed at me when I said I want to make $20 per hour. So i know qualify for this and would have never paid to go here BUT I paid up front for the school. I didnt take any loans out at all. As soon as the school knew I had a trust fund they hounded me to sign up that minute and I even moved to attend the school. When I finished I wished I had my money back to go to a different school. Is there any programs to help me get a refund being they already got my money and have been closed down?? Thanks!
You can’t use the Closed School Loan Discharge because that requires the school to shut down while you’re still actively enrolled, before graduating, but if your loans are Federal, then you will qualify for a Borrower’s Defense Discharge if you can prove everything you just mentioned. The worst part was that they promised you’d make over $20 per hour. That’s illegal. You need to PROVE that this was promised to you in your BDAR Application, and that should qualify you for forgiveness. Include all the other parts too, like the transfer credits issue and the Associate’s Degree piece as well, but understand that the promise of making a certain amount of money per hour is the most important thing to explain.
The borrower defense application isn’t available on FAFSA’s site.
Try accessing it here: https://borrowerdischarge.ed.gov/s/?language=en_US
I recently applied for the bdar last month. In all honesty I don’t know if I did it right. I went to an everest school back in 2011. I don’t know specific dates. I know that I was going through domestic violence at the time and I was young, about 20. My baby didn’t even have a year yet. I went in and they told me this was a great opportunity for me. I told them I never graduated and they didn’t really seem to care. I was very emotional discussing what was happening to me and now looking back I think they used that in their convenience. I was scared of not being able to support my baby and myself on my own. I finished the schooling and they let me be done without finishing my internship that I had to look for myself. The internship was suppose to be part of the schooling. I tried looking for work after but offices kept asking me for high school diploma and that were baffled that i didn’t have it. Others didn’t want to hire without experience which goes back to not being hired because of the diploma. It was a never ending cycle. I never got to use the credentials i went to their school for. Even if i would have worked in that field the pay i was promised was nowhere near what people were actually getting paid. I stated all of this on my application. I don’t know how well i did but i hope and pray they accept it. Thank you for taking the time to read this and I appreciate your guide.
So… if they promised you a set level of pay, that alone should make you eligible for a discharge. You should definitely look into filing an application, making sure to explain EXACTLY what they promised you. How much did they say you would make? Who said this? Where were you and them when it was said? Provide as much detail as possible, explaining that you would NEVER HAVE TAKEN OUT THE LOAN in the first place had they not PROMISED you that much money as a result of their program. Make it very, very clear that you felt lied to, scammed, ripped off, and defrauded. This is how to qualify for a discharge.
Is it possible for the student to sue the school that made the misrepresentation directly? I notice that some of the cases are by state attorney generals, can you explain why the AGs seem to be the ones to sue the schools and not the former students? Is it a requirement to seek relief through the BDARP?
Honestly, I think it’s because the schools would crush individual students. How is someone who didn’t finish school and can’t get a good job going to beat a multi-billion dollar school in a legal battle? The AGs can go after them because there aren’t any real repercussions; they’ve got plenty of lawyers to help them litigate, and it’s not costing them any of their own money. They’re using State funds to try and help taxpayers. I just don’t see individual students being able to afford the legal bills.
I am a Walden graduate (2005), and have 34K debt remaining. When I started Walden in ’99, it was a small, pleasant school of 2000+ students. We all knew our instructors, and they knew us. I had a few deadbeats as instructors; including those who never responded to emails, but most were adequate. By the time I graduated, it had become Laureate Education, and became a horrific cold, impersonal school, and nobody returned phone calls or emails. I had to remain in touch with Walden professors and administrators during my recent psychology licensing process, and after a year and a half of hounding staff and administrators to get documents I needed, I was finally successful in getting licensed in one state (not my home state). My biggest gripe with Walden is that they led us to believe we could get licensed as psychologists in our states, as long as we kept track of all of the work we did, including seminars, internships, residency etc. My predoctoral internship was a nightmare, in that the Walden administrator was MIA, and never responded to any of my emails, and did not sign off on my internship experience. After I completed the internships, and tried to piece together the documentation the best I could, I had a terrible time getting current administrators to substantiate my experiences, and sign off with a letters stating that I completed the work, They claimed most of courses changed, and they had no record of my courses. They said their computer system changed, and all of the previous records were not available. Additionally, on several occasions when I tried to get my transcript (two degrees) they sent inaccurate transcripts, but they did not show that I earned the MS or PhD degrees. They said this happened because I earned one of the degrees before the computer systems, changed, and one after, and there was no way to synchronize them. I hounded and hounded, and kept on their tails until I got what I needed. My question for you is now that I signed up for the Borrowers Relief Fund, and Fed Loan Services sent me a letter in Nov 2018 stating my administrative forbearance was accepted, does it seem possible that I could get my loans forgiven?
It really depends on how you explained everything in your Borrower’s Defense Application, and whether or not the person who reviewed it felt that you were defrauded. I think you’ve got a borderline case here, but not a slam dunk. Keep your fingers crossed, and good luck!
Hi there, my wife received a bachelors degree from Globe University in 2014. We have a ton of debt. She has been lately looking for a job and been getting no calls back. Now finding out about Globe closing, thats starting to make more sense. Do you think statements like this on their website are enough for a borrowers defense claim?
“As a graduate, you will have one of the strongest degrees in the industry.”
No, that’s not nearly enough to qualify for a Borrower’s Defense Claim. You need to prove that they committed fraud against you guys, or that they made false promises. Promises like, “You’ll make this much money”, “You’ll be able to become a JOB TITLE HERE”, etc.
I’ve been looking into some form of loan forgiveness for *years* and I’m glad to have found your article. I’d signed up for Art Institute Online back in… 2008 I believe. I’d went part time for 4 years while job hunting. I’ll try to summarize what happened.
First, I’d almost went to Academy of Art, but was “sold” on Art Institute because they made it sound like a better deal, cheaper entrance fee (they said they could work it into my loans), and overall easier to get into the college. My problem was that after my quick acceptance and working with the Financial Aid officer, it’s like all help disappeared.
The kicker was that no one truly took the time to explain why it was against their policy to suggest scholarships or grants to me, nor help me out in vetting a good scholarship. The thing is, I’d transferred from a renowned bible college who had a FA department who moved heaven & earth to help students out financially. They had less resources and less people than Art Institute claimed to have. So against their policy because AI wanted to line their pockets? Hmm. The only time FA reached out to me again was when it was time to renew my FAFSA.
I’m honestly not sure if what I have is grounds to look at borrower’s defense, but I personally feel like I’d talked to a salesman instead of a simple recruiter, over promised and under delivered. I quickly realized that I learned more in self teaching than what the college offered in undergrad. I even had to tell the computer science *instructor* that a Processor Chip and Central Processing Unit were the same piece of hardware, because I’ve troubleshooted and built computers before.
I do admit to having been young and thinking I could be responsible enough to handle college at this point, lol. But even after all my research on Art Institute before joining, they were pretty clever in hiding how barely legal they are.
Also, thanks for this article and the work you’re doing. I’m glad I found something so valuable, that updated me on this long journey and hunt to find some way out, if possible.
Thanks for your kind words – I really appreciate the compliment, but unfortunately your story doesn’t sound like there’s enough here for a BDAR approval.
I would think about what you were told when you were originally talking to the enrollment advisor and consider if they made any promises or said anything more specific about expectations for salary, career positions or job levels, etc., because I think you need a stronger case with a little more promising than what you’ve got listed here.
It’s definitely not cool that they weren’t helping with financial aid and scholarships, I’m sure you were talking to a salesperson, NOT an educator, but the threshold for qualifying for a BDAR discharge is extremely high, and you have to have really good evidence that the school committed some kind of fraud. Typically, that’s going to be false advertising, lying, making illegal promises, etc.
I would like to share that if your Borrowers Defense Claim has been over one year your interest will be credited.
Please Read: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/about/data-center/student/loan-forgiveness/borrower-defense-data
Thought this might help some
Thanks for sharing this with us Jim!
Tim. Thank you for this information. It has certainly been eye opening. I attended University of Phoenix in 2001-2004. I have been struggling to pay back the loans associated with this time and have been searching for help. I did graduate, however, nothing I was told ever came to fruition. In 2001, I was contacted by a UOP recruiter and invited in to have a conversation. I was a newly single mom with a newborn and considering seeking a master’s degree. The representative spent a lot of time learning about me and then pretty much pitched me on the school and the fact that I would never be able to provide for my son without this degree. They did give me some amazing and encouraging information regarding graduation rates and again, sold me that I would be able to get executive level positions if I had this degree. While I don’t doubt that people with MBA’s get these positions, I do have to say that no one seems to think my MBA from UOP is very impressive in the business world today, nor have they ever. I was concerned about the cost of UOP compared to the state college and was told that I wouldn’t have to take just loans. I was told that there were other funds they could help me get access to and they would handle it all for me. These funds would be in the form of grants and monies that I wouldn’t have to pay back, specifically because I was a single parent and attending school. The first disbursement of my funds came and there was nothing of the sort. Everything was in the form of loans. I made an appointment to meet with them and was told that I had to wait 1 disbursement period for these funds to come through. So, I continued. The next one came and there were only loans. I again questioned it, but was told that it would come and possibly the 2nd half would be no loans, but that this was part of a “bucket” of money and I would have to wait. So, I continued. It got to a point where I had gone so far, that I felt like I’d be wasting the money I had invested and committed to if I stopped and I was urged NOT to stop. I do feel that I was lied to and taken advantage of, but have a few questions related to this loan forgiveness program. As the years have gone on, I’ve been on income based repayment and my balance seems to have only grown! I struggle and panic annually when I have to renew the IBR payment. Is there a time frame for attendance if I file for this? Will they look poorly on me if I did actually graduate even though I haven’t benefited from the degree at all? If I do have a case, do I need to get an attorney? Finally, other than transcripts, I don’t have other documentation. I didn’t save any of the paperwork from recruitment with the graduation rates stated or any of these promises…. Will that be a disadvantage here? Finally, I did have some small loans in my undergrad. I remember doing all kinds of loan counseling with them when taking the loans, watching videos and having to agree that I understood the commitment to those loans. That did not happen at UOP. It was simply a FAFSA and then disbursement. Again, I appreciate your reply and any insight you can provide.
There’s several places where I think you have a shot at getting a discharge here, and your argument should focus on these things that you were told:
“I would be able to get executive level positions if I had this degree” – If they’re promising you a position, or even a type of position, like “executive level”, then that’s a potential violation.
“was told that I wouldn’t have to take just loans. I was told that there were other funds they could help me get access to and they would handle it all for me. These funds would be in the form of grants and monies that I wouldn’t have to pay back” – If they really said that they were going to do this, but failed to, then that could put them on the line as well.
Your debt can definitely grow when on income-based payments, because of the way compound interest works. You may not be paying enough to actually decrease the amount of money you owe. What can happen in this case is that you end up having to pay whatever you can afford… forever… since the debt can never be paid off by paying such a small amount.
My advice though is to definitely apply for a discharge and see if you can make it work. The wait times are extremely long right now, but the new Democratically controlled Congress is loading up for a huge battle against Betsy DeVos, so we may see some positive change in the months ahead! Good luck!
In 2010, I had moved 4 hours away from my family to go to ITT Technical Institute in Wichita Kansas. I was wanting to get into video game design and programming the technical side of it. They told me, sure! They rushed me thru the signing process guaranteeing I would find the job I was looking for. After going to a few classes I had realized they had nothing to do with what I was looking for. I confronted them about it. They said, we put you into our drafting and design program to get you an idea of the design process, the art side of it. WHAT?!?! I had already took multiple classes on the subject prior to this and even got a certification in drafting technology while still in high school. Why did they do that to me? Money was the reason. Upset at this point because I told them the technical side is where I belong, they were going to transfer me into the Information Technology program telling me it had some programming classes. They knew it was not what I was looking for but still wanted my money and would find something to shut me up. I did not see what was going on at the time. I had been around computers all my life but wanted to learn programming. I was hoping to get a degree to improve my life and my way of living. Boy was I wrong. My grandpa had paid for 6 months rent so I could find a job and pay him back. I had found a job 2 months after moving thru a temp agency. It was only supposed to be for 2 weeks but I needed money. I ended up working thru the temp agency for an aerospace company for 2 and a half months then got hired on full time in the maintenance department. I worked full time while going to school full time and left to visit my family after classes got out on the weekends about 10:30pm arriving at 2:30am. I just kept in mind this will all pay off in the end. I had to maintain my mindset and accomplish what I was looking forward to. Getting my degree was my top priority after that my new job would pay off my degree or so I thought. I worked hard to keep a nearly perfect GPA for 2 years. Upon getting closer to graduation, I started sending out resumes to places ITT had provided or said were hiring. Nothing came from the help of ITT and I never got a job. I ended up graduating from ITT in 2012 with highest honors. The only one in my graduating class too. I thought, surely this will improve my job search in the IT field now. They failed that guaranteed spot. I even tried getting into the IT department at my current place but that did not work either. I soon realized ITT had no accreditation nor could I transfer my credits to continue somewhere else. I got sucked into one of the worst schools without knowing I had just screwed myself big time. When I told them I graduated with highest honors, most seemed to not care. ITT was a joke and I really do wish I would ever went there. I owe so much money for a piece of paper that means nothing to anyone. I cannot use it. It is worthless. If I could trade it in and my loans would he forgiven, I would do it in a heartbeat. What am I to do now? Please help me
You may be able to qualify for a Borrower’s Defense Discharge based on the fact that the school “guaranteed” you’d be able to find the job you were looking for. I’m basing this on your comment: “They rushed me thru the signing process guaranteeing I would find the job I was looking for.”
If they REALLY did say that, that you’d get the specific position you wanted, and that they guaranteed it would happen, then they are on the hook and your loans can be forgiven, because this is illegal behavior on their part.
My question is how does one prove that they said these things. I know I was told that my chances of getting a job right out of school were very high while I was signing up and then after going to school fathers for a while they started pushing their project managment “masters degree” on us. So how do we prove they they said these things?
Provide as much documentation as possible. Where, when, who, job title, the specific quote they said, the context of the surrounding conversation. Document everything you can remember about what was said.
Tim. This information has been extremely eye opening. I am in 2001, I was a single mom with a bachelor degree. I was contacted by a University of Phoenix recruiter and invited to come meet them in their local office to seek a master’s degree. It wasn’t something I had considered previously since I was a single mom, but thought maybe I’d hear what they had to say. It was a nearly 2 hour meeting in which the recruiter spent quite a bit of time learning about me first. The meeting was a complete “sale” and not necessarily anything to do with a concern for furthering my education. I was told that the master’s degree would increase my earning potential, making it easier for me to care for my son on my own. I was told that I would have greater earning potential and be able to secure jobs in management and even potentially executive level positions. While I am educated enough to know that, I was concerned with the financial responsibility. I was also very vulnerable as I was recently divorced and alone with a 5 month old, concerned for our financial future. I was promised that they would help me with all the financial paperwork, that there may even be some money for me that I would qualify for as a single mother that I wouldn’t have to pay back. I was also told that any “loans” wouldn’t impact my credit, I would have longer to pay them back since this was an “advanced” degree, and the payments would be “affordable”. I singed up and began the program. I didn’t need any money to start and it was okay for me to start and wait for my financial package. When it came back, there was nothing other than federal student loans. When I inquired about the money they said they’d help me find that I didn’t have to pay back, they told me that I would have to wait 1 semester to be eligible. The next semester, I received only federal loans again. When I inquired, I was told that it was part of a “bucket” of funds and that I would have to wait for it to be available, but that if I kept attending, I would eventually get some of the funds as well. This was the case, semester after semester while I was racking up large amounts of federal loan debt. It got to a point where I felt that I was so far into the program that I didn’t want to quit and then end up with no degree and lots of debt. I finished the program with a MBA, that didn’t get me a management or executive position. I worked 2 jobs for many years following my “graduation”. I consolidated those loans and while, only in the past few years, I have finally started making a decent income on 1 job alone, my student loan debt has only grown. I am not and have never been in any default position, but despite paying the payments, my debt has only gotten higher. I have consolidated with a federal loan servicer on the IBR program, but was just told that my payments are going to more than $1000 per month from the $645 I have been paying for 2 years now. When I inquired why (my income hasn’t changed that much), I was told that for a few years, there was a miscalculation on the debt considering only the original principal and NOT the $50k of interest that has grown on it. That was a shock and I simply can’t afford an increase like that. With that being said, while I feel that I was lied to and taken advantage of by University of Phoenix, I’ve tried to be honest and do the right thing by paying the loans back. This is becoming increasingly difficult and I simply can’t afford a payment that is now more than $1000 a month. This is taking a toll on my health with the amount of worry and I don’t want to have to default, but the servicer is not willing to work with me. I was told by my servicer to write my congressman if I was upset, but these were the guidelines that they go by when looking at an IBR. They don’t factor into that any of my current debt or the fact that I have a child with a major medical issue and spend quite a bit of money on his medicine and care. While doing some research online about UOP and the massive debt I have from them, I found this site. Do you feel that I have a case for Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment Program and if so, should I seek a lawyer to help here? Thank you again for all this information. It has given me some hope in what seems like a hopeless cycle.
I definitely think you have a shot at qualifying for a BDAR Discharge, because of a couple key things you mentioned in your story:
Schools are not allowed to promise set salaries or positions, and they’re bordering on fraud when they say the line about “increase earning potential” – that MAY be interpreted as legal, but it’s extremely close to outright fraud. I don’t think they’re allowed to even say that, because they certainly can’t promise a set salary amount.
They definitely cannot promise jobs in management or at the executive level though; that is outright illegal and definitely makes it possible for you to put together a compelling BDAR discharge claim. I would file an application and focus on these statements about income and job titles as the parts of the process where you feel you were defrauded.
Hi I took classes through the University of Phoenix online and was told that my credits could be transferred to another school, which I found out later on was a complete lie. I feel scammed by them and there is no way I would have taken classes through them if I knew the truth. I am trying to fill out one of these applications and can’t find where to fill one out on the website, is it already to late? Is there anything else I can do?
You could look into filing a claim because they lied about the credit transfer possibility. You can fill out the application for a BDAR Discharge here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/borrower-defense#borrower-defense-application
Hello, Thanks for this great information!
In our applications, should we reference the lawsuit that would be related to our claim? For example, if a state sued a school due to bogus placement info, should we site that specific case in our application?
Yes, definitely reference the lawsuit! But make sure you’re offering specific examples of how you were wronged. You certainly won’t get a discharge just because the school is or has been sued, but the lawsuit gives more credence to your claim of having been personally wronged.
Thank you very much for the info and clarification. Also, do you have a list of lawyers that could help work on applications? Or what kind of lawyers we should search for to help?
I do not, but I would recommend searching for lawyers with experience handling student loans or at least financial-related details. Honestly, I think you could put everything together yourself, but going to some consultations to check your theories and ideas could be useful. Good luck!
Thanks for the advice. I ended up doing it myself. now i’m settling in for the long wait.
Have you heard of Western State Univ. College of Law ? It is in Orange county, California. There were many law suits filed against them in the mid-90s. I also was cheated, but have never filed. And yes, my student loans are a burden.
I’ve never heard of this school, but you may be able to file a BDAR claim against them… depending on what happened.
I love your site; super helpful—thank you! Im wondering if, during my time in graduate school which was during election year, the fact that all of my teachers dedicated much class time to push their personal politics and beliefs, might be cause to qualify for this relief? It was at a State-funded University that I attended. Thank you in advance
I don’t think that’s going to be enough to qualify you for a Borrower’s Defense Discharge. These benefits are really reserved for people who were lied to or tricked into going to a school that made false promises, performed false advertising, or literally committed fraud against them. I’m pretty sure that you’ll be denied if that is all you can come up with for a BDAR Application, unfortunately.
I graduated from Globe University in 2012. That school was ridiculous and charged a ton of money. They told nothing but lies to get people to go to their school, hence why most of them are now closed. I filed for the borrower against payment back in February 2016 and still haven’t heard anything. My loans went into forbiddence when I filed for the discharge however this year I received notification from my loan company that I had to start paying on them again but I haven’t heard anything about the discharge. I thought that my loans would stay in forbiddence until the decision was made on my application?
Your loans were placed in Forbearance, not Forbiddence, and yeah, they’re not supposed to go active again until you hear back from the DOE on the status of your BDAR application. Try contacting DOE and asking them for an update.
Hi Tim, I went through all the previous comments to find if anyone has attended the school I went to. I attended Prince Institute in Montgomery, AL from 2002 to 2005. It is a court reporting school, and I went to check it out before enrolling to ask questions. I told them if I attended this school I’d be driving almost 4 hours round trip a day to go here. I asked them costs of the school, costs afterwards, job outlook, pay, and most important to me was job placement. They told me court reporters work with judges starting out between the $60,000-$80,000 range. They told me if I finished school in the 2 year time frame that it would cost me $17,000 and that included everything I needed for school and what I needed to start my career afterwards, IF I went ahead and enrolled and I would be “locked in” on that price. They also told me that my area, Dothan, were in high demand for CRs and that need will always be there and that they will help place me in the perfect job. I enrolled after talking with several reporters they recommended me talk with. After I started, they sent notices out saying tuition would increase. When I asked them about being locked in, they said this only applied to new students and not me. I took their word. I was nearing the end of the course, I found out that getting a job with a judge is very hard that I would be a contract worker doing depos for lawyers and that I wouldn’t get paid until the lawyer gets paid, which could be three months or longer. When asked, they said working for lawyers was true but not the pay part. That I would actually make more money doing depos than working for a judge and that I would make more than what lawyers make. They sweetened all this up to more with more talks of what a lucrative career this would be. I graduated. My student loans were 27,000. There were no jobs in Dothan. Closest one I could find would have me traveling three hours one way as I could not move. They would not help me with placement and wouldn’t even return my phone calls. Also, I found out I had to buy new equipment, computer software, etc costing anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000, after they told me I had no costs coming out of school. I couldn’t afford this after driving the distance and paying in loans what I had. I didn’t attend their graduation so they mailed my diploma to me and my name was spelled wrong. Had my middle name twice on it. I tried to get them to correct this. Said it would be in the mail and never received it. I also backed out the first day going to this school because I had found out that the State of New Mexico had gotten rid of CR in favor of technology. I got scared and decided not to go, and they called me telling me this was a test they were conducting and it wasn’t going well that it cannot replace reporters. They sweet talked me into coming back. They also to me all my classes were transferrable to other schools if I wanted to advance my degree in the future. I went to the owner and talked about quitting and transferring what I had to become a teacher, and she encouraged me to finish, that she would help me, and that it would boast very well for me when I decided to pursue a teaching degree, as she had one. No schools would acknowledge my degree or classes. I tried 4 different schools. They also told me they were accredited and I am not sure if this was the case when I graduated in 2005. There was talk of the school closing as they were in financial trouble. They sold the school in 2006. There are other sketchy issues I had here, but this was the gist of it. The owner when I attended has now passed away. The school ultimately closed down. I tried calling to see about getting info from when I attended and couldn’t get a working number. My questions are have you heard anything on this school? Do you think I have a chance? All I have left is my transcripts and the diploma with the wrong spelling. I tried using the Wayback Machine but I may not be using it right, but I couldn’t pull anything up from Prince. Any info would be greatly appreciate!
I’m sorry to hear about your experience with that school, and no, I haven’t heard anything about them so I can’t offer any specific expertise on their issues unfortunately, but what I can tell you is:
1. It sounds like you were promised things – like, “starting out between the $60,000-$80,000 range”, which is highly illegal and absolutely not allowed for the school to be saying, if it was said in the context that they were claiming you’d make this much personally after attending their program. They’re NOT ALLOWED to promise you any sort of salary data like that.
2. If they really did promise not to raise your tuition, but then did so, then you’ve got another great potential case. They can’t tell you one thing, then do the other. This certainly gives you opportunities for pursuing BDAR.
3. Telling you that all your classes were transferable could be another piece of the puzzle opening them to a BDAR claim. They’re not supposed to make false promises, and if their classes don’t transfer, then you’ve got a good shot at a discharge here.
4. If they lied about their accreditation status – that’s a HUGE deal! You definitely need to sort that one out because it could certainly come into play.
So the school closed down though… it’s going to be tough to get any details on them if they’ve been gone a long time, but I would still highly recommend trying to pursue a BDAR application, because I think you’ve got a great story here!
Thank you so much for your response. I am worried with the school being closed and the previous owners now passed away that I may not stand a chance. I’m worried it comes down to my word against theirs with not a whole lot of proof to back either of us up. I went ahead and submitted an application a month ago. My loans haven’t been put in forbearance yet, so I am assuming they haven’t gotten to my application yet. I hope what I have is enough to qualify. Thanks again for responding and the encouraging info!!
A lot of these BDAR cases are going to get settled based on he-said, she-said, as it’s tough to build evidence for some of these things, like verbal promises, assurances, etc. I would remain optimistic, and hopefully the new Democratic Congress can start making inroads into turning things around. Right now, Betsy DeVos has all the benefits on lockdown, but I’m feeling pretty confident that we’ll see some big moves here shortly as the Democrats make student loans a big issue.
I was wondering if you could give me a gov site that has solid info on the borrowers defense.
Try Googling for it and look for .gov domains. It’s out there. I just typed “Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment Program” and a Government site popped up first: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/borrower-defense
I was more interested in the policy and definitions of misleading that the Dept. of Ed has. Isn’t there something out there more in detail rather than…
“Under the law, you may be eligible for borrower defense to repayment forgiveness of the federal student loans that you took out to attend a school if that school misled you, or engaged in other misconduct in violation of certain state laws.”
—Just seems like that gives no information. If it was this easy… Devry students shouldn’t take years to be processed…. 99% got lured in on the bs lies of job – placement rates and higher income bs. Devry spent millions and millions on false advertising along with the recruiters spilling out the garbage THEY EVEN HAVE LOBBIEST. I would hope no Soul would go to Devry for the Cost… but with the false advertising to get you in… should be easy for the discharge and should be a full discharge??
You’d think DOE could quickly get through all the claims because it’s been configured in a way to handle them rapidly, and get people their forgiveness, until Besty DeVos stepped in and starting breaking things on purpose. Her destructive actions have ground the entire system to a halt, and people are now waiting 2+ years just to hear back on the initial review of their applications!
I am unsure if I would qualify. If you could give me your opinion. I enrolled in Laurus College in Atascadero CA in the spring of 2012. At the time I was homeless which they said would be no issue. Approximately 3 weeks into the computer course I was in I was told by the director of the campus that I could not continue attending unless I was able to find housing and I was asked to leave. I thought that I didn’t have any student debt due to only attending basically orientation. I find out now that I was given loans to cover tuition for a 2 year course. I know that the public school system in California does not allow for any discrimination for homelessness. They also have privacy rules for the public school system.
I think you have a claim here because it sounds like you were certainly discriminated against, but I’m not entirely sure how this would play out in relation to your student debt. I think you’d better speak to an attorney. Might I suggest the Student Loan Ombudsman Group? This is a group of free lawyers who provide legal advice on student loan-related topics and issues. Google their name to find their contact details, and give them a call to see if they can help you!
I submitted an application 18 months ago and am still waiting to hear. I have called the help,line, but they can’t give me any idea were my application is in the reviewal process. Just heard that a judge ruled against Devos for attempting to halt applications, saying her delay of a key student borrower protection rule is unlawful. Will this improve the pace of the review all process? If changes are made to the rule, will existing applications following the rule in place at the time of the application?
Unfortunately it’s taking longer and longer for applications to make it through processing. DeVos HATES BDAR and PSLF, and is doing everything she can to shut these programs down.
Hi all! I attended Everest Tampa for 3 semesters before I moved and looked into a community college. I was told those credits dont transfer. I realized it was a scam and withdrew. However, they lied about the amount of student loans, job placement assistance, as well as the transferability of their credits. I applied for forgiveness with forbearance roughly 2 years ago, and heard absolutely nothing. Just last week, I received an email that my student loans are in forbearance while my forgiveness application is processed. I just wanted to let you know that it will take a very long time before they get to your application (2+ years) and to just keep making those payments in the meantime. Please keep your fingers crossed for me for a speedy approval. I’m so tired of paying monthly on fraudulent charges!
Hi! I tried to read through as many of these comments that I could so that I wouldn’t repeat a question. I’m a Walden doctoral student, who has been in the program at least 2 years past the projected graduation date. I applied for the program but was coerced into going for an EdS degree first. I was told that having this degree would put me in advanced standing in the Ph.D. Program. It did. However, that was back in 2012. I anticipated graduating in at least 2-3 years after that. However, my chair dragged out the process to the point that in 2015, I started complaining that I was running out of loan money & that I needed to be guided to finishing. He ignored me. ( I have emails) Then I was assigned a University Reviewer who had no idea about my topic or my area of teaching. He was opinionated & dead wrong on many things. I complained & was told just do what sounds reasonable & ignore the other comments. Problem with that is that he didn’t approve my work & gave extremely vague suggestions. Finally, l did my study & finished my dissertation last fall. Again had been consistently reminding that my loans would be gone in December. Chair told me not to worry & I would be finished. URR again didn’t pass me. I contacted the department chair & she removed him & became my URR. My chair left for Paris without a word & the asst.chair took over. I fought Walden & got them to forgive the winter, spring, & summer, because I had to completely redo my proposal ( already approved) because it was completely wrong. However, they won’t pay this quarter. I’m almost done, but I have no clue how I’m going to pay this. Sorry to be so long, but do I qualify?
I’m not sure if you’re going to qualify here because I’m not really sure if your school did anything technically illegal. I would try contacting the Student Loan Ombudsman Group to see if they can help. They are attorneys backed by the Federal Government, who offer free legal assistance on student loan-related issues. I think they may be able to look into this for you and determine if you would qualify for a BDAR discharge.
Everything I am reading (from the Borrower’s Defense page link on your site) says this is only for FEDERAL student loan forgiveness. I attended a private school and took out private student loans. I feel both the school (through promising $100K jobs upon graduation and no loan counseling) and the private student loan companies (who told me my only option for halting payments was an in-school deferment. My forbearance was used up (all six months of it) and they refused to help with an income based repayment plan and told me they would take my house if they could not garnish wages) have lied to me. I graduated in 2009 and I am $100,000 in debt. I would like to apply for the BD, but I am unsure if I can because they are private loans. Could you please clarify if those with private loans are eligible and if not, what options I might have then in this regard? Thank you SO MUCH for the information! It has given me hope.
BDAR Discharges do not cover Private Loans. You won’t be eligible for a discharge if your loans are private. Unfortunately, there’s very little available for people with private student loan debt.
I applied about 18 months ago for BDAR. I have a Parent Plus loan for my son’s education at Brooks Institute in Ventura, CA (now closed as of September 2017). He was promised a number of things by the recruiter – such as 1-2 internships, use of equipment after graduation, etc. – none of which did my son receive. In addition, he went there to attend their Commercial Film making program. However, they discontinued that program about half way through his schooling. Too late into his degree program, plus credits would not transfer. As such, he ended up paying big bucks to take 5 independent study courses (basically taught himself- had to develop his own course of study for each of the independent study courses) just to complete his degree.
In the process of completing the application for BDAR, I did some research on Brooks. Wish I has the foresight to do that prior to him going there. I discovered that the school had 2 lawsuits against it for misrepresentation of job placement rates. One occured prior to my son attending and the other while he was attending Brooks.
Sound like a plausible claim?
Frustrated with how long it takes to process these claims. I was initially told 6-12 months. Now they won’t tell me anything. Thoughts?
You’ve definitely got a plausible claim here and I think you will end up getting approved if you clearly articulated all this in your application. Betsy DeVos is to blame for the delays – before she took over, it was about 6 months – 1 year waiting time to hear back on an application; now, I’m hearing about people waiting 2+ years!
I attended the Art Institute of Phoenix from 2002 to 2004 and was a year away from receiving my bachelors. I had to withdraw for a while because the cost was too much for us and I was pregnant. They told me that I was fine and could come back to complete my degree. They had also told me that I could transfer to any of their schools because my Husband was in the military and there was a possibility of him being transferred. Fast forward 2 years later, I had been harassed and bullied by the student loan companies. They took tax returns, garnished me, threatened me, etc. I was attempting to go back to school in Oklahoma so I went to UCO to see if I could finish my degree. They did not accept or recognize credits from the Art Institutes. Come to find out no school in the state would. I called the Art Institute of Dallas to see if they would let me finish my year online and travel the 2 hours once in a while when needed. They said they would not accept all of my credits because they taught a different interior design program than Phoenix. I called phoenix to see if I could finish online and was advised they changed their program and only 22 of my over 70 credits were any good. I can’t get a job anywhere in the field now. After the student loan companies taking what they could I owe $6,000. Last year I was advised to apply for Borrower Defense so I did. It has not been a year and nothing has been done. They advised me in Feb that my loans had to be consolidated into a federal loan to qualify so I did which dropped my credit score. The lady I spoke to today said she knows of apps sitting for over 2 years. My family is in limbo and we can’t buy a house until these are fixed. I could pay it off next year when we sell our current home but I hate giving them my money when they have taken so much and I have nothing to show for it.
It’s true that Borrower’s Defense Requests are basically sitting in limbo still, thanks to Betsy DeVos’s Student Loan Reforms.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any good advice for you other than to hang tight and keep your fingers crossed that this will work out.
I was a student at Everest college and graduate in 2009. When I enrolled I informed them that I didn’t not have a GED they told me it was ok as long as I got it at some point in my career.
While I was a student their were a lot of things that happened that were completely unprofessional like teachers going out to strip clubs with students, teachers showing provocative pictures during class hours but what really sent me over the edge was the fact that students who enrolled several months after I originally started graduated with me.
Many of the job applications wouldn’t even consider my diploma from Everest valid, I ended up working in the medical field by working my way up from reception to medical assistant.
I later bumped into one of the students who graduated with me but had only attended the school for three months and he pretty much told me he paid them off so he could graduate sooner for legal purposes.
I didn’t even end up finding out that Everest closed until I found a Facebook article about it. I sent my application for forgiveness in March of 2017 and they told me they had a year to process the claim, during that time my loans would be placed in forbearance. I called back March of 2018 and was told that the forbearance was extended another year while they processed the claim but that I should at least make minimum payments to cover intrest that would still be accruing.
Do you think I have a good chance at getting this forgiven. I was also wondering if it would be smart to pay a large lump sum towards my loan in case I do get denied? If I got approved would I be refunded what I paid while the loan was being processed?
I would not recommend paying a large lump sum towards your loan, but I would recommend making those minimum payments to cover interest charges in case your request is denied. The thing is, you’re supposed to get approval for refunds (at least partial refunds, if not everything), but it can take years for everything to process, so I would definitely not count on getting any money back. Only pay what you absolutely have to!
I am pretty sure I’d be able to qauilty for the borrowers defense, I attended the art institute of Pittsburgh-online in 2008. That was an absolute joke. They scamed out out of over 11 grand. They were sending me bills while I was attending when I wasn’t supposed to pay anything while still in school. The classrooms where also a joke. Made me buy a bunch of crap I didn’t need, I wish I would’ve known better. I heard there is a law suit against that college because of these issues do you know if that is true? I wish this nightmare was over.
There is definitely a lawsuit against the Art Institutes, but I would advise that you look into the Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment option as well. Check out my page about Art Institute Loan Forgiveness for details on how the process works.
Hi Tim, I was contacted by phone by a company called *redacted* who told me about the Borrower’s Defense and who charge $700-$1000.00 to help with the application process. Have you heard of this business and do you know if they are legit?
This sounds like a total scam to me. The domain name alone is scandalous-sounding enough that I’d avoid any contact with them. You can handle a BDAR Discharge entirely on your own simply by following the instructions, telling the truth, and if you were truly scammed, then you’ll qualify for forgiveness. Don’t pay these guys anything.
I had a quick question, as of late the Art Institute of California – Orange County is closing down. I graduated back in 2012, does that mean I can still apply for any of these loan forgiveness things? Thanks!
No, it doesn’t work that way. Check out my page on the Closed School Loan Discharge Program for details.
Basically, you have to have attended the school within a certain period of time from when they shut down, and you have to have never graduated or transferred credits either. Because you graduated, you’re automatically excluded from a Closed School Discharge.
On the bright side, you may still be able to qualify for a Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Discharge! Look at my page on Discharging Art Institute Debt for details on how to go about that.
Ah, perfect. I’ll take a look at that link. Thank you very much!
Hi Tim, This has been a real eye opener reading through a lot of this stuff. I was wondering if you could tell me if my situation has a shot at this or if I should call a hotline number or what. I have 2 degrees, a bachelors and a masters both of which I am not using and I feel like I was cheated on both. Bachelors is from the IL institute of Art which are now all closing, this was 2004-2008 that I got it. I was told that the degree would cost me about 46K. I didn’t realize the difference between private and federal loans at the time. They said they would worry about that for me and they would get me what’s best for me. I ended up is almost ALL private loans, variable interest rates, unsubsidized. By the time I graduated, I owed over 80K. I was paying monthly, but the balances were going UP! I was also promised help with job placement from a portfolio show afterwards and 6 months after graduation for leads and help with placement. Well they sent companies the wrong dates for our portfolio show, so nobody showed up, and they refused to give us a 2nd one. I only got 2 emails of job leads with the 6 month followup, which were all 3 month out of state contract jobs..so not very realistic.
In 2011, I decided to help my situation and go back to school for a different field. I went through Keller (devry’s masters program). I originally wanted a 2nd bachelors degree but they told me no, the government wont fund a 2nd bachelors so I should go for a masters. Since I was going from the art field to the IT field now, I pushed back, thinking that I would need more of a foundational education for a good job. They assured me a masters would be the way to go, not having the bachelors wouldn’t matter and they also helped with job placement for life and I could expect a salary of 70k plus with this degree. So I went for it. This time all federal loans. The problem is that after no one would hire me because my masters degree is a management degree and I don’t have the foundational certifications to start at the bottom rung nor would anyone hire me directly into a managerial role fresh from school. I would have had to go back and get some foundational certifications to be able to start out around 30k…These were jobs I was finding myself because that whole things about job placement for life?….I called looking for the Aid and no one knew what I was talking about. Said that the best they could do is refer me to Devry campus career fairs…but those are like fast food and retail jobs…nothing to do with my degree and no help in my field. They told me they don’t have any other job placement or job finding programs available. So I was lied to all around from bachelors to masters. I now have a total of over 200k in loans between both private and federal. 120k or so from the art institute and the rest from Keller.
I have been paying on these for years and they have only gone UP. I feel like I have been had from both degrees in different ways.
Any suggestions where to start?
It sounds like you’ve experienced the worst of the worst in the higher ed industry – for profit schools overpromising and underdelivering. I think both your stories sound like you could potentially qualify for a BDAR Discharge, but the Keller one is more compelling since they said that you “could expect a salary of 70k plus with this degree” – that is illegal behavior, and that line alone means you could get the entire loan discharged.
I am not sure that your explanation from your Bachelor’s program would cut it though – it doesn’t sound like they promised anything specific, other than trying to help with job placement, then half-assing it. They can still say “We tried…”. You need to find something more meaningful that they did, like promising a set salary, position, title, etc.
I don’t think the “It should cost $40k” will be enough, because someone at the Department of Education will say “Why didn’t you figure out the loan part for yourself? You signed the paperwork, you should have realized it’d be $70k.”
I would spend some more time thinking about what specifically you were told, promised, etc., do a little research to see what others have said about these schools, and come up with a more compelling story before submitting your BDAR application. I think you’re close, but need to do a little work.
I cannot thank you enough for this information, I felt like I was just floating in space with all the mystery surrounding this program. Especially with Betsy DeVos’ efforts, I was worried it had been frozen or stopped. I applied in October of 2017 and haven’t heard anything other than that it was received. After that, the borrower defense hotline has no further info available on applications in general. I see from other people’s experience that it is just a waiting game, but are people still getting approvals? And any idea if submitted applications will still be considered if DeVos has her way and scraps the program?
Thanks for your kind words! It’s still a waiting game and approvals are still rolling out (slowly!). Even if DeVos wins and shuts BDAR down entirely, I think the Government will HAVE to recognize any applications that have already been submitted. You should be grandfathered in, and if your app gets approved, you should receive forgiveness.
I graduated in 2000 with an Associates in Electrical Engineering with the impression that upon completion I would be able to get a position in that field making a great salary; however, that degree hasn’t done anything for me but leave me with a whole lot of student loan debt. Here I am today typing in the schools name: ATI Career Training Center, 1 NE 19th St, Miami, FL… Only to find out that school has been closed due to fraud. After reading a majority of the results it angers me to know that the Department of Education isn’t sending out letters to all students past and present to inform them of either a lawsuit or discharge regarding said school. I work for the federal government now as a Nursing Assistant no thanks to the degree. I know PSLF, but why should I have my loan forgiven when I should’ve never been in the situation to begin with.
You may be able to qualify for a Borrower’s Defense Discharge if you can prove that the school did something illegal to you!
My daughter attended Kaplan college 2009-2011, receiving a paralegal associates degree. She decided to attend this school over the community college because of being led to believe that they would help her with job placement, that they had multiple job opportunities for their graduates. The only help she got was emails from the school with job listings from Monster.com, usually the same listings that she was finding on her own. They convinced her to take out $30,000 in loans for the program, and after 7 years, she still owes $28,000.
Kaplan closed a few years after she left the school, and she doesn’t have any of their materials that would support her claim. She was unable to find a job in the paralegal field, since most places wanted 3-5 years of experience or a BA. Is there a way to find materials from Kaplan for that time period? I read somewhere else that Kaplan was possibly one of those for profit schools that defrauded their students. How would we pursue this without any documentation?
She doesn’t need to have anything in writing to file a Borrower’s Defense Claim, and I would tell her to absolutely pursue it. You MAY be able to find materials from Kaplan by using the Interent Archive’s Wayback Machine (https://archive.org/web/), which lets you plug a website into it and look at old versions… perhaps you could find something where Kaplan’s site said they’ll guarantee job placement? Or that they’ve got XX% of students finding jobs in their field?
Honestly, you don’t need it though. Most of the time people aren’t able to provide actual documentation, and are still getting their Borrower’s Defense Claims approved anyway. For details on Kaplan itself, check out my post about Kaplan Refunds & The Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Program.
Thanks for all this great info. I have a question about the Navient BDARs. I got pregnant as I graduated college and my boyfriend was taking care of me for a few months after. When I went into repayment, I tried to apply for the income-based repayment plans and the Navient site and staff told me that I couldn’t apply if my income was 0$, but when I looked at info on other sites about these plans, they included 0$ incomes in their repayment tables for these plans and even mention it in their articles. Basically no one else acts like there are minimum income requirements for these programs, except Navient. Are all these other sites incorrect, or was Navient lying to me so that I couldn’t apply for income-based repayment? Can I apply for the BDAR if they lied about this and made me go on forebearance instead?
I’m pretty sure that Navient was wrong here and that you could use this as evidence for a BDAR claim. If you want to verify that, contact the Student Loan Ombudsman Group. Google their name for their contact details. This is a group of attorneys who offer FREE legal advice on student loan-related issues, and they can be trusted, as they’re fully backed by the US Government. Good luck!
I just stumbled on this site and thank goodness. I have been paying a $6,000 tuition loan since 1997 from a for profit school that closed (not sure when because I can only find its name listed on the government closed schools site). I still owe almost $9,000 after 21 years! Sallie Mae was my loan servicer til it was given over to Navient about 10 yrs. ago. I only have the certification I received from the school (which ended up being a useless piece of paper) but I have been making loan payments for 20 yrs except for a couple of deferments. About 6 years ago I called Navient to ask about options and they only offered me forebearance. 3 years ago I called again and they never provided me with any of the options for income based or loan forgiveness, they told me I didnt qualify. So they put me on a graduated payment plan which is $166/mo to be paid off by 2023. I looked at the form for the Borrower Defense repayment form and it asks about the school and transcripts and such so not sure how to answer that. And seeing the other comments, if they automatically put you on forebearance when you apply and its taking a year before they review… you are accumulating interest all that time. Im not sure if at this point I should just pay it by 2023 or do the Borrower Defense form.. Any insight on this? Thank you so much for this page!!
It sounds like you were given bad information, and that Navient basically tried to hide the fact that you could qualify for an Income-Based Repayment Plan, because they wanted to fleece you for additional money. I would try to pursue the Borrower’s Defense Discharge if I were you, but just know that it’s going to be an uphill battle because the system has basically ground to a halt in the past year as Betsy DeVos attempts to completely eliminate access to BDAR discharges. It’s still worth pursuing though, especially if you still owe $9,000!
I am a victim of the Silver State Helicopter School Fraud in Long Beach, CA. My original loan was Student Loan Xpress, but then went to American Education Services. Originally the loans were totaled of 69,000. But after the school went bankrupt in 2008 we sued them in a class action lawsuit getting back some of that money. All of it if you never completed a Private Pilot license. I unfortunately did complete the Private Pilot license program and got half way through. So I ended up having to pay 35,000 Instead of 69,000. Interest has been accruing and I have been in forbearance for years with the interest accruing. Now it is at 46,000. I feel like this loan is a huge burden on my life. And I’m paying for something I will never use! From a school that committed fraud and false advertising.
Does anyone else, or has anyone else had their loans discharged from this School?
I haven’t heard of this school, but I would definitely TRY to pursue a BDAR Discharge vs this debt because it sounds totally unreasonable.
Abraham, did you get any more information on this? I only got my Commercial license and and instrument rating and have to pay back $73,000. I have been paying interest only, but my payments are fixing to go up again.
Has anyone submitted their application online only to call back and check in 9 months later and be told that their application has not been received? (I’ve called every 60 days and they kept saying it’s just taking awhile to show up call back in another 60 days) I completed the application online, took a screenshot of the page and saved a copy of the PDF I submitted and was told it was not in database. Additionally, I was advised to email it instead after confirming that it was not received and still my application has not been put through. I submitted through the official link as well: https://borrowerdischarge.ed.gov and have been calling their hotline: (855) 279-6207 for status updates.
Anyone else having this experience and if so, how long and how many times did you have to resubmit for it to finally make it in the system? I was told by a representative (literally just got off the phone) that this happens quite a bit and I wasn’t the first person with this phone call.
Sounds like something maybe didn’t work when you submitted everything? Did you get any sort of confirmation email after submitting the paperwork? This is the first time I’ve had anyone complain about this… but if the guy on the phone said it happens often, then that’s a curious problem that DOE should definitely get a handle on… too bad Betsy DeVos isn’t doing her job and is fighting to destroy these programs instead of to protect them!
This happened to me in December of 2016. I submitted my application via email then called a week later to confirm receipt and i was told to give it a few weeks and call back. I called back in February of 2017 and i was told the application was never received and to resubmit. Thus i resubmitted the application and called back every two weeks until i was given confirmation in May 2017 that the application was indeed received.
Tim, I am glad that you are passing along the information I provided you regarding Internet Archive’s “Wayback Machine”. I hope this helps people in gathering the marketing materials and website information for their Borrowers Defense application.
I have federal loans consolidated into the IBR program with Great Lakes (originally from Direct Loans, SFA) and had private loans with Navient (originally from Sallie Mae). The loan amounts for both federal and private were very high, so we focused on aggressively paying off the private first and have now turned our attention to the federal loans. A couple of questions:
1) I’ve read many articles on the Navient lawsuits – I definitely fall victim under each of the allegations of CFPB against Navient. Does any of Betsy Devos’ recent actions affect the proceeding of that case? Will I be eligible for any reimbursement or refund since I’ve paid my navient loans in full? Should I look at the Borrower’s defense discharge? (looking at the federal student aid website, it seems I wouldn’t qualify for that; it doesn’t mention anything about using your lender as a reason for discharge.)
2) Regarding the individual state cases against navient – do you have to live in those states to gain any benefit from potential rulings?
3) We have also found multiple mistakes made with how my federal student loans were handled. Are there any resources you recommend for help figuring those out? A lawyer? Is CFPB still an option for help?
Thank you so much!
1) Yes, Betsy DeVos has been trying to stop the Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment Program dead in it’s tracks, and what she’s doing has slowed down application processing. I’m hearing people are waiting over a year to get a response for their BDAR applications. It’s still worth pursuing a BDAR Discharge, just realize that it’s going to take a lot longer to get approved than you’d like, and remember that you need to keep making payments until the approval comes through. If you’ve already paid your loan in full, that decreases the chance that you’ll get a refund, but it’s still possible. And yes, you can apply for forgiveness or a discharge against the lender.
2) The state-based cases will set a precedent that allows other states to sue as well, but if you’re not living in one of those states then when the lawsuits are settled you probably won’t receive anything from them. Your benefit will come in the aftermath, as the other state AGs pile on and everybody pulls the trigger with their own lawsuits.
3) You can try contacting CFPB, but I don’t know that they’ll get involved in individual cases. I’d go to the Student Loan Ombudsman Group, which is a Government-backed group of attorneys who help with student loan-related legal problems. They’re legit, and free, and you can find their contact info by Googling their name.
I’m going to file a Borrowers Defense letter online. In preparing that letter I need to provide as much verifiable information as I can. I graduated with my undergraduate in 1989 and grad in 2008. I’ve received so much conflicting information from these loan servicers, Not been provided any information about any programs except forbearance and been denied numerous times my request for written documents- they want to everything over the phone. I thought I was getting my loans out of default one year when I made on time monthly payments for a year- at the end I received NO. Information or documents about what was the next step. I went to school in Washington state and I’m sure that Navient was one of my servicers. Where do I find out what All my student loans are and who is or has serviced them? I think I consolidated at one point , other times I’d get notices my loans were sold. I am so totally confused and I dont get my tax returns anymore- and have No information what student loans that is for ( no documents received and now EDMC just sent a letter to my employer to garnish my wages.
It definitely sounds like you’ve got a case against the Servicers because they should be providing you things in writing, and they should absolutely be telling you about options other than Forbearance. Also, it sounds like they may have screwed you on your attempt to get your loans out of Delinquency via Rehabilitation? If that’s the case, then they’d definitely be on the hook for restitution there, as long as you followed the rules of the program, and were then denied.
You need to get the details about what your loans are from whoever is servicing them now. Are your loans Federal or Private? If they’re Federal, you can find out who your servicer is by visiting the National Student Loan Data System and looking into it. That’s the first step to figuring out what’s going on with your loans.
Next, if you’ve received a notice that they’re going to garnish your wages, you need to look at my post on Stopping Student Loan Wage Garnishments.
I went to ITT and while that alone should be enough to get my loans discharged, it was not and Navient shot my discharge for school closure based on the fact that I dropped out a couple of months before the school closed. Can I still try for this given that the school was recently sued?
So the way the Closed School Loan Discharge Program works is that you have to have still been at the school within a certain time period of it’s closure. ALL ITT Tech students won’t qualify because if you had left years before the school closed (or even too many months before), then you’re not eligible.
You could try a BDAR Discharge though, after your Closed School Discharge was denied, so yeah. I’d still pursue this.
Hello, I am a graduate from Capella attending 2009 – 2015 with a Ph D in Psychology. This degree was to be completed in 4 years as per the recruiter: 1.5 years for course work and then 2.5 years for dissertation. The issue that I ran into was things kept changing…..for example I spent 2 quarters writing my research methodology only to be told that the form had changed to scientific merit review form and I would have to start over? Due to lack of resources, committee members, and mentor overloaded the scientific merit review form took 2 years to get approved. According to the course and milestones I should have been able to complete in 4 quarters. I contacted my academic advisor who sent me to a head of doctoral program but there was no response to my concern that my submission was not reviewed for over 10 weeks (that’s a whole quarter of tuition) . I have this in an email and will submit. Additionally there were promises that this degree will allow you to work as a professor, consultant, administrator etc. They also promised career placement assistance and resume/CV that would help provide employment. Well the degree has not provided me a job as a professor, consultant or administrator. Capella will not take a graduate for a teaching position even when graduated top of class. I am having a hard time finding emails, and marketing information provided back in 2009 when I feel that the program was a bait and switch.
My question is how do I go about getting the marketing materials from 2009 showing the course work and promised employment opportunities? Do you have a link for Capella Ph D General Psychology? Do you have links to other Class Action Suits of bait and switch against Capella during 2009 to 2015. Resources got very thin around 2013 when mentors, committee members were unavailable yet charging for class with no turn around on the submitted assignments. Thank you in advance.
You don’t necessarily need to get the marketing materials from 2009 showing these things; you can simply explain what you experienced and as long as you’re close, you should be good to go.
Check out my page on the Capella Lawsuits and Student Loan Forgiveness Program for some details on the school and other arguments that people have brought forth though, as this could be useful to you.
And finally, if you look at the Internet Archive’s “Wayback Machine”, and enter Capella’s URL into it, you may be able to find old versions of their website where the types of claims you want to find are made, and you can take screenshots to include in your BDAR Application. That’s really the only way I know of unearthing old marketing messages.
Hopefully this helps, and good luck with your application! It definitely sounds like you have a good reason for pursuing this, so I hope it works out for you.
Hi, my name is Rosalie and I need to know if you offer help with loan certification? I have filed papers for a 1988 student loan and I was denied due to not having enough information to back my claim I think. Do you have experience with these issues?
I don’t help with Certification. What do you mean by you were told you didn’t have enough information to back your claim? What was your claim? And what did you include in the BDAR application?
Hi, I went to Devry several years back, dropped out and got $60,000 in student debt. I am scared of what I’m up against, I called what I now know is Navient and tried to get the information for student debt forgiveness, they told me to check online or set up a income based payment. What should I do? I am thinking of getting a lawyer to help out, any guys you recommend in the Ca North bay area?
I would recommend looking at my page about DeVry Forgiveness, which will walk you through the BDAR application process, and give you some ideas on how you could qualify for a discharge. Check it out here: https://www.forgetstudentloandebt.com/student-loan-relief-programs/private-student-loan-relief/private-student-loan-debt-forgiveness-programs/devry-student-loan-forgiveness-and-refund-program/
What if I paid up all my debt. What do I do now. How can I be reimbursed?
If you already paid everything then you may be out of luck, but I would still try to file a Borrower’s Defense application and see if you can get approved for a refund.
I am over 3 years into this process. My son attended Wyotech and they promised him a job on the North slope in Alaska (where we lived at the time) after his graduation. They also did not tell me that he’d have to go get his advanced Diesel degree after he attended the Sacramento campus in order to get his certification in heavy diesel. So, his federal student loan was discharged over a year ago, and Nelnet issued him 24 checks for a refund on what he had paid. I have to parent plus loans, one which I was just notified was discharged, but no mention of a refund for what I have paid in, and Nelnet can’t tell me. In addition, I have a second parent plus loan that I still do not have any information on. I’ve read through the changes to the program, and how now the DOE will be determining discharges, and I still can’t figure out if my outstanding loan (for the same program and under the allowed timelines) will be discharged and whether or not DOE will be issuing refunds, or if they are now just discharging the outstanding portions of the loans. Do you know or can you explain how the rules have changed?
Parent PLUS Loans are much harder to get discharged because the rules around them aren’t clear. There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to how they work, what they’re eligible for, etc., and I don’t have any better information than the Government puts out, so unfortunately I can’t help much with this. Also, DOE has been attacking these discharge programs relentlessly, so even if they are eligible, your discharge application is likely to remain in limbo for some indeterminable period of time. Betsy DeVos has basically gutted the ability to complete discharge applications and issue the benefit that she’s supposed to be overseeing.
General question here, I was attending a college and graduated in 2010. That college has now closed it’s
Doors. In regards to my student loans when it was pertaining to an online degree and all the information was provided via phone calls nothing was ever provided via regular mail or email in regards to correspondence. And even though I graduated would this still be eligible to file?How would I submit that if I am filing for a BDAR if everything was provided over the phone and there is nothing to go by document whys in regards to the schooling information. How do I confirm how many credits I would have needed for my associates degree? And would it be best to contact an attorney in regards to this issue?
You can still qualify for a BDAR Discharge even if you graduated, and even if all the information that was provided to you was given over the phone. I’m not sure why you’re asking about the credits for your associates degree… I don’t think that part will matter at all. What you need to do to qualify for BDAR Discharges is write up an explanation of how your school defrauded you, clearly explaining that your loan would never have existed in the first place had the school not committed some sort of fraud against you. If you can clearly articulate this, then you can get them to approve you for a discharge.
My son went to Wyotech in Wyoming in 2014. We were told that it would be 9 months and he would graduate, they had great job placement afterwards and would come out making major money with this certificate. He couldn’t get federal funding for school so my husband co-signed on a personal loan (which worked with Wyotech), for him to go to school. Wyotech has now changed to Corinthian Schools I believe, Wyotech was bought out, after many law suits against them. The school and recruiter promised this 17 year old kid many things (job placement after graduation, high pay after graduation because of Wyotech being such a good institute….) and it didn’t happen. No help with job placement and he couldn’t find a job for months after graduation and even when he did pay was minimal. Recruiter also pressured him in to getting signed up or he would miss out on getting in because classes were getting filled up fast. Reluctantly we decided to help him with his dream of going to Wyotech. Now he has a $48,000 dollar personal loan, which is also on our credit. He hasn’t been able to pay the crazy payment that the Bank (which Wyotech works with) and has been in forbearance on and off since he has graduated. He can’t even afford the interest payment most the time. I really think we got duped into this and just wondering if there is anything we can do? Thanks
Check out my page on Wyotech Loan Forgiveness for some ideas about what you guys might be able to do. You can find it here: https://www.forgetstudentloandebt.com/student-loan-relief-programs/federal-student-loan-relief/federal-forgiveness-programs/wyotech-student-loan-forgiveness-programs/
I completed my degree through UOP in 2011. But they promised me a job at the end of my graduation. I looked for over 3 years and was told my degree didn’t mean anything. I went back to school in 2014 at Univeristy of NM and only half of my credits transferred over, saying that because the title of the course didn’t match up along the lines that it shouldve been. Since I went back to school and have acquired student loans from UNM how would the loan forgiveness work for someone like me?
I think you could still have a chance at going after UOP, but you just need to be really careful about how your frame the argument in your BDAR Application. You need to make it very clear that something illegal was done to you, some promise was made, or some process was failed, etc., so make sure you clearly articulate how you were wronged, or what false advertisement you were told, etc. and you’ll have a chance at getting your discharge approved.
HI there, thank you for all of the information. I cam e upon your site after reaching out to a different company about getting my school loans forgiven because of fraudulent behavior on my colleges part (Walden University). I was thinking of using them to help with the filing process but am afraid they could be a scam. Have you heard of the national credit protection agency? when I googled their number it came up with a debt consolation company. They want a lot of information (tax return, pay stubs, loan details, etc.) I am very afraid of scams in this day and age but Walden truly did swindle me into thinking they were going to help me get a higher paying job as an online professor. They have drug their feet every step of the dissertation process and I am still attending since I have so much invested. 135,000 debt and growing!! Do I have to drop out to be eligible? This company says I do…Any thoughts?
I haven’t heard of that company before and I’d be careful about providing too much information to ANYONE. I would not drop out, and it is not required that you fail to get your degree to be eligible for BDAR, so that doesn’t sound accurate and makes me suspicious, personally. Be very careful about who you choose to trust out there, because there are tons of scams floating around. If you’re earning a pHD, then I think you’re probably more than capable of handling the entire BDAR process yourself. Just read the official Government requirements, look at the application form, and you should be able to write it all up easily. It’s way less complicated than a Dissertation.
Tim, if we are filling out something to go after Navient, do we put our school info in the BDAR app? I’m not finding a place to put the loan servicer in the online application.
Yes, you list the school in that field, even if you’re going after the servicer. Explain the servicer issues in the part where you get to write about what happened and why you think you deserve the discharge.
First of all, Tim, great site! Very full of info, and hope, in some cases. Let me give you my case and see what you think about this. Let me just say, I would love to only have $16k in student loan debt! I went to chiropractic school and have over $275k in student loans!! My school really didn’t say anything about promising me the ability to pay anything pack, but my issue is with Navient. I consolidated my debt several years ago in an attempt to start an income based program to start chalking up years to forgiveness. The process of consolidation was easy, but everything hereafter has been a huge hassle. Every year, for the recertification process with Navient, I get panic and anxiety as the process is never smooth and often takes MONTHS to get done. Last year, I knew the certification was due in May for the upcoming year (if I didn’t get income based, my loans would be $2500 a month!). I started the process with Navient in the beginning of february, a full 3 months in advance, due to my experiences with them the previous years. When I called to get the process started, they directed me to the student loans website. I filled out the app, and called them back, but was told, almost a dozen times and phone calls later, that they hadn’t received any applications. As the time got closer to the deadline, Navient hadn’t received any paperwork from me, after I had sent in the app via email, fax, and snail mail. Several times I spoke to them about a fax number, and got a different number each time. When I would call back immediately after faxing, I couldn’t get ahold of the same person ever again. When I spoke to the reps over the phone about payment calculation on my current income, I was told by one agent that the income was based on net income, not gross. Then multiple other agents told me the same thing: based on my salary and family size. Not once did they say it was based on my adjusted gross income, which was much lower, and they never asked for tax info-just my paycheck stubs. Mind you, this was all after several months of them losing my stuff and never processing the income based program-which was done incorrectly anyway. Finally, the deadline got there and they said they had received the documentation just that morning and would take several weeks to process, so they were going to put me on a forbearance, again. This time, the forbearance would be from May to September, so they could ‘process’ my application. When September came around, the payment was higher than promised. I called and asked why, and they said I didn’t qualify for the program with the lower payments. I asked why and they told me their reasons, for which I replied, “that’s something you definitely could’ve told me when I was on the phone applying! It’s simple information!” To that response, I always would receive the general, “different agent”, “no notes in computer”, etc. For years, Navient has steered me into forbearance that I have not wanted, but they made it seem like it was my only option. I have even had agents tell me to lie on my family size! Yes, 2 agents told me to add dependents so that I could get a lower payment because they don’t check tax returns and would never know. I have also been told to let my payments go into default because it doesn’t affect my credit. I could go on and on, including requests for them to call me if any information was missing, notify me when they received my faxes, emails, etc. What should I do?
I was talked into attending Kaplan’s online BS in 2005, thought it was a dream come true! I’d be able to go to school online while working 40+ per week and raising a family. Jumped in whole heartedly! Gathered some debt in the process of course. Graduated in 2007, waited a couple of months and then went and got my MBA through them. Thought I would actually be able to afford to have a life for myself and my children, only to find out NO ONE considers my degrees through Kaplan as valid. I wish I would;ve known that $60k ago.
I did apply for the Borrower’s Defense in Sept 2017 and, like everyone else, have been waiting to hear back on it. The list of the things they did hits just about everyone of your points regarding deception to get me to sign on, so I’m hopeful that I’ll get my debt discharged and maybe be able to have a life again.
I actually make LESS now than I did when I first started attending their programs… and with a full student loan payment I simply can’t afford even the basics anymore and have almost depleted the 401k that I had (prior to signing up) as well as accruing substantial credit card debt just trying to put food on my table.
As of right now I can’t find anything that actually states where DeVos is in the process and what criteria are going to be used to determine what, if anything, is going to be done. I also can’t find anything to determine where my application status is. If you call the government helpline they just state that they are being processed as quickly as they can. I don’t know what to believe.
I have been in forebearance since I applied for the discharge and that has been a godsend simply because I’ve been able to actually pay my bills again and don’t have the constant stress and worry each month. The forebearance was supposed to end in Sept but I received a notice that it was extended to March, 2019.
Where does any of this actually stand? Have there been new rules implemented yet that are simply buried and difficult to find? Is DeVos going to look out for us little-people that make up middle America? Is there any end in sight? I’m already 50, I’ll be paying these loans off well past the point that I would’ve been able to retire and I just have no clue. Had I have gotten the employment that an MBA should’ve gotten me I could’ve afforded the payments and have been just about done by now.
The situation has been changing rapidly, as Betsy DeVos keeps trying to kill BDAR off, but Congress won’t let her get away with it, and the Media is now paying pretty close attention to the story, so I don’t think it’s going to disappear. What we may be seeing is that loans are forgiven in terms of a percentage of the total amount owed, rather than the previous all or nothing approach, but it’s still too early to tell how everything will shake out. There are tons of lawsuits that will all need to be unwound before we find out exactly what the new rules will look like, and I think DOE is so backed up on reviewing BDAR applications that they’re just sitting and waiting for the legalese to be sorted out. Unfortunately, for now, you’re just going to have to keep making payments.
I read somewhere online that if you filed your borrower’s defense to loan repayment application, your payment is deferred, and it has been more than one year since they received your application and no decision has been made, they will wave whatever interest accrued after the one year. Is that true?
That sounds nice, but the BDAR Program is basically a work in progress at this point as Betsy DeVos has been trying to kill it off for months. It’s POSSIBLE that you’ll qualify for the deferment, interest-free, but I wouldn’t count on it. Try contacting the DOE for specifics. They will have the most up to date information.
As far as the tax issue goes, if you can show you are insolvent you don’t have to pay the additional taxes. This is normally done with Chapter 7 bankruptcy but would apply to any loan forgiveness if you are insolvent. You create a table showing your debts and your assets and file a Form 982 with your taxes. See…
Hello Tim. I started reading about the lawsuits against Navient this morning and ended up on your website. I consolidated my federal student loans from 2 different loan servicers to Navient about 18 months ago. So far I’ve put in for 2 separate year long forebesrances because I’m so frustrated with them I’m not sure what to do. I’ve called them on so many different occasions about finding the right repayment program for my situation and every single time I get a different answer. Do this do that check the website oh you can do this. And for the record right after I consolidated my loans with them I filled out a repayment application 2 see what I qualify for and was given the wrong information by them and completely screwed everything up. I was filling it out on the phone with them so I don’t mess it up and guess what it got messed up. They can’t get their stories straight and now its costing me more money because they keep tacking on interest to it every month in forbearance.
My question is I owe about $16.000 total to them in federal direct loans. What good options do you think I have. A phone call to them would be fruitless because like you said, they aren’t my friend and do not have my interest at heart and can’t give me a straight honest answer. Right before I put in on forbearance again, I received a new monthly bill for them for $150 a month. This is after them telling me I qualify for a very low payment plan(not sure which one), telling me I pre qualified for it, and it should be good to go.
I’m so confused and so tired of their lies and deception, and non help. I called them so many times on break at work…on days off….and it’s to the point, I throw my arms up and say what can I do.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I think you’ve got a great shot at being approved for a Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Program Discharge because the servicer gave you the wrong information several times, and ended up costing you additional funds. That’s basically exactly what the Borrower’s Defense Program was created to do, so I would pursue a BDAR Discharge by filing the official application.
Hi, Great site.
I went to the art institute and was forced to have private student loans over federal. I have paid 32k on a 50k loan and still owe 41k. What help is there for people like me.
Chris – you may be able to get that Art Institute loan entirely discharged. Check out my page on the Art Institute Lawsuit & Student Loan Forgiveness Program.
I attended Florida Career College (Anthem College) from 2006-2008. They promised transferred credits and job placement; neither of which availed. Have you heard of successful discharges from this institution?
I don’t have any direct reports about the school, but I’ve seen lots of complaints online and they appear to fit the mold of the types of schools that end up being hammered by BDAR applications. I’ve actually got a post about Anthem in the works, but the process for applying would be similar to what I outline on any of the other school-based forgiveness pages I’ve already published. If I were you, I’d pursue this.
Hi my husband went to a school in 1989. The school was one of those predatory schools and used false claims to get him to go and qualify for loans he should never have received. He did not have a GED as well. The school closed shortly after he went, opened as Everest University and recently was reopened again as another name. Loans from these schools are forgiven but my husbands is not to date because no one has set the forgiveness that far back. The loan says it originated on 2002 but he went to the school in 1989.. According to Experian, It says it will fall off his credit report on Feb 2019 but we are wanting to buy a house now. It is not in CAVIRS if that makes sense to you but it is listed as a closed collection account with the US Department of Education.
Should he just pay the 10K loan and move on or should he try to do another Ability to Benefit Form? The last one was rejected because he didn’t put Everest University on it – even though he never went to that school they later bought his school that he went to that lied to him, had him go without a GED and closed on the students. The records are so old that no one understands us when we call in. He went to Tampa College, a school that was sued by many students and apart of the Everest University Scam. He cannot go to another school with those credits he earned, he cannot graduate from the school that scammed him… it’s an absolute mess. I am writing you as a last hail mary in case you can help. He is saying he is just going to pay the 10K because it is ruining his life.
I wouldn’t waste $10,000 on this. I’d try another Ability to Benefit Form and list Everest if that’s what they want you to do. It’s not ruining his life if he just has to wait until Feb 2019… that’s really not that far away! Plus, the housing market is probably at or near it’s peak in a lot of high-demand places across the country, so waiting could end up saving you money on the purchase of a new home too.
Tim- this is the response i got last year when i applied for borrowers defense last year :We have approved the forbearance you requested to postpone your payments through Federal Student Aid’s (FSA) Borrower Defense to Repayment Program effective 08/23/2017. Your forbearance will end on 03/13/2018, and we will send your monthly billing statement about three weeks before your next payment is due.
How do i go after the discharge? Does this only buy my a window of non-payments? I want them to get wiped out and i keep referencing devrys lawsuit and how it affected me since i was enrolled in the talked about time frame. Should i just keep applying for borrowers defense every time it expires? Thank Tim!
That’s interesting… it sounds like they approved you for Forbearance, perhaps while they were considering what to do with your Borrower’s Defense application? Almost like they’re stalling for time, trying to catch up to the record number of applications they’ve been receiving. I would keep applying if they’re approving Forbearances repeatedly. Maybe they haven’t been able to process your application soon enough each time, but I’m not sure. Try getting in touch with someone directly from the Department of Education to see if they can give you a clearer answer, because this is a little weird.
I’m 56k in student loan debt and cant find a job for what I wrnt to school for and been out for 4yrs. I went to school for x-ray associate science 15yrs ago at High Tech Institute in Nashville, Tn and took out 20k loans and no one would hire me afterwords because of what school I went to and I was forced to get a low paying job in manufacturing. People look down at me all the time make comments and I went through a divorce 3yrs ago that cost me 7500. In 2011, I went to University of Phoenix for Bachelors in Finance and 35k in loans again and no one will hire me because of the school I went through 20 interviews. I am struggling and stuck in low paying job. I need help.
Gotchya, thanks Tim. Really nice of you to able to help us all out and give us advice.
What about the pell grant, is it also refundable
I’m not sure how the Pell Grant’s work with Borrower’s Defense. I’ll see if I can figure that out and let you know if I can get a clear answer on it.
This Amanda Adams again when I was at High Tech Institute they lured me in making it look easy to get a job afterwords without any problems and stable job with easy student loan payments. Lastly, when I went to University of Phoenix they done the same making it look easy to get a job after graduation in finance area. University of Phoenix made it seem like the tuition was affordable and employers would hire you no problem.Banks won’t hire me as a teller that is sad just because of the school.
I hear what you’re saying, but you’ll need to make a stronger argument than “They made it sound easy to get a job” on your BDAR form or it’s going to get denied. You need to make a specific allegation about something ILLEGAL that the school did to you that convinced you attend their program. They need to have promised something they couldn’t deliver on, lied about some aspect of their program or the results other graduates have received, or committed some other form of fraud against you. I would advise thinking about EXACTLY what was promised, EXACTLY what was said, and seeing if you can remember something more concrete.
Hi Tim. My husband went to Universal Technical Institute (UTI) from 2005-2007 and got an automotive certification. Only thing is that this for profit school hood-winked him and his family into taking out over $30,000 in loans when they knew he had a physical disability. He was born with cerebral palsy and has limited functionality of his left hand. There is no way that he can ever meet the industry acceptable “book time” for working on a job and thus was never able to gain employment in the industry. It’s physically apparent what his limitations are and he met with them in person before enrolling. Problem is we have no documentation of this. I do have documentation of his disability, via medical records. Do we have a case and what would I need to submit as evidence?
In addition to that he has Navient who has constantly promoted forebearance while he struggled for year to obtain decent employment. Should we also file against them? What would I have to submit for this?
Good question here, and a complicated one. Really quickly… can your Husband claim total and permanent disability? If so, he can file for a complete discharge via the Total and Permanent Disability Discharge Program. Google the name for details on how that works.
If not, then yes, I do think you’d have a legitimate chance at a Borrower’s Defense Discharge, but it’s going to require writing up a really air-tight explanation of why you guys feel the school defrauded him. I would probably consult with an attorney before proceeding, and make sure to get their help when writing your letter, because you need to prove that the school did something illegal here, and I’m not familiar enough with the laws on disabilities to comment on whether or not they committed some kind of fraud just by knowing he was disabled.
You could definitely go after Navient. You’d use the standard Borrower’s Defense Application, same as for attacking an individual school. You need to have something to attack them with too, though, so make sure you’ve got an argument there that claims they did something illegal/fraudulent as well, like perhaps giving him bad advice that caused him to rack up even more debt, knowingly increasing their own bottom line while failing to look out of his own interests. Something like that could work.
Went to Chamberlain College, part of the shady DeVry. I was a single mother and was told I could go to school and work. They still even advertise this. Well, not so much. This is an accelerated program. Maybe someone who dosnt need to study can go to school and work. I found it very difficult and was then forced to take out private loans to pay. I’ve got so much debt along with insane interest rate. It’s scary. Do I have a chance with this?
It’s possible you could qualify for a discharge, but you have to prove that they did something illegal, and I’m not sure you’d have a great case by saying that they promised you could work and go to school at the same time, because I’m sure some people are able to do that. It’s worth TRYING for just in case it does work, but I’d look for a stronger argument. I’m not familiar with Chamberlain so I can’t comment on them specifically, but use Google to see if you can find any stories about them getting in trouble for lying about job placement rates, salaries, or doing some other false advertising. That’s the way more of these Discharges are getting approved for other schools.
I was wondering what your thoughts on this?
Will this affect us before july 1 2017 or is it only for borrowers after? And what does this mean? tiers off of income…???
I think they’re trying to apply those tier rules to all BDR claims, regardless of when they were submitted, but it also looks like they’re only applying these tiers to Corinthian claims, based on the last sentence of the first section of the article. It’s confusing, to say the least, as is virtually everything that emerges from our current Education Secretary. I wish I could give you a better answer, but for now, it’s all speculation until things get worked out. I’m watching the news daily to see what’s happening and will update everyone as soon as I have new details.
I also called the BDR Hotline and they seem like they didn’t know what i was talking about on the tier deal… I told him to look on the website!!!…The ed.gov!!!…. and looks through and tells me that cases are being processed and it shouldnt matter… it depends when the loan was issued is what it falls under?….
I have student loans that are over 30 years old. My loans were serviced by several different loan providers. I paid them down but due to economic hardship I began struggling to make payments. Navient currently services my loans. During the last few years Navient advised the only choice I had was a forbearance. I was put on forbearance close to 50 times. I was told over and over again that forbearance was my only options. I was never told of other options for repayment or loan forgiveness. I made repeated efforts to get my interest rate lowered from 8% but was told that could never happen I was never told that as government employee I had forgiveness options. I am now 57 years old with no hope of being able to pay off a $21,000.00 debt. Any advice you recommend would be appreciated.
Sounds like you’ve got a good chance at a Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment Discharge. I would definitely pursue this because Navient is in so much trouble with the Federal Government that there’s really never been a better time to go after their loans. Check out my page on Navient Student Loan Discharges for details.
I enrolled at Westwood College in 2008, In their very first Construction Management program. I was told with my prior construction experience and the degree they offer, the would guarantee a job with a construction management firm as a consultant or manager. I was told the current salary I was making 70K would be well above 100K. I was also told my credits would transfer to the University of Colorado for a potential MBA if I decided to do so. Of course none of their promises were kept including job placement. I was told that if any training or update of education was needed in areas like codes, or CAD classes, I would be able to take those classes free of charge. Since Westwood has closed their doors due to both Federal and State lawsuits I am wondering if I have a chance with this program.
Yes, you still have a great chance of getting a Borrower’s Defense Discharge approved here, and I would highly recommend that you pursue it. Your story sounds like the perfect example of a school committing fraudulent behavior (lying, false advertising, making false promises, etc.). I think you’ve got a great shot at getting approved.
Regretfully, when I was an irresponsible 18 year old, I signed for a $21,000 “”Private”” student loan through JP Morgan Chase back in 2008 at around 5-6% interest I believe. I attended some college, however I did not graduate as I started in a career in which did not require a degree. The loan amount was used up for only THREE semesters and was deferred while I was in school and the interest rate was increased little by little over time until it finally reached 9.75%. The largest the Principle balance was $29,900 which was a couple years ago and is currently down to $26,200. I also had multiple sallie mae loans which totaled around $5,000 and I’ve since paid those off. I read your response in a previous comment “If you have a private loan, you’re screwed.” And I couldn’t agree more. The most the loan servicer offered me is “Economic hardship” for 1 year no interest payments and decreased payment amount. I will have paid out at least $70,000 by the end term of the loan if I make minimum payments. I work at a state hospital and was curious if I should even bother trying to get it either forgiven or assisted. I assume my only option is to hope and pray for some type of reform with Private loans.
If you’re going to try and get rid of the loan, then your best option will be attacking it via a Private Bankruptcy Discharge or Borrower’s Defense Discharge, but I think you’re in a tight spot and will have a really tough time wiping this thing out. Unfortunately, the Government just looks the other way on private student loans, and even though there are some Private Student Loan Forgiveness Programs around these days, most of them are almost impossible to qualify for.
I had graduated from ITT TECH in 2012(before the closure. Am I eligible for any sort of loan forgiveness. Also. I got my loans out of default and just found out that Navient is in charge now. I haven’t made a payment yet.
If you graduated before the closure then you aren’t eligible for a Closed School Discharge, but you can definitely use the Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment Program to file for a discharge on legal grounds. Look at my page about ITT Tech Loan Refunds for details on how this process works.
I was an online DeVry student from 2009-2014. I also got an automatic refund check from the FTC. I have only found this site tonight and it is helping me decide to go forward with trying to get my loan forgiven. DeVry not only lied about the percentage of students finding jobs after graduation (I still have my acceptance letter stating it’s 90 percent). They also lied to me about the cost and how long it would take me to get my bachelors as a part time online student.
I’m also pretty sure I was scammed 2 years ago from a company who said they could relieve student loans. That cost me $500 and today I received a letter, the IRS took what VERY little money I had coming back and put it on my federal loan with DOE. So, that tells me I was scammed.
I have paper work from DeVry showing it’s over $63,000 for a bachelors degree in the field I was going for and I was still 42 credits shy of my bachelor’s by the time I reached that amount. When I was asking questions with admissions on cost, she told me it would be about $145 per credit hour. I had asked several times about the cost and looking for the surety of getting my bachelors in 4 yrs. and she kept assuring me I would have it in 4 years as a part time student.
I am beyond aggravated with DeVry. I would not have taken online courses had I known all the falsehoods coming from this university and lose the amount of sleep I did trying to pull the grades I did. I was a long haul truck driver then and ran team with my now ex-husband. When I should’ve been sleeping, I was doing 4-5 hours of school work while my ex drove and I was doing my “bunk” time. I was only getting 5 hours of sleep a day if lucky and drive 10-11 hours. So, I’m beyond angry with DeVry.
Sorry to hear about your experience with DeVry. This is a common thing though – that school has been up to no good for YEARS and YEARS, lying about graduation rates, promising things they couldn’t deliver, and just generally scamming people left and right. Fortunately, you do have a chance at getting your loans forgiven via Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment, and I would suggest that you visit my page about DeVry Student Loan Discharges for details on how to use Borrower’s Defense against them. It’s not that complicated, and you have a great shot at getting an approval since you still have that acceptance letter with the 90% claim!
I submitted my request for Borrowers Defense this year for MN School of Business online at DOE site. I included a 106 page document of the Court’s findings that this school was found guilty of several fraudulent practices and high pressure tactics amongst other issues. School is actually closing because of the final ruling. Do you know if this will help in considering my forgiveness for both Fed & private loans that were racked up by this unscrupulous school. Right now Navient allowed me to go into forbearance when I spoke with them and I am assuming I will have to let Great Lakes know what is going on as well just wasnt sure how findings of law will assist.
YES! The document you submitted and the fact that the school is closing will both help! Don’t forget that you could actually attack Navient and Great Lakes themselves too, by filing Borrower’s Defense letters against them as well. Check out my page on the Navient Student Loan Discharge Program for details.
I just called this number, and they were asking me for my credit card number if i couldn’t provide that then provide them with my bank account,
that is a bit shady imo,
my issue i believe could be assisted, i went to computertraining.edu in 08-09 just before they filed for chapter 11, and closed their doors, charging students upwards of 32k for 6mo of schooling,
unknowingly to the students, switched the loans before they were processed, from Federal to personal. Originally with Sallie Mae, then now with Navient. I’ve been paying approx $500 a month, and no making a dent in this loan for the past 10 years. Since 2009 Computertraining.edu has been in a class action lawsuit with the state of PA, we were promised repayment, or some amount if not all of our loans, we still have not seen a penny. Now with Navient in a class action lawsuit for their shady loan handling, I’d like to know if i can get assistance with this somehow this is insane.
Not to mention, we were promised job placement for life, and starting out at 80k a year jobs after graduation.
I’m surprised to hear that because no one has ever reported the thing about the credit card or bank account… I’ll look into that to make sure nobody is doing anything they shouldn’t be doing…
On your question… you should look into the Navient Student Loan Discharge Program, which may let you qualify for a Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment Discharge against NAVIENT, instead of having to go after ComputerTraining.edu (I’ve never heard of them… were they a big school?).
they were kinda big for a short while kinda all over tv and radio “computertraining.com” then they claimed they got accredited and changed to .edu then filed for chapter 11 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ate9bLSCP74
Good find Keith!
I went to heritage college in 2008. I was told I was going to be making $60,000 an hour and that I was likely to be making 100,000 a year working on yachts and so fourth for Massage Therapy. I was young a single mom and was looking for a way to provide for her. As they promised to find me employment directly after graduating. We had so many different instructors in just one month due to alot quitting constantly. During the internship part of the class I was getting sent to a place that was under investigation for “happy” endings. I was not impressed with that selection and was very disappointed in the course. After having an instructor talking badly about me to another student where i was in the middle of a massage and heard everything. Anyhow, they made all these promises and it was the most miserable thing i had went through and was very discouraged about it all. Then after graduation I never got one call to help me with finding employment. They sat me down to watch videos of success stories, how people made so much money. Following I went back in, in 2015 to do some continuing education (which was told that was free of charge due to taking the class already). They said no we can set you up with a new class and your going to pay 15,000 but you will get a free IPAD. It has been a total nightmare.
With all this being said I submitted an application to the DOE in December of 2016, had to resubmit the form in December of 2017 still no word on my application. This process is not easy and the DOE will prolong it as long as they can!
Best of luck to everyone else going through this process!!
Thank you for sharing your story Krista! Can I ask, why did you have to resubmit your Borrowers Defense paperwork in 2017? Was there something wrong with it previously?
I think you’ll get the full discharge since you were promised a certain salary (that’s highly illegal) so good luck, and thank you so much for sharing!!!
I submitted an application due to the fact that UoP fudged their job placement rates, told me I would find a management position and even quoted me a $40,000 salary to start. Needless to say, my ‘investment’ was not worth it. So I selected to have my loans placed on forbearance while the application is being reviewed. I still plan on paying toward the loan, but don’t want it to be a mandatory payment as it is sky high! How will I know when this will go into effect? Should I contact my lender and let them know?
It sounds like you’ve got a GREAT CASE to get your loans forgiven, but I just want to warn you that it’s taking people many months to hear back on their Borrower’s Defense applications. In some cases, people have submitted their info and waited over a year without any response at all from DOE. There’s really nothing you can do after submitting other than sit tight and wait to hear back. You could let you Lender know, but they won’t change anything or help you out in any way until the actual Discharge paperwork if completed and you’re fully approved to have the debt written off. Wish I had better news, but at least you’ve got a good case and I think you’ll get an approval – just not sure WHEN that will happen.
Did they tell you this in an email? Did you need to show proof of this…I distinctly recall my rep telling me there would be Job placement and I got none.
I attended Itt tech back in 2003-2007, then finished remaining classes for bachelors in 2012. I have student loans through fed loan and navient. I have already submitted a borrows defense application in May of this year.
I want to ask you if you know how to submit an application for the navient loans? When I called the DOE to check status of my application and ask why my loans were not in deferment, I was informed that the borrows defense is only for the fed loans and that they don’t have an application yet for the navient. They were able to get my fed loans into forbearance, but not navient. Have you heard this before and do you know an answer?
The issue isn’t Navient vs. Federal Loans… you’re getting confused. The issue is Federal vs. Private loans. Your loans with Navient must be Private, or you’d be able to apply for Borrower’s Defense on them. If your loans are Private, you are basically screwed. There are very few assistance programs available for Private student loans, but your best bet on researching them will be to look in the Private Loan Forgiveness section of my site.
I see from some other comments that a parent PLUS may be eligible for a Borrower Defense case. As the parent, do I also need to submit a case? We are patiently awaiting an answer under my daughter’s application that was submitted during the Obama administration. I have still been paying on my parent PLUS since that was submitted back in early January. Am I eligible for forebearance without any action required other than contacting the lender, because it would be linked under my daughter’s SSN…..or do I still need to submit my own case as a non-student?
This is a really good question, and I’d ask the Student Loan Ombudsman Group for a clear answer. These guys are a Federal Government-backed legal advice service that offers FREE advice on student loan issues. I’m not entirely sure if you’re eligible, and don’t want to steer you the wrong direction. Google “Student Loan Ombudsman Group” for their contact information.
Hello Tim, I had a problem with staffing at the college I attended. For my last Level of LVN nursing course my class had no instructor. The institution had fired instructors and did not have replacements. A complaint was filed by our class to the DOE and an investigation by the board of education was held. In their report confirms the lack of instructors for the institution, can I file for borrowers defense against repayment based on them not having an assigned instructor for our class through the entire course?
Yes, ABSOLUTELY, you should be eligible to pursue a Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment Discharge if they’ve failed to provide an Instructor and allow you to finish your coursework.
The only thing that could screw you up is that they may say you need to wait some reasonable amount of time for a new instructor to be found, then finish the course with that new person, but I’m not sure even that would be defensible on their part.
I would pursue Borrower’s Defense NOW if I were you, and you really want to discharge the loans and give up on pursuing the LVN certification.
Hello, I never attended Everest university online but they stated because I held up a seat that I’m still responsible for paying back a loan. I was 17 years old at the time & I signed the fafsa for a pell grant & some how now it’s a 10,000 loan. The school advisor told me I didn’t need a parent to sign for me & I was hesitant about joining until he stated it would be free since I never attended any other colleges. He also stated if I joined and I ever needed a loan I would be making 40,000 to 80,000 a year with the type of degree I would earn and I would not have to pay back until 5 years after I finish school and I could afford to make small payments by then. Do you think I have a chance at Borrowers Defense?
Yes, you were promised something that wasn’t true. ANYONE who was promised a certain salary or position upon graduation will qualify for a Borrower’s Defense Discharge. Telling you you’d be making $40,000 – $80,000 was a big no-no, and highly illegal.
I HAVE A COMPLICATED CASE AND AM TRYING TO DECIDE WHAT HAS THE BEST CHANCE OF SUCCESS. MY STUDENT LOANS STARTED 30 YEARS AGO WHEN I ATTENDED GRADUATE SCHOOL AT AN ACCREDITED UNIVERSITY. ONE POSSIBLE WAY I MIGHT QUALIFY IS THE DEFENSE TO REPAYMENT. ANOTHER IS THE NELMET PROGRAM OF TOTAL DISABILITY WHICH MY DOCTOR THINKS I QUALIFY FOR, SINCE I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO BE GAINFULLY EMPLOYED SINCE AN AUTO ACCIDENT IN 3/2010, 7 YEARS AGO. SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION HAS ME LISTED AS
IN MY LAST SEMESTER OFF GRADUATE SCHOOL, I WAS IN A MVA, A HEAD -ON AUTO ACCIDENT AND WAS TOTALLY DISABLED (NECK FRACTURE OF C3-4) AND OTHER INJURIES.
I NEVER WAS CONTACTED BY THE SCHOOL TO HAVE AN “EXIT INTERVIEW” ABIUT MY STUDENT LOANS. WOULD THAT QUALIFY ME FOR THE DEFENSE OF REPAYMENT PLAN?
IT WOULD BE EASIER TO PROVE THAN THE TOTAL DISABILITY. MY LOANS STARTED AT ABOUT $28,000, 000 AND ARE NOW 160,000++.
If you are totally disabled, then you need to pursue a Permanent and Total Disability Discharge. Google that name and you’ll find an official site from the US Federal Government that explains how those discharges work. It’ll take care of all your loans, so get on it!
I submitted an application back in Janurary 16th 2016. I have yet to hear a single thing from anyone. When I have called that 855 number I have been told so many conflicting things. I was told to email FSAOperations@ed.gov. Which only sends a “Yep got the email thanks” auto-reply. I am in the system but have been waiting 22 months and I have no clue where to go to from here to get an update or speak to anyone regarding this. Two years I have been in limbo and my interest has been climbing.
Try contacting the Student Loan Ombudsman Group (free service, Gov’t provided lawyers for complicated student loans legal issues) and see if they can find anything out for you. Google their name for their contact info.
This is the longest I’ve heard of anyone waiting to hear back on Borrower’s Defense… you’re the new record holder! (Congratulations?). Hopefully this gets resolved soon…
The information you provide relating to BDR is very informative and helpful in understanding requirements. Unfortunately, when I attempted to contact the referrals that are posted each person I spoke with told me they did not provide any service to assist preparing the BDR. They informed that their primary services were related to other programs that consolidated or reduced monthly payments.
It’s been hit and miss with the Helpline… apparently some of the people who answer help and some don’t. I’m going to remove that line from my article since people are having such mixed experiences with it. I’m sorry you had a bad experience too! I’m searching for a new source that will handle exclusively Borrower’s Defense claims.
I started school in 2006, knew exactly what I wanted to go for. Met with my advisor every quarter, as you were suppose to and never was lead in the right direction. constant run around until I left the school 4 years later frustrated with debt. The school even had a student speaker at one point, encouraging us to take loans out. What are your thoughts?
I think you need to be very, very clear about what they did that was ILLEGAL. Did they make promises that you’d graduate in a set amount of time? Did they say you’d get paid a certain amount of money after graduation? Did they say you’d have some kind of support that was never provided?
You can’t just say “I got the run around… they encouraged us to take out more loans”… as that’s not illegal. You need some actual EVIDENCE of them violating an applicable Federal or State law.
My recommendation is to call the Student Loan Relief Helpline’s Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Hotline and ask for their help in constructing your narrative. You’ll have to pay them for their assistance, but these guys are the absolute experts in getting your loans discharged. You can reach them at: 1-888-732-4742
Curious on any reported successes or failures with the national defense student loan discharge. I was just deployed for a year to a combat zone and the navient rep on the phone had no idea what that was. I emailed in my DD-214 but I’m pretty sure I’m about to get the run around
Everyone’s been getting the run-around on this program for some time now. Try calling the Student Loan Ombudsmen Group and see what they have to say about it. These guys are a Government-backed nonprofit that offers legal advice for student loans. They’re well-versed in handling military issues, and their service is free. Google their name for their contact info.
Let’s talk about NAME REDACTED College for Merchandising degree. Was promised a job at a high value store and they closed down 3 mths ahead of scheduled time. Graduated my daughter even though she was flunking. I applied for the school closure and was told my daughter has a degree. She has a certificate that is worthless! But – they also took out a loan out under my name as parent plus; after 8 yrs of fighting Sallie Mae and now Navient. I just received the only paper on file for me – low and behold – No SIGNATURE; my birth date is listed in correctly; they checked I was an American citizen (i became an American citizen in 2015). I have over 60 k owing to Navient under my name and they also has one on my daughter who was 18 at the time for 5k. I just found the program you’re referencing and have finally applied. I want the nightmare to go away… BTW; i did pay quite a bit of money because i was scared since i was applying for citizenship and didn’t want any thing to go wrong. NAME REDACTED fraudulently took out a loan without my knowledge. Posting here in case someone else has the same story as mine.
Sorry to hear about your story. I hope everything turns out ok for you!
I contacted said company and setup an appointment, didn’t get a call so I followed up no one called back. I can’t see I am pleased with the customer service of this company.
Were you calling outside regular business hours? What time zone are you in and what time did you place the call? Who did you speak with? I’ll reach out to them and see if I can get this sorted out for you.
Great read. I had a private loan company I took a loan out with in 2014. I took it out bc they offered me grad student deferment if that was the route I went. So I chose them, but then was told grad students didn’t qualify for deferment (it was 2 yrs full time) that I would have to do a modified payment plan. I was on the phone , had my school send documents saying I was full time etc. they told me I had no option I could do modified payment or put my loans in forbearance. I did the modified payment plan. 18 months later I notice they stopped taking money out of my account , I called and asked why. They told me they got a notification if my graduation date change and they put my loans into deferment , three months before I graduated after 18 months of payments. are these false claims worth pursuing or not really.
Usually the false claims you’d want to pursue are more along the lines of “They promised I would get a job with a salary level of $XXX”, or “They told me I was guaranteed to become a manager”, etc., but you may have a chance with the false promise of deferment that truly wasn’t available at all (the first bit). I would consider running this by the Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Student Loan Hotline (888) 732-4742, and seeing what they have to say. You really only do get one shot at Borrower’s Defense, and since it can take over a year to hear back from them, you don’t want to make a mistake the first go-around. I think you need to focus on the singular early claim that they told you you’d qget a deferment, but then were told that it wasn’t possible. That, to me, sounds like false advertising.
I attended Westwood College several years ago and learned the school closed. No big surprise. Is there a limitation on applying for Borrowers to Defense? I left the school upon learning about the useless accreditation, the lack of jobs and mobility they lied about and found out afterwards how much money the cost of the “degree” program was for. The cost of the program as I remember was only supposed to be $23k for the two years. I spent almost 20k in 1 year and my credits didnt transfer over. The school also closed for these reasons. I did apply for the Borrowers to Defense and have no idea how to receive an update on the claim. As it doesnt look like the loans were placed in forbearance and I havent received notification the claim went through.
You just need to wait to hear back from the Department of Education, unfortunately. It can take quite a while to hear back – I’ve got people saying they’re waiting over a year before finally getting their response.
Actually, I don’t think Navient really is the “former Sallie Mae”, they just say that to put you off. The reason I say this is Sallie Mae in 2014, when they were doing the switch, actually has a notation in one of their publicly available corporate papers that actually says that Navient paid Sallie Mae something like 14 million for student loans.
Hey Tim, great information!
I am currently studying at DeVry University, and have had to back off of my coursework due to the climbing student loans. As it stands now, I don’t expect to graduate for another year to 1.5, though I am 80% complete with my course. I have, over the years, become less impressed and unsure of my final outcome once I complete my degree, and the recent refund provided based on federal loans has gotten me real concerned. I still need to review some old notes to validate, but I’m sure there’s some things that have not gone as they promised. I’m curious at this point whether I should finish out my degree with DeVry, or look to other schools. How would this impact any potential of filing for the Borrower’s Defense to Repayment? (I assume you cannot file while actively enrolled in the school in question).
Note, I still need to validate that they were indeed misleading/dishonest. I am fairly certain of this, but cannot guarantee just yet. My questions are really only arising as a result of my growing discomfort being intensified by the recent events… The last thing I want to do is go through the next year making things worse for myself.
You can definitely file for a Borrower’s Defense to Repayment while you’re still enrolled in the school, but it wouldn’t really set you up to get an approval if you said something like: “This school is a scam, they’ve violated these specific State or Federal laws, but even though I know that, I’m still sending them money and attending courses here”.
I would stop all active attempts at DeVry before filing your Defense to Repayment letter, to send a clear signal to the reviewers that you are certain the school committed some sort of fraud, and that you realize the implications of that, and are attempting to wipe out the debt since it was all built on a faulty basis in the first place.
You definitely need to make sure that you can prove they were misleading or dishonest about SOMETHING. That’s not hard to do… especially since so many other people are getting these discharges already. The Government is getting slammed with requests though, and there’s now a long queue to get an approval for your application, so I’d stop coursework now, come up with your argument, file it, and start looking at options for going somewhere else to finish your degree.
Remember – getting approval for the discharge may also make it impossible for you to transfer credits from DeVry. You need to sort that out before you make your decision on what you’re going to do.
I think you’re headed down the right path though, as you’re obviously taking your time, thinking critically about this, and coming up with a plan that’s going to work for YOU, so my advice is to keep at it with the analysis, then go with whatever option makes the most sense for what you’re trying to accomplish. Good luck!
Speaking of DeVry, I was part of the class action suit. I filed for the Borrower Defense Program, but I can’t can’t anyone to give me a status at the FSA dept. Do you know if there’s a way to tell where I am in the process?
Unfortunately, I am not aware of any way to check on the status of a Borrower’s Defense to Repayment application. I think you just have to hang tight for now.
First of all thank you for all of this. I called the “Student Loan Help Center” to see if they could help me prepare the letter for the Borrowers Defense to Repayment program and they were unwilling to do so. The gentleman “Jose” that I talked to would only help consolidate the loans for me. Any info on where I can go to for help with the Borrowers Defense to Repayment program now?
I had a conversation with them and was assured that they are handling these and should be able to help. It’s possible you were re-routed elsewhere during off-hours, or that the guy you talked too hadn’t been trained up in it yet, but you should be able to call back and get help with it. I’ve been assured that they’re handling these and I think you just hit a bad time, or a bad rep. Sorry for the confusion and poor experience!
I just got off the phone with the same guy. He said he could only help me with loan consolidation. Is there another number to call? I was a student at Devry from 2007 to 2009, and now owe over $80,000 in student loans. However I didn’t save any information from the school. How would I proved I was mislead, because I was told I would be able to have a job in my field within 6 months. I was also told I would make more money, which I don’t. The only that has changed is I have a lot of debt (student loans), and now I can’t even buy a house. Should I file a request on my own? Please help
Yes! I spoke with my contacts over there and they’ve set up a new hotline specifically for Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment calls. You can reach them at (888)-732-4742. They will be able to help you!
I went to Devry during Oct 2008 to Dec 2011. The main reason for me going was the fact that I was told the cost of all the classes, books, lab fees would be around $48,000 by the admissions staff. Now I sit in a ton of debt that for north of what I was quoted. Do you think this could qualify for miss representation on their behalf and allow to apply for the Borrowers Defense Against Repayment?
YES! If they lied to you about the total costs of the program, then you could absolutely use that to qualify for a Borrowers Defense Against Repayment Discharge. I would absolutely pursue that.
Thanks for the opportunity to ask my question. If I submit a borrower’s defense against payment approximately how long would I have to wait to receive a reply from the Federal Government?
It’s variable and there’s really no telling how long it’ll take the Government to reply, but I’ve heard of some people getting notice within weeks, while others have been holding out for months, and some have gone over a year without a response.
As of March 2019 I’ll be hitting 2 years. The only communication that the DoE has made with me at this point was an email about 3 months after applying saying that my claim is still being evaluated and I would be contacted once a decision was made. This was back in June 2017. The only reassurance I’ve had is that the DoE did put my loans back into forbearance for another 12 months last March, but now as we are approaching that time of year again, I have no idea if they are going to do the same, or just leave me hanging.
I really don’t mind waiting this long, what really bugs me though is that it’s been almost 2 years and that email is literally the only communication they’ve bother to have with me.
That’s our tax dollars at work.
I would try contacting DOE directly to ask if you can get an update on the status of your application. It may not be possible to get anywhere, but it’s worth trying just in case someone over there feels sympathetic and can streamline your request. You never know with these people…
How long does it generally take for completed applications for Borrower’s Defense to get a response as to the actions being taken and you’re approved or denied? Are there any statistics on approval & denial? How do we know if our case is being looked at? Does it matter what school or parent company it was from & whether or not there have been government actions, accreditation actions & lawsuits filed?
Wish I could give you a better answer, but none of this stuff it actually available yet. People’s experiences are varying wildly on all the conditions you asked about.
The type of loans I took out was Federal Perkins, Direct Stafford Sub/Unsub, FFEL Stafford Sub/Unsub. After graduating I had Consolidated to a Direct Consolidated Sub/Unsub loan so I would only make 1 payment a month. Do you know if Consolidating the loans effected my chance of applying Borrowers Defense? I read some info on line and am little confused on my chances.
I don’t think consolidation would hurt your ability to get a Borrowers Defense Against Repayment approval. You may not be eligible for other forms of forgiveness, but I am almost certain that you can still apply for this one, and still get your loans discharged. To be sure, contact the Student Loan Ombudsman Group. They’ll be able to give you a straight answer.
I graduated from devry and would never have gone their and gotten into that much debt withour their promises, I want to apply for the debt relief, I have no idea how much the settlement is paying out, my question is, there is an aplication on the student loan page at Navient you answer the questions and apply, do you reccomend a lawyer for this? or do people do it themselves? I saw on your site the 888 number but honestly I am a litle leary of that, I know they want a fee and everyone says you should not pay fees, so its confusing. any advice?
Yes, so the deal with paying for assistance is that if you can figure everything out for yourself, and you have time and the ability to fill out all the paperwork 100% perfectly the first time, then you shouldn’t pay anyone a fee to help you deal with your student loan debt.
These companies can’t do anything for you that you couldn’t do for yourself, that is 100% true, and I say that over and over throughout my page content, because I don’t want anyone wasting money on services they don’t need.
However, for people who cannot figure out what they need to do, or for people who have VERY complicated financial situations, or tons of questions about what programs they qualify for, etc., I definitely recommend hiring an outside expert to assist with the process.
What these companies do is save you a ton of time by making sure that all the paperwork is filled out CORRECTLY, which also increases the chances that you actually receive the benefits you are supposed to qualify for.
Many experts say it’s a scam, it’s not worth the money, etc., but these experts have been tracking the industry for years, and they know everything about the processes involved in dealing with student loan debt.
These same experts would probably hire an attorney to deal with divorce proceedings, bankruptcies, and other complicated financial/legal matters, but they want to tell YOU that you shouldn’t do the same thing with student loans (something you obviously don’t know enough about to handle on your own, right?).
It sounds like you’ve already spent some considerable time researching the process of applying for a Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment discharge, and it sounds like you can’t figure out how to deal with it all on your own. If that’s true – why keep wasting time on it? I definitely recommend calling the Student Loan Relief Helpline, and paying them a small amount of money for their assistance in handling your loans. It may cost you a couple hundred dollars, but if it saves you tens of thousands in debt, isn’t that a good deal?
I hate this idea that you shouldn’t pay anyone for assistance, because it comes from an elitist attitude that everyone can figure everything out entirely on their own, which is simply not true, and especially when it comes to student loans and student loan debt. Most people don’t have hours and hours of free time to spend researching legal matters, looking up court cases, writing up legal documents, etc., to deal with their loans… they just want to apply for forgiveness benefits and move on with their lives!
That’s what a service like the Student Loan Relief Helpline can do for you – save you hours of research, and tons of frustration. They’ll literally handle the entire process for you, filling out all the paperwork, doing any sort of negotiations required with your lender or servicer, and making sure that you get the maximum value of any potential student loan benefits packages that you qualify for.
I definitely recommend that you call the Student Loan Relief Helpline and ask them for assistance. They will make sure you do everything perfectly, and they’ll significantly increase the chances that you get your loans dealt with. If that’s not worth spending a couple hundred dollars, then I don’t know what would be.
Thank you I appreciate your reply, and honestly I don’t think I could figure everything out. It seems like I have a good chance since in fact derby did mislead me and they were in a settle this for this. Thank you again for your time I am going to be o look into help for this, I agree as well it will be worth it,
Thank you again !
You got it Erin, and good luck! Let me know if you have any questions.
Hello, I was also part of the DeVry lawsuit and although the FTC has confirmed that I am eligible, I did not receive any private loans directly from DeVry, I only have Federal Student Loans. I am interested in applying for the Borrowers Defense Against Repayment but I am wondering since DeVry has already been proven to be misleading, do I really need to provide any further proof when I apply for this?
Yes – you still need to provide proof that you were PERSONALLY misled by their false advertisements and illegal activities. You can’t just assume that your request will be approved because of what’s happened with other people. Make sure you include specific examples of laws they broke that convinced you into enrolling, or your request for a Defense Against Repayment Discharge will be denied.
I was enrolled and completed my BA program through DeVry in the time frame that is listed in the lawsuit. I had one loan directly through DeVry (paid off), but haven’t heard anything on that so far. I have about $75,000 in fed student loans and doing lots of research on the borrowers defense of repayment program. I have emails stating the high percentage of placement, and would have to dig into my emails to see what else I have. They told me a lot of things during the multiple phone calls, but I can’t remember word-for-word. Would this, if it’s the only thing I can find that physically states their absurd placement rates, be enough? I know you’re not a lawyer, and I’m looking for one in my area, but just from your knowledge on the subject? Thank you.
Borrowers Defense Against Repayment is a great option for your DeVry Federal Loans. You’ll have a really good chance of getting the loans discharged if you can prove that they lied to you about placement rates. I don’t think you’ll need a lawyer to make this happen. You just need to fill out the Defense Against Repayment Application and make sure that you provide as much detail as possible about how they violated the law by making false promises to you. It sounds like you’re smart enough to explain that clearly, so don’t spend money on an attorney.
With he whole DeVry lawsuit between the FTC, only students who had loans dispersed by DeVry was forgiven. Those who had federal loans and other private loans didn’t have their loans forgiven who those who first enrolled in Jan 2008 to Sept 2015. Am I able to use the Borrower Defense to Repayment to get my federal loans forgiven due to DeVry’s lawsuit for misleading ads used on perspective students?
Yes – you can use the Borrowers Defense Against Repayment process to challenge the validity of any loans. I would definitely go after this if I were you.
I would like some information about your services and costs of those services. I have a great deal of debt for a Psy.D. clinical psychology degree that I believe was completed under false pretenses made by the program and the university (Capella University, Minneapolis, MN). I am consistently running into road blocks that I should not be if I would have attended a different university.
I would recommend that you call the Student Loan Relief Helpline, either the Federal version if your debt is Federally-funded, or the Private version if your loans are Private. You can reach the Helplines here:
Federal Student Loan Relief Helpline: 1-888-906-3065
Private Student Loan Relief Helpline: 1-866-530-9946
In 2011 I enrolled to apply at South University online. I was working full time then and was told that I would complete my program in 18 months and that that made the cost minimal(first lie). I was also told that I would be eligible for a Hospital administrator job upon graduation. They were very shady with my loans and I often had to complain. I began only communicating with them via email so that I would have proof of what they were saying to me. I don’t have any proof of the other lies that they told regarding earning potential or anything like that. I never graduated from South University after 2.5 years of classes and $45,000 in loans. I am 99% sure that they ripped me off and committed many fraudulent acts. Is it possible that I could qualify for borrowers defense discharge?
You may have a chance of getting an approval, but I think you’ll need to get help explaining exactly what they promised better. The way you stated it here, I do not think would receive approval. There needs to be some very clear statements about what they promised, yet failed to deliver on.
It can’t have anything to do with your own responsibilities either, for example, maybe you didn’t graduate after 2.5 years of classes, because you didn’t take enough classes (per their schedule) or failed some of them? There’s too many open-ended questions in your explanation as you wrote it.
Since you owe so much money ($45,000 is no joke), I think you will want to pay an outside agency to write the Borrowers Defense Against Repayment letter for you. That will dramatically increase the odds of getting your petition approved. It sounds like you’ve got Private loans, so I suggest calling the Private Student Loan Relief Helpline. You can reach them at: 1-866-530-9946
THANK YOU for you your time and diligence Tim
I called the FTC (5-3-17) to make sure my address was correct and they confirmed I would be compensated.
My loan are through Great Lakes and Wells Fargo.
So my question, after reading through all the comments.
It was stated in the comments that “private loans” aren’t apart of the settlement.
Aren’t these providers listed above private?
Comments on private loans could have been referring to something else. Comments are all over the place on this page, asking about DeVry, ITT Tech, Navient, Corinthian, etc., as well as many of the Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Programs, so you might have read a comment talking about a different topic entirely.
Thanks for the site and the candid answers. I received a Clinical Mental Health Counseling Degree, MA, from Argosy University in 2009. Just noting that EDMC managed Argosy and they have had many issues. I began the program in 2007. Deciding to attend this school was the worst decision I could have made. I was told there would be job-placement and I should make 70-80 thousand dollars once graduating. At the time, I was living in Michigan and moving to Florida. Once graduating, with a 3.9 gpa, which I don’t think I truly deserved, but they seem to let anyone in, so I may have stood out since I could spell my own name, I left with no job and approximately $80,000 in debt. As a 37-year-old, I now know i totally got taken. My question is, how do I legitimately fight this? Do I go to an attorney? Am I capable of creating my own defense? Is a verbal promise enough to go on? Common sense says that the school will simply say that they never said it. Frustrated with so much about picking Argosy/EDMC, but feeling like my experience says it will be hard to prove and I just have to chalk it up. Any advice would be appreciated.
You don’t need to contact an Attorney, but it would definitely help in making your Borrowers Defense Against Repayment Letter more likely to getting approved. If you were promised job placement and salary, then you’re eligible, and you don’t necessarily need the statements in writing in order to get the benefit.
I would probably considering hiring outside help since you don’t feel super confidant in the process, and instead of going to a lawyer, look to one of the paid services that help people with these sorts of things. My favorite group is the Student Loan Relief Helpline, who you can reach by calling 1-888-906-3065.
They’ll charge you for the service of helping put together your letter and submitting all the paperwork, but if it gets you out of $80,000 in debt, and only costs a couple hundred bucks… that feels like a win-win to me. The phone call is free too, so you’re not risking anything by talking to them for a couple minutes.
I’m curious about something. I attended Commonwealth College of Virginia and received an Associates Degree in Accounting. Subsequently the school closed (which I didn’t even know about). I wanted to continue my education (it took another 10 years) and I found Bryant & Stratton (who told me that their company had bought Commonwealth College of Virginia) and would allow me to get a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration (which I did). But the only jobs their job placement department would give me were reception type jobs (entry level). So I went back to temping and lost my job just a couple of months before the economy crashed. So I decided to go back to school (University of Phoenix) who told me that I could definitely get a job making $60,000 a year if I had a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. What a joke! No employer will even consider me for a job with that degree, so I am leaving it off my resume. I really am wondering if any of the loans that I took out to get so many worthless pieces of paper (in my opinion) can be forgiven.
If University of Phoenix actually said that you would get a job making $60,000 a year, then you may be able to go after them for that claim. Are your loans private or Federal? I’d call the Student Loan Relief Helpline and ask them for assistance. You’ll have to pay them to handle the case for you, but it’ll dramatically increase the odds that your Borrowers Defense Against Repayment letter is approved, and your loans end up forgiven. I’m sure you’ve got a lot of debt because Phoenix isn’t cheap, so I wouldn’t mess around with this and try to DIY it.
You can reach the Helplines here:
Federal Student Loan Relief Helpline: 1-888-906-3065
Private Student Loan Relief Helpline: 1-866-530-9946
I was informed the same thing after I completed my bachelors degree! They encouraged me to continue with my Master’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration of HR Management to make over $60k a year. I believe they took advantage of my desire to obtain a degree being a Hispanic and first time college graduate.
You’re going to need a better argument than “being a Hispanic and first time college graduate” if you want to get approved for a BDAR Discharge, so make sure to come up with a much more compelling case than this when filling out your BDAR Application. You have to prove that they did something fraudulent or illegal!
Can parent plus loans be dismissed on a borrowers defense to repayment?
Good question – and I think the answer is YES, because the official StudentAid.ed.gov website mentions that the instructions for Borrowers Defense Against Repayment DO include specific information related to parent PLUS borrowers. I think you’re good!
Hi I graduated with a Bachelors Degree from an online college University of Phoenix back in 2011. I’ve been struggling to pay off 70,000 in debt. I have no career in this field because no one will hire me due to not having any previous experience or internship which is not offered with online programs. Do I have a chance at receiving the borrows defense against repayment?
To qualify for a Borrowers Defense Against Repayment discharge you need to prove that the school violated some State or Federal law. You’ll have to say that they promised you job placement, promised you some set salary amount, or did something else that’s illegal. You can’t just say “I can’t find a job”.
If I were you, I’d call the Private Student Loan Relief Helpline and ask them for assistance. You can call them and talk to them for free, and won’t have to pay anything until they actually start working on your behalf, but since you owe $70,000, I think it’ll be worth spending a few hundred dollars on the consultation and assistance.
You can reach the Private Student Loan Relief Helpline by calling 1-866-530-9946
How do I know the DOE received my Borrower’s to Defense application? I don’t see any number to call and I did this online. I even included supporting documents such as the ads DeVry used to lure me in.
Unfortunately there’s no way to confirm that DOE got your application. You’re just going to have to sit tight and wait for their response.
Does anybody know how long the borrowers defense process takes?
Many, many months, from what I’ve been seeing.
Hey kind sir,
I attended ITT-Tech 2010-2014 and graduated with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering. Since the government shut them down my degree had become basically worthless. I have had several perspective employers actually say that they will not hire ITT grads because of this closure. Also my counselor told me that this degree wad the same as any other engineering degree which is a lie they are not ABEET accredited. I don’t have any proof of this but I really need these loans forgiven as this degree is less than a high school diploma at this point.
Find a way to write a Defense Against Repayment Provision letter that clearly explains how ITT Tech lied, broke some relevant state law, etc., and you may be able to get the loans expunged.
I filled one of these out at work on a break. If I get denied will I face any legal trouble?
No, there’s no negative repercussions, you’ll just have to keep paying off your loans.
Do you believe that the recent federal injunction filed against DeVry University could assist individuals with the Defense Against Repayment opportunity? Could the fact that the case was settled negatively impact approvals?
Yes, absolutely. Each time the Government takes down a School for these sorts of violations, it makes it easier to get Borrowers Defense Against Repayment letters approved. Everyone is slowly starting to realize that there was a ton of fraud and illegal activity in higher ed, and there’s never been a better time to go after forgiveness benefits. The settling doesn’t hurt – if anything, it helps.
Hi, Tim. Very grateful for this info. I attended DeVry University from 2013-2015 and transferred to SNHU (non-profit online university) in 2015 and just graduated with a business degree in January. I was totally deceived by DeVry in the submission process and would like to see if I can have at least part of my debt forgiven. SNHU was great and they really worked with me to transfer all my classes over so I didn’t lose any credits, but now I’m stuck with a general business studies degree in which I’m struggling to find anything other than sale which is not at all what I’m suited for. Also, the salaries are lower than my last secretarial job. I was initially going for a CIS degree in Database Management, and was totally honest with DeVry about not having any IT experience whatsoever. I was a secretary for 30 years and loved working with computers and had this crazy idea I could be in IT. They assured me that with the CIS degree I could automatically get an entry-level job and expect to make in the $50K range due to the high demand for technology workers. They promised that I would get hands-on training once I got into the technical classes, and that I would also get help being placed into my first job. They showed me a glossy print-out with a list of companies in the area saying I would be doing an internship-type class in my senior year with one of those companies, and that many students got hired straight from that experience. The reality was that once I got into my first programming class in junior year, their technical professors were highly incompetent, and there was no actual hands-on training. I was very vocal with my concerns, even meeting with the CIS dean in person. He then told me that many CIS seniors had to RETAKE most of their classes in order to graduate. Not acceptable, given the hard work I was putting in. He suggested I talk with the Networking dean, saying I was probably a better fit for that. It sounded plausible so I went to the trouble of changing my degree plan, even losing credits for several classes. Then the same exact thing happened once I started taking networking classes. No actual training and inferior professors. I met with yet another dean and expressed my frustration saying I didn’t know what to do at that point. She then revealed that there was no internship and that they didn’t do job placement at all. At that point, I decided to transfer and talked to a counselor at University of Texas at Dallas, but they didn’t have a comparable degree plan. They suggested SNHU online and that was the best solution. I’ve read all the info above and think I have a possible case–what do you think? I would like to hire a lawyer since I want the best shot possible. I have a total debt of around $56K and my payments are due to start in June. My debt is being serviced through Navient. Thanks so much.
Sorry to hear about your situation – it definitely sounds like you have a possible case here, and that you could get your loans discharged under the Defense Against Repayment provision.
If they said you would DEFINITELY be able to get a job in the $50,000 range, then you will for sure be able to get this debt discharged. Just make sure you do a good job with your Defense Against Repayment letter, because that’s the single piece of evidence that has to convince whoever reviews it to approve your request.
I would advise hiring an attorney to help, or paying a small amount to one of the student loan debt settlement agencies, as they’re super familiar with this process. My favorite advising company is called the Student Loan Relief Helpline, and this is their number 1 strategy for getting loans discharged.
You can reach them by calling 1-888-906-3065 for Federal Loans, and 1-866-530-9946 for Private Loans.
Good luck! And let me know when you get your response from the Department of Education! It’s nice to be able to share SUCCESS stories on this site.
Hi, I was recruited to The Art Institute of Ca Orange County in Fall 2002. I was promised a great job with good pay. Career Center would sent me a list with open positions for 6 months after graduation to help me get a job. They also told me they would prepare me for interviews and put together a resume. I attended there from Jan 2003 – March 2006 and on my last quarter I lost all of my work from on my hard drive from 3 years. I was devastated but I was given the opportunity to re-take my “Portfolio” class over again for free or quit but I’d had to put something together to showcase all my work from 3 years in one quarter. I couldn’t do it in just one quarter. I was very disappointed and did the best I could because I wanted to get my B.S. for being there all those years. My instructor did not agree with the quality of work I gave him and I did not graduate. In fact at that point I was told I could finish my education online (repeat last quarter) and get my degree. However, they failed to tell me that the online for Art Institute was through Pennsylvania state and the requirements were completely different. Not all of my classes transferred over and it took me an extra 2 years to finish my degree. I was going to give up but my family pushed me to finished since I had already spent so much money and time. Those extra 2 years were an extra 30k+ in student loans. After transferring to The Art Institute Online I started receiving emails from the careers center in Orange County for only a couple of months. I let the representative know that all the jobs were really far from were I lived and I needed closer jobs to my area. She then told me she had no jobs around my area and that she only sent me what she had. Those jobs were about 2+ hours from were I lived. I never received an email from the school after that to see if I had found a job in my field. Instead I started looking on my own to school districts around my area while finishing up my degree online. At the end I was left with no job in my field and government loans to 100k+. I have been paying my student loans since then. I had to file for bankruptcy and lost my first house because I couldn’t pay for my loans with no job. Just 4 years ago I was told I could get a teaching credential in my field with a B.S. HELLO! Why wasn’t I told that from the school then? I was really mad because for 5 years I had been working part time subbing in education doing something completely different. I enrolled in CSUSB to obtain my credential and just now finishing up this quarter. I was able to find a teaching job as an ROP High School Instructor in Graphic Design and had been working for 2 years teaching what I learned in school and paid so much money for! I still have so much student debt and would like to know if I can get rid of it. Thank you!
To qualify for a discharge under the Defense Against Repayment Program, you have to prove that the school or your loan servicer broke a Federal or state law. I’m not sure if your story is enough to satisfy that requirement, because it’s not really their fault that you lost all the work on the failed hard drive. (Did you know you can use a hard drive recovery service to get stuff back? I had to do it once to recover years of photos, and it wasn’t cheap, but it IS possible…).
Anyway, you’re going to have to come up with a very clear promise that they made and broke, or a very clear law that they violated, and that is what will need to go into your Defense Against Repayment letter. I’m not trying to be mean, but your story doesn’t sound very compelling as you’ve told it, and I do not think that a Judge or a Court would approve your request for a discharge, since it sounds like all your issues were the result of your own mistakes or bad choices.
You may need to speak to an attorney, or at least consult with one of the debt settlement agencies, in order to help put together a proper story that’s clear, and that demonstrates how you were cheated, swindled or defrauded. I would call the Student Loan Relief Helpline and see if they can help you come up with anything that really does satisfy the conditions of the program. I’m not saying to lie, or to even stretch the truth, but I am saying that you need to do a better job of explaining exactly why you deserve a discharge.
Call the Student Loan Relief Helpline at 1-888-906-3065. You will be able to talk to them for free, but to get them to actually work the case for you, and give you everything you need to send in your letter, you’ll have to spend some money. In your case, I think it’s worth it since you owe so much.
Hello, My husband graduated from ITT tech in 2012. He originally met with them to do the Criminal justice program. After meeting with advisers they convinced him that Computer networking program was the route to take. This would earn him way more money per year after graduation. They convinced him to change his career. Would this qualify for Borrower Defense Relief? Not sure what documentation we have to prove this.
They would have had to promise him something, like a set salary after graduation, guaranteed job placement, etc. They’ve got to violate a state or Federal law to qualify for Borrowers Defense Against Repayment, so you need to be VERY careful, and EXTREMELY SPECIFIC, about what you’re accusing them of having done.
If you want to improve the chances that your letter is approved, you need to seek legal assistance from an attorney, or from one of the specialty debt resolution services that does this day in and day out. If you choose to pay someone for help, my recommendation is to use the Federal Student Loan Relief Helpline, which will charge you a consultation fee, but help you with the Defense Against Repayment Letter, and basically take care of the entire process for you. You can reach them by calling 1-888-906-3065.
i have two student loans , both are direct student loans , both are from for profit schools that are under the radar of the DOE for violating the gainful employment act . both are with Navient , they are both consolidated. i am on a whats called a graduated payment plan? the payments go up every two years until the loan is payed off. the amount is right under 17k , i almost have enough saved up where i can pay the whole thing off and be rid of this living nightmare. my question is if i pay it off can i still do a defense to repayment in the future or have i lost the money? I am just tired and what two be rid of this and get on with my life. i don’t really care about the money if i lost it i lost it , but i would be free .
If you pay it off, you MAY still be able to do a Defense Against Repayment and try to recoup the money you had already paid out, but it’s harder to get it back.
I would file the Defense Against Repayment letter AHEAD OF TIME, and try to get the loan discharged so that you don’t need to pay it off at all. Don’t do this backwards.
Thank you for all the great information that you have provided in your article..it has given me some hope. I’m not sure if my husband’s situation would apply but I wanted to share it with you to see if you have any other suggestions or recommendations for him. My husband attended University of Colorado Health Sciences Center School of Medicine (UCHSC) from 1992 to 1996. Graduated with an MD degree. He started his residency as a preliminary resident in 1996 for 3 years at UCHSC Department of surgery. You need a 5 year residency to be able to practice medicine and be capable of earning $225-250,000 a year. After three years he was let go and told he was not a good fit for that particular residency. No assistance or information was given to him to help him find another residency. With no other options he left that residency and had to start work in a completely different non medical career path. At that time he had collected a debt of $200-$250,000. This debt has impacted our lives in a extremely negative way and we do not see any light at the end of this tunnel. We will be paying this debt the rest of our lives with no end in sight. I was hoping you could give us some advice or direct us to someone that could help us in any way possible.
Oh my gosh… this is the horror story that everyone always fears will happen to them. I’m sorry to hear about this situation Xioma, as it’s a terrible thing to be put into a quarter million dollars of debt, and have basically no way to deal with it.
It’s POSSIBLE that your husband will qualify for a Defense Against Repayment Discharge, but it’s going to require some work to figure out why he was let go from the residency, whether or not that was valid, whether or not the school was legally obligated to help him find another one, etc. There’s lots of “ifs” here, and it’s not a clean, cut and dry sort of deal, so I can’t tell you for sure whether or not you have a good chance of getting approval.
You need to contact either an attorney who can help you investigate your Defense Against Repayment Options, or one of the debt settlement agencies who can pursue the same thing for you.
My recommendation would be to start with the Student Loan Relief Helpline, which is a service that’ll take down all your details, investigate your options, and guide you through the process.
You can reach the Student Loan Relief Helpline at 1-888-906-3065.
Do you know if the investigation on Navient is related to ITT Tech? Is it just a coincidence that my ITT Tech loans are through Navient and they are both in legal trouble? PLEASE shine some light on this topic.
Hah, good question here. The Navient Student Loan Forgiveness Program applies to ALL loans serviced by Navient, and has nothing to do with ITT Tech. You’ve hit the jackpot though, by being involved with both ends of a totally screwed up system, and your chances of getting approval for a student loan discharge are going to be much higher than the average bear’s.
If you are familiar with the process and can take care of it on your own, then get that Defense Against Repayment Letter ready and send it off to the Department of Education, then prepare to sit tight for a few months while you await their response.
If you don’t want to risk getting turned down, or if you aren’t the best at preparing legal documentation, then contact the Private Student Loan Relief Helpline and pay them to take care of it all for you.
It doesn’t cost that much (and is extremely cheap compared to the huge debt loans that some people are facing), plus it dramatically increases the chances that you’ll actually get approval for your discharge, since this is what they do all day.
You can reach the Private Helpline by calling 1-866-530-9946.
I submitted a defense to repayment form sometime last year and I’m wondering how I can find out about the status of it? I haven’t heard from anyone after submitting it.
The Department of Education is flooded with these requests. There’s really nothing you can do to expedite the process. Keep making your payments and hang tight.
It’s a crappy situation, but millions of other Americans are in the same boat as you are.
I think the only possible way to get any faster resolution of the process would be to hire an attorney, or to pay a debt resolution agency to start pestering DOE on your behalf (and threatening legal action for them failing to respond in appropriate time).
If you want to go that route (be warned that it will cost money…), then contact the Student Loan Relief Helpline, and they can get on it for you. You can reach them here: 1-888-906-3065.
Is Riley the only case that has been approved? We have a large federal parent plus loan. Our son’s school (since closed) told us that within one year of graduation, we would be able to refinance the loan into his name. We were gullible and believed him. A year after graduation, we called the loan program to do that and they laughed. Unless he has enough assets to collateralize that size loan, they will not transfer it to him. We are saddled with a $1,000/mo payment 8%. We’ve paid over $50k in five years and the value of the loan has not gone down. Do we have any hope?
Do you have the promise of refinancing the loan in writing? If you do… you’ve got a really strong case for a Defense Against Repayment Discharge. Since this is a Federally-funded loan, that makes it even easier to pursue.
I think you need to go after the Discharge option, but you’re probably going to want to pay for assistance in preparing your letter, either by hiring a student loans attorney (and one familiar with, and who’s successfully handled Defense Against Repayment Discharges before), or by calling someone like the Student Loan Relief Helpline (who uses this as their primary tactic for achieving forgiveness).
You can reach the Student Loan Relief Helpline by calling 1-888-906-3065. They will be able to tell you whether or not you’ve got a good chance at getting the debt discharged.
If the school told you that you’d be able to refinance the loan, that’s a false promise, which is illegal. It’s basically false advertising, and this is EXACTLY why the Defense Against Repayment program was set up, so hold out some hope!
Great work on this comprehensive post. This is the most succinct summary of the situation, in addition to conservative and downright good advice for someone who’s dealt with the corrupt Corinthian company.
Today I received another email from the DoE. Almost a year ago I applied for Borrower Defense to Repayment, and have been in back and forth contact with the dept. ever since. I attended WyoTech Laramie during 2014, in programs specifically named by the DoE as guilty of at least one aspect of their many-pronged lawsuit.
“The Department of Education has approved your claim for forgiveness of your federal student loans under the borrower defense to repayment rule, 34 C.F.R. §685.206(c). ”
This is, of course, great news. I know I am lucky, but I am conservative in my excitement. You see, the majority (90%) of my loans, while federal, are already paid off. I know that under 34 C.F.R. §685.206(c) ” The Secretary affords the borrower such further relief as the Secretary determines is appropriate under the circumstances. Further relief may include, but is not limited to, the following: (i) Reimbursing the borrower for amounts paid toward the loan voluntarily or through enforced collection. . . . ”
My claim letter was extremely professional, and reads as if written by at least a paralegal. I read through the court documents and while of course I did not lie, I did made every claim that applied to me even remotely. I noted each in my letter. The whole thing was very well put together and comprehensive.
So now, is my best bet to sit back and hope the Secretary is in a good mood? I find it hard to find meaningful data points regarding what amount is being forgiven to those in my situation. Even harder to find out what amount, if any, is typically being not only forgiven but repaid – as the reimbursement of previous payments is what really counts to me.
Any advice, or experience you can share to shed some light on reimbursement for me? Again, thanks for the great article,
Sorry it’s taken me a while to get back to you, but THANK YOU for your kind words and CONGRATULATIONS on the Defense Against Repayment approval! Quick question: did you work up the letter yourself, or did you hire an attorney or some other expert to help out?
I’ve heard a lot of people getting denied when they do it on their own, so I’m starting to recommend more and more that people pay a bit to help with their letter prep, but it sounds like you’re a smart person who can think for yourself and sort out complicated processes, so I’m guessing you nailed it just fine without help.
I think you did the right thing by making every claim possible and noting them all in a professional fashion. That’s the way to get approval from this program considering it’s all being reviewed by a person, and isn’t really a mathematical formula to get the benefit, but basically requires convincing whoever reads your story to believe you and feel some empathy for you. Amazing work!
Yes – your only option now is to hang tight and see what they offer you. It’s a bummer that you had already paid back so much of your loan, because there’s a lower chance to see that money again than there would be of having outstanding debt discharged, but I wouldn’t give up, and I think you’ll have a great shot at getting the full approval since you did such a good job on your Defense Against Repayment letter.
Thanks for sharing your story, because it’s always nice to hear GOOD NEWS, and especially when someone has worked their butt off researching and writing a proper letter, then getting to enjoy the fruits of their labor. I think you’re in a good position and wish you the best of luck in getting everything refunded. Please do let me know how it goes when you get the final word.
I attended Colorado Technical University Online and received a MBA in Health Care Administration. When I started asking questions about the program, My main one was Do I have to be an RN to take this program as I do not hold this degree. The school told me that an RN degree was not required to take the program. I enrolled in the course. As the course got closer to completion is when the school started stating that there would be fees to take the National and State qualifying boards for this program. A person could pay them while still in classes or after graduation but these costs were all out of pocket. Not a big issue. My big issue with this school and their handling to get me enrolled because that after graduation all jobs that I applied for refused to consider me because I did not have the RN backing for this area. While you may hear people say, “I know people that are not RN’s that work in that type of Position”, I heard exactly the opposite. The school stated that this field had the earning potential of $50-85,000 a year depending upon location in the United States. I have yet to make over $12,000.00 a year as being self-employed and working part-time temporary since leaving this program. Signing up for this program, instead of a different one that I was considering caused me to have to drop out of my PhD program due to lack of Funding. I feel that I would qualify under these guidelines. What is your opinion before I talk to an attorney?
I think you have a good case for attempting the Defense Against Repayment option since the school basically told you a lie about your employment prospects. I would recommend consulting with an attorney before pursuing this though, because that’s the best way to ensure that your argument is structured properly, and that you’ll be able to accuse the school of doing something actually illegal (something that violates state or Federal law), which is what’s required to earn the debt discharge. Spend a little bit of money on the attorney’s costs, and it could end up saving you a ton of funds down the line. Good luck!
I have a sister who is intellectually disabled. Approximately 8 to 10 years ago, she applied for some student loans at a two year collect, not knowing what she was doing nor understanding the paperwork she signed. She ended up not understanding the material taught in the class because it was way over her head so she dropped out. She didn’t understand that the money to pay for college was a loan…not free money. Further, her highest level of education is a high school diploma, which she got by taking special education classes. She has a reading level comprehension of a 6/7th grader and the math comprehension of a 3/4th grader. I was very upset when I found out she was talked into signing paperwork she had no way of understanding, which committed her to a loan program…especially since she would have qualified for a Pell Grant easily as she lives way below the poverty level. She has recently moved in with me (I provide 100% of her care/living expenses) since she is not able to live on her own. She has been receiving calls concerning her loan repayments. This was the first I learned of her loan debt. They wanted to set her up on a repayment plan or to pay an up-front cost of $22k. That may not be a lot of money for student loans but for her it is an insurmountable sum since she’s not qualified to work at most places. I believe the school that signed her up for loans should be held accountable for the loans as she never should have signed the paperwork. In fact, I think the loan officer at the campus may have been the one to fill out the application on her behalf and just had her sign. There is no way she would have understood the paperwork enough to have been able to fill it out by herself.
Bottom line, do you think she may qualify for the Defense Against Repayment Program?
If she is totally and permanently disabled (which it sounds like she is) then she would qualify for an instant Total and Permanent Disability Discharge. Here’s the Federal Government’s page on those: https://www.disabilitydischarge.com/
This would be a MUCH easier, MUCH faster way to forgiveness than Borrower Defense Against Repayment.
Hi I graduated in 2009 from ITT and was given the same run around as everyone else. They told me they were fully accredited, led me to believe that I would be making x amount of dollars with a degree, and told me that they had instructors that knew what they were talking about. I found that all of that was untrue after the first year. I tried transferring out and found that I was unable to transfer my credits. I talked to the school counselor and she said that they were working on accreditation and hoped that all that would change. I argued that they told me they were fully accredited and she said they are accredited. I just walked away from that conversation. I fished out the degree and landed a job making $15 an hour. I turned out alright years later but was still lied to and rushed into signing us for the school.
I submitted the defense to repayment right after ITT closed it doors because I had no idea this process existed. I haven’t heard anything back yet but my question is how am I supposed to prove that I was defrauded? Should I try and resubmit the defense to repayment and try to provide more details on who all told me this? I didn’t take down names because I wasn’t expecting to get screwed out of my education.
It’s all about your Defense Against Repayment letter. I’m not sure that you can resubmit. I think it’s a one and done type deal, but if you really need the forgiveness, I’d consult with an attorney and get real legal guidance.
I attended University of Phoenix between 2001-2005 & graduated with what I thought was an MBA. They promised me I could find a great management job and earn at least $66,000 annually. Since then I have literally had employers laughing in my face at the degree, no one will hire me, believe me I tried for almost 10 years only to end up working in a retail pharmacy for $12/hr!! I now have $125,000 in student loans which I will never be able to repay all because university of Phoenix lied to me about job prospects and salary. Do you recommend I apply ?
I would definitely apply if they promised you a set dollar amount for salary. That is highly unethical and exactly what this program is meant to protect against. You should consult with an attorney, especially since your debt is so high, to ensure that you follow the guidelines properly. Do not screw up your application because it’s a one time only thing.
UoP doesn’t even have a program that wold cost anywhere near 125k. Are your numbers right? Anyway, good luck with the borrowers defense..
I attended ITT Technical institute about 5yrs ago which at the time they offered a BA in criminal justice. Half way through the program not getting my AS yet they terminated the BA program. So I decided to drop out since I originally had signed up at ITT Tech for the BA program. The question is do I have a case?. I am currently still paying for my Federal loan.
I think you will have a case. The only way to find out for certain would be to consult with an attorney, but I would definitely pursue this if I were you.
I attended and graduated from the Art Institute after I graduated it was found that the CEOS were pocketing the money and gouging the students for more money. But where would I find definitive information on what exactly happened that I could send to fed loan?
I’m a California resident and attended Ashford online from Jan 2008 to June 2011 and received a degree, along with a lot of student loan debt. My question is, what type of evidence would one submit to show proof of aggressive sales tactics? Is it simply my word of what occurred during the conversation? Is it news articles? That’s the part that I’m a little unclear on. I have pre-paid legal, so I will be consulting with an attorney that way, but before I waste my time and money, I’d like to know what evidence would I need to provide with my complaint. Any suggestions or insights? Thanks so much for the great information and assistance you offer, it is much appreciated.
You’ll need to see what you can come up with… the best way to deal with this would be to have the attorney guide your process. I don’t want to steer you the wrong direction, and I think that any time you spend prepping could go to waste if the attorney says they don’t like what you’ve done. Let them be in charge of how you assemble the information and present your case. That’s what you’re paying them to do!
I attended The Salter School here in MA. Of course I was lied to about cost, job placement rates etc. I am not employed in the field of study simply because there is no way to get a job with the education they provide, not to mention I was not even certified when I left the school. That would have required me to pay for the exam for medical billing and coding and after taking the sample test came to the conclusion there is no way I could pass it with the education they provided. The state of MA sued them and received 3.75 million to settle loan debts. I received a letter from the state of MA asking for information. I have never heard a word back from them. So, I found a borrowers defense form to fill out and print online. I sent it to the Dept. of Education along with copies of the lawsuit and settlement. So, my question is being that it’s already been proven that they broke the law shouldn’t I be able to qualify for the borrowers defense? It seems like it takes forever to hear back from anyone.
It does take forever to hear back on Borrowers Defense Against Repayment requests, but it’s worth it. Don’t give up. Contact whoever services your loans, and contact the Department of Education. Ask them about the status of your application.
I graduated from ITT Technical Institute September 06, 2015. Now a year later The Board of Education is shutting all ITT Technical Institutes down. I have done some research and I am a little lost on where to go from here and was looking for some advice. I don’t feel like I have much but I know that I was pushed through my education, wrongfully done, and mistreated.
From the start I wasn’t very happy with the education I was receiving. The classrooms were filled with broken down towers and operating systems that were used for labs; yet we never had any hands on labs like the school prides itself on. We maybe looked at them once or twice never anything in depth like I was told. Our labs consisted of “download this VMplayer, do these labs, and complete these questions.”
The main thing that’s sticks out to me is the only hands on I had while attending ITT-Tech was a lab when we worked with cat5 cable. This lab was interesting and intriguing; however the instructor caught me off guard when he wanted us to do a written lab on fiber optic cable when our hands on lab was on cat5 cable. “I approached my instructor and asked him how I am supposed to do this lab without the knowledge of the hands on lab with the fiber optic cable?” his response was to simply “Google it” I informed him that this does not make sense because we did a lab on cat5 cable, and now we have to write a paper on fiber optic cable of the how to’s and the do’s and dont’s? His reply was simply yes. I explained that I felt then the fiber optic cable should have been the lab not the cat5 cable. He replied with “I understand your frustration but we do not have fiber optic cable”
This is one of the many examples that I have, and I am just wondering where to go from here? or if this would even fall under the state law? I feel on multiple levels I have been wrongfully done and lied to. Now the school is closing and I feel as if my degree isn’t worth the value I put into it.
The bad news for you is that you already graduated from ITT Tech, which makes you ineligible for the Closed School Discharge Program, or what people are calling the ITT Tech Forgiveness Program.
Your examples sound like you MIGHT have a shot at filing a Defense Against Repayment petition and getting approved for forgiveness, but I would see if you can come up with something better, some clear violation of your state’s, or Federal law.
Typically, people who’ve been lied to (promised salary levels, job titles, etc.) have the best cases for receiving forgiveness via Defense Against Repayment, which requires proof that the school literally broke the law in some way (often it’s by committing fraud of some sort).
You’re going to need to do some research about applicable state laws to see if you can find a true violation.
I am somewhat in the same situation. I graduated from ITT Technical Institute in Knoxville, TN and the quarter before graduation I was informed by the head of my department, the financial aid adviser and the dean of admissions during one of my “interview rehearsal” classes that I will be able to graduate and immediately find a job make $50k a year or more. They also stated that they would help with job placement and the only thing that I had was a job fair at the school where every student had approximately 25-30 minutes to talk to the possible employers. This was not enough time to discuss anything with anyone other than getting a business card and moving forward. After graduating, I was under the impression that my degree was worth around $50k a year within the area and was offered a couple of positions with the pay being upper $20k to lower $30k and I turned them down because I was told that my degree was worth $50k. Do you think I would have a good opportunity at the Defense Against Repayment petition?
I do think you have a good chance at getting your loans forgiven, especially because you attended ITT Tech. Check out my page about the ITT Tech Student Loan Forgiveness Program.
Basically, anyone who attended ITT Tech is eligible for some sort of refund (depending on what years you were actually there…), with some people being eligible for up to 100% forgiveness benefits.
My husband attended ITT approximately 5 years ago. He used his GI Bill, as well as loans to cover tuition. The recruiter was hot and heavy on him throughout his first semester. My husband explained he worked an off shift and was assured classes offered would fit his schedule. That was not true, and my husband had to withdraw the following semester because of limited classes. With that, he didn’t get his degree in Computer Science and we are now saddled with those loans.
With the recent events surrounding ITT and their practices, would you say we may benefit from the Defense Against Repayment option? We are not looking for a “freebie” but those hours/credits from ITT are worthless at this point.
If he was promised classes fitting a schedule, and that promise was not delivered, then it’s possible he’ll be able to qualify for a Defense Against Repayment option. That’s a promise that was made and broken, and the schools aren’t allowed to do things like that.
I would consult with a local attorney because having real legal representation could make or break your chances of qualifying. Consider doing that, or contact the Student Loan Ombudsman Group (1-877-557-2575) and asking them if you think there’s a chance at approval here.
Just keep in mind that anything you tell them may be kept on record for future legal action, so be careful about how you proceed here.
I meant to say. He has 5 failed classes, 4 credits a class. A total of 20 extra attempted but not earned credits. But their print out says 32 extra attempted but not earned.
I was just going through my husband’s school papers, he/we about kept everything.he started before we were married. But I found that he signed the itt tech enrollment form 1/6/2005 first official paper signed, yet there was a 33k tuition charge on 12/10/2004! He did not start classes until March/2005 he did talk to them in 12/2004 to see if that’s where he wanted to go. We didn’t know about the charge until now! Also the final reports of credits attempted and credits earned don’t match! He did fail a few classes but then passed. It looks like they falsified how many classes he actually attempted, which was 12 extra credits, but did not earn them! I finally decided to go through his psperwork now that itt tech has closed! Because things were not adding up! What are the actually state laws that this has broken? They did have him graduate with his bachelors. But credit costs kept changing.
I would definitely pursue the option of writing up a Borrower Defense Against Repayment Letter, but another thing you should look into is my page about the ITT Tech Student Loan Forgiveness Program. He may auto-qualify for forgiveness benefits, just from having attended ITT Tech.
Went to Itt Tech and just called my loan servicer for the paperwork for this since I didn’t qualify for the school closing discharge since I’ve been out of that school longer then 120 days.
I received my AS and BS from ITT Tech. When I first went to meet with an ITT administrator, I was taken into her office where she promptly bought me lunch to tell me about the wonderful campus and how it could benefit me. She asked me my interests and pulled up a nifty website that showed business growth in various sectors and where the growth would be in 5 years. This she showed me would allow me to get through and associates and bachelors program and have time to find a job right before that particular job market exploded. She showed me a list of what I would earn with this degree. Then I was rushed through the loan process without realizing the loans I was taking out and the interest rates they came with. It wasn’t until after graduation I found out about some of them because they were nice enough to call and remind me my payment was almost late. Also one semester they didn’t bother doing financial aid paperwork and made me pay $3800 in order to receive my degree.
You may have a claim for the Defense Against Repayment provision, and I would consider consulting with an attorney to get assistance in taking care of this. There’s definitely a chance that you could get approved for a discharge.
I submitted the borrowers defense to repayment because I attended a Corinthian college in 2010. After submission I hadn’t heard anything back for months so I decided to call about my application. I was told because I have FFEL loans that they are not accepting applications for those type of loans at this time. Why does it matter what type of loan it is? Fraud is fraud.
The Government sets the rules on these things, and for whatever reason, doesn’t offer much forgiveness for FFEL loans. I’m not sure what their logic is, but that’s the way it’s set up. Sorry.
Hi Ashley my name is Adriana. And I too attended a corinthian college in 2010 and have a FFEL and I submitted the borrower to defense to repayment form anyway. The govt wants u to back down so they can keep you’re money. Submit the form anyway don’t back down. Fight for what is right. Never trust the people who work for the govt. Mostly have a student loan themselves.
Do you know if this would affect the Ashford/University of the Rockies colleges (Bridgepoint Education)? My Wife attended the latter school on the hopes of getting into the psychology field and found that a large majority of her professors were incompetent; and while she put in a ton of work, received little to no feedback. She could fog a mirror and get an A in the courses. We have also found that likely none of the courses will transfer to a local school offering the same program.
Hey Again Sean,
It’s possible that you could qualify for a Defense Against Repayment discharge, but it will require proving that the school violated a state law. Typically, the way to get these approved is to prove that they lied to your wife about something – usually, it’d be for something like an expected salary, time to completion, eligibility for credit transfer, accreditation, job placement, financial aid, or some other promise that they made which couldn’t have been possibly fulfilled. If you’re serious about going this route, I would consider consulting with a local attorney.
I too got sucked into Ashford for NOT one but three degrees with “we can help you find that job you are wanting” offering a so called job board but no guarantees on the side. The job I have now although the requirements are for a degree in accounting anyone could do the job. NOT only that it’s not 6 figures and never will be. I’m 55 and after having graduated the last degree program had a.balance of $89k and that goes up every month with interest as I’m on an income based repayment plan. Best thing this school already has had a law suit brought against them for fraud and predatory lending practices when it came to their in-house private loans…what about federal I think it’s the same thing. Will this program help me too
Yes, the Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Program could help you get your loans discharged, especially if the school has already been found to have committed fraud and predatory lending – that dramatically increases the chances that your Borrowers Defense letter will be accepted, and your loans forgiven.
Since your loan balance is so large, I’d recommend getting the help of a professional company who handles this process on a daily basis – you only get one shot at applying for a Borrower’s Defense discharge, and if you screw it up, you’re going to be stuck with that $89k loan balance forever.
My favorite company operating in this space is the Federal Student Loan Relief Helpline. They are absolute experts at handling Borrowers Defense to Repayment applications, and they will significantly increase the chances that your request is approved.
You can reach the Federal Student Loan Relief Helpline by calling 1-888-906-3065.
Hello, I was wondering if you think I might have a chance to get a discharge from the “borrowers defense to repayment” with the conduct that happened in my situation. Details are as follows:
I was mislead about the true cost of the program and how I would be able to pay for it. Before I enrolled in classes at The Art Institute of Salt Lake City, my parents and I met with one of their financial department staff members to discuss my financial options. Because the staff member, Sydney Clark, said that I disqualified for any scholarships and government help (only because my parents “make too much money” according to her), I applied for a “parent plus loan” with each of my parents. They both were denied (without being given an explanation of why), so Sydney said we could make payments of $450 a month at 0% interest. She said that my monthly direct payments would be covering all the costs necessary for me to attend school there as a full time student.
I began attending classes at The Art Institute of Salt Lake City in November 2010. In April 2011, after I had been making my monthly payments on time (every time), the financial department said that I owed the school more than what I had been paying. I was confused, and they explained that I had accruing interest on those payments. I had to talk to several staff members, going back and forth between each of them, in order to straighten out the misunderstanding. I presented the papers I signed at enrollment, and after examining them for quite some time, one staff member said he could see how it was “misinterpreted”. He waived the fee, but he also said that the next month’s payment would have interest on it.
Later that year, I received a billing statement from a company called Great Lakes later that year. In the letter that I received from Great Lakes, it stated that “your lender has selected Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc. to service your student loan.” Nobody in the financial department at The Art Institute of Salt Lake City said that they would be choosing a lender for me. I did not give permission (at least knowingly) to the school to chose a lender for me or take out a loan in my name.
The financial adviser I spoke to later that year had said that I needed to find my own lender to pay for the rest of the costs to stay enrolled in classes. This affected my decision to quickly find a lender, in which I took a loan out from Sallie Mae. In October 2011, I decided to withdraw from classes at the Art Institute because I was struggling financially to make monthly payments directly to the school, and I was discouraged that I would have to pay even more on top of that to two different lenders. In my final meeting with a financial adviser staff member, I was handed a check made by Sallie Mae, but he made me write a personal check to pay my “remaining balance”.
The state laws I believe they violated were:
“”26-20-1 Title. This chapter is known as the “Utah False Claims Act.” Amended by Chapter 48, 2007 General Session 26-20-2 Definitions. As used in this chapter: (1) “Benefit” means the receipt of money, goods, or any other thing of pecuniary value. (2) “Claim” means any request or demand for money or property: (a) made to any: (i) employee, officer, or agent of the state; (ii) contractor with the state; or (iii) grantee or other recipient, whether or not under contract with the state; and (b) if: (i) any portion of the money or property requested or demanded was issued from or provided by the state; or (ii) the state will reimburse the contractor, grantee, or other recipient for any portion of the money or property. (3) “False statement” or “false representation” means a wholly or partially untrue statement or representation which is: (a) knowingly made; and (b) a material fact with respect to the claim. (4) “Knowing” and “knowingly”: (a) for purposes of criminal prosecutions for violations of this chapter, is one of the culpable mental states described in Subsection 26-20-9(1); and (b) for purposes of civil prosecutions for violations of this chapter, is the required culpable mental state as defined in Subsection 26-20-9.5(1).”
It definitely sounds like you may have a shot at getting an approval. I would speak with an attorney or at least consult with an attorney to get assistance in drafting your Defense Against Repayment letter, because you really do only get one shot at this and it’s not worth risking screwing something up by going on your own. Please let me know how it goes as I’d love to be able to share a positive success story!
I’ve been watching and waiting for examples of approved Defense to Repayment letters, but haven’t been able to find any yet. Perhaps it’s not legal to share them, or people just don’t want to put their details out there, but a repository of successful petitions would go a long way toward helping others figure out what to write, how to structure their letters, etc.
Thank you for your reply. I agree that having a consultation with an attorney will be helpful. However, paying for one will be difficult, and it may not be worth it if it is going to take more money to fight the loan than to just pay it back.
I will let you know if I am successful with this. I’m crossing my fingers and taking the time to research everything as much as I can before I officially submit my application to the Department of Education.
You would think that all the student loans would be forgiven automatically if you attended any schools that were owned by EDMC, since they were sued by the US Justice Department.
You’d think so, but it doesn’t always work like it’s supposed to. Good luck!
I graduated from an Osteopathic Medical school. I did not match for residency. “Matching” is getting into a residency program, they pay you, it is your first job. The dean of my school lied to our graduating class saying that “everyone matched by the end of the day.” I was too embarrassed to correct him but did send an email that got no response. There were a lot of other unethical practices occurring regarding clinical rotations, there is a paper trail. I understand some people have pursued legal action. I am satisfied with were I ended up and I don’t intended to purse legal action but I wanted to post this for others. There are documents and data to support claims.
Why wouldn’t you pursue this? You owe a ton of money and haven’t received any benefit from what you spent?
I attended Everest College here in Chicago for a degree in Medical Administrative Assistant Program (MAA),. When I initially signed up, I had explained to them that I did not have my High School diploma nor did I have a GED. They ignored my statement and rushed me through the admissions process. Along with the rush through admissions process, they stated that I would receive financial aid considering I had no employment, a single mother of 2 at the time, and I will be fine so as long as I go for my GED immediately afterward. They promised a prominent position in the medical field with a high starting pay due to the education provided by them. They also stated that they will find an externship for me but when the time came for the “externship”, yes “externship” is what they called it; I found my own with no help from them and my own job in “ACCOUNTING” and nothing with medical. I am now in debt for a loan that I had no idea that they were signing me up for, they told me financial aid will cover everything but that I will have to pay the school $600 out of pocket while attending. I now have a student loan debt of $14,000 plus and never got the proper education or understanding of this whole thing. So my question is, is there some type of forgiveness for people which did not have a diploma from High School or a GED, when attending this Everest College Place? Please Help Me!!!
Did you read this page? It explains, in detail, how to pursue a discharge via the Defense Against Repayment Provision. You are going to have to write a letter to get your loans discharged. Read the steps on this page, put together your letter, and send it to the Department of Education.
I attended Trident University from 2009-2011. In 2010 they were put on probation and almost lost their accreditation and honestly I didn’t learn one thing. I am not able to get a good enough job to pay my $500 a month student loan bill. They didn’t lie or break any laws and clearly since they were under review and probation from WASC they were not properly operating. Do you think I have a chance at getting these loans forgiven?
You need to find something they did that violated state laws, in terms or lying or promising something that they should not have promised (like job placement, a certain salary, etc.). If you can’t prove that they violated a state law, or that they misled you in some way, then I don’t think your Defense Against Repayment application will be approved. It may be helpful to consult with a local attorney for advice.
I attended a cosmetology institute back in 2012/2013. It was a year long program and they had never actually explained that my debt would be a 10,000$. About 6 months when I completed the required hours they were supposed to send me a working permit for cosmetology and they never did. I ended up dropping out from the program because I wasn’t able to work and now I’m stuck with paying this back. It comes up online that I have a working permit.. But they never actually sent the document to me. They have also promised that we could be working after 6 months with that permit. One of the people that was going to that institute dropped out the same time that I did and they only have to pay back $5000. Is this okay?? The whole time I went to that institute the instructors were rude and kept giving me issues all leading up to me dropping out.
I need some help. Thanks. Please let me know what options I have.
Thank you in advance.
If they violated state laws (and you can prove that they did) or misled you in some way, promising that you’d have a job, make a certain amount, etc., then you have a case that may allow you to qualify for a debt discharge under the Defense to Repayment Provision. I would advise that you speak with a local attorney who has experience dealing with student loans, and get their help drafting your Defense Against Repayment letter.
I attended Everest Institute 2008-2009 after being sucked in and lied to. To this day I havnt obtained employment for the corse I took. Infact the reputation of the school is so bad I can’t even put them down. I had Ffel loan that was bought back by the federal government during the crisis so that have been my lender since I went. What happens to us?? My whole class has the same issues I do. All our loans were bought back and they are only allowing 2010 – 2014 students to apply for borrower defense. I think it’s pretty clear all students were defrauded at all times.
That’s a good question. I’m not sure why Defense Against Repayment and the Corinthian Colleges Loan Forgiveness Program set that arbitrary date for funding/relief, but that’s the way it’s been configured.
You may still be able to qualify for a discharge though if you can prove that Everest broke a state law in the process of convincing you to sign up for their program. Don’t give up yet. Consider speaking with an attorney to see what they think, then write up that Defense to Repayment letter and fire it off.
Then keep your fingers crossed and it might just work out…
Thank you for this article. I went to Everest College and was lied to about many things regarding the program. I am sitting here trying to compose a letter to the DOE right now. I tried to file a lawsuit against them about six months after graduating from the program which ended up being dropped due to the fact that I signed my rights away to a class action. I wish I had known I was signing away those rights at the time, but they were sneaky and got me. The attorney didn’t want to pursue it otherwise. I am going to include that information as well. I will come back and let you know how this goes. I cannot afford to hire an attorney, but I am doing plenty of research before submitting my final draft.
How’d it all go? I hope it’s working out for you!
what kind of attorney do you look for in helping write a defense to repayment? I attended a online school in Tampa Florida while living in Texas, do i look for a Florida attorney or a Texas one?
That’s a great question, and to tell you the truth, I’m not sure who would be best to speak with. You lived in Texas, but your money was being paid to a business in Florida. My guess would be Florida… but I am not entirely certain. Try heading to http://www.reddit.com/r/legaladvice and asking the forum there.
I want to be sure that Nancy Drews knows that the lawsuit brought against Globe/MN School of Bus. by MN Attorney General over their law enforcement training program is being heard right now. I also want to ask what response you got from the MN Office of Higher Education(OHE). I made formal complaints about the “acupuncture school” I went to in Roseville MN to the OHE. The school was a circus without standards or accountability. Really really bizarre behavior displayed from students and instructors. They were charging tens of thousands of dollars to students buying a diploma for a profession from which most people seem to wash out or make low wages. I found it interesting that the OHE turned a blind eye to a business pocketing federal loan money that was a hazard to finances, public health, and ethics. What was your experience with the MN OHE? I figure that the OHE is just rubber stamping crazy scam schools left and right b/c Minnesota seems to have plenty!
I also went to an acupuncture school that ripped me off I have over 90K in student loans. I want to chat with you Benjamin Merrill. COntact me at email@example.com
Can you tell me if the borrower’s defence to repayment also could apply to private student loans such as through Sallie Mae?
From the research I’ve done on this, I don’t think the Defense to Repayment provision applies to private student loan debt, unless you’ve defaulted on that loan and it’s being pursued by a private collection agency.
I have two pieces of advise for you… first… you should speak to a local attorney who has experience in this area, and second, consider calling the Student Debt Relief helpline, at 1-888-694-8235. Let the helpline know what you’re facing, giving them details of your specific financial situation, and they should be able to offer you some advice on how best to proceed.
I attended Everest Online courses from October 2009 to July of 2012. I was told that they would help me find a job in that field once I completed the course. I was told that they had a high job placement rating. I did receive my associates degree from them. The only help that I received from them was a resume’. Now it is almost four years after completing the course and I am not working as a paralegal, but as an intake worker. I received an email from the US Department of Ed about loan forgiveness. I was made aware that Everest in Tampa is still operating. Am I still eligible for debt forgiveness?
You need to read the full text of the article and determine that for yourself. Or, as an alternative, you could speak to a local attorney, or you could consult with the Student Debt Relief Helpline, who you can reach at 1-888-694-8235.
I can’t answer your question because I don’t have enough information about your specific situation (private or federal loans, how large are they, have you been paying them back, were you misled by the school, etc.).
Thank you so much for all of this informative information.
My daughter went to Globe College in Woodbury MN. She was guaranteed a full time high paying job in the field of computer IT services. So, she went to school there for 4 years. After graduating, she found out that none of her courses were accredited and none of her credits could be transferred to another college. When she applied at jobs, she was told that the education she received was worthless and no one would hire her in that field. So now she and I have $80,000 in student loans. As I had to take out Parent Loans to pay for their outrageous tuitions. We sent all of the required info and documents in for the defense for repayment. We sent this in last month, but haven’t heard anything yet. Since posting this article, have you heard if anyone is getting good new regarding this? Do you know how long it takes to hear anything? Thank again, Nancy & Kaitlin Drews
I think your daughter has a good shot at getting a discharge based on the phrase “guaranteed a full time high paying job in the field of computer IT services”. If her school really GUARANTEED that, then she should qualify for a Defense to Repayment Discharge.
I have not received anything specific to anyone getting their discharge yet, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t being issued. Typically, I only hear from the people who are having problems. Success stories are very rarely shared with me, unfortunately.
Did you get an attorney’s help in drafting your Defense Against Repayment letter, or did you take care of it all yourself?
About 13 years ago I spoke with somebody at National American University in Colorado Springs about getting my associates degree in medical assisting. I was working a full-time day job and was assured that I would be able to complete my classes at night and the school would get me placed in an externship position that would be able to fit around my normal work schedule. I was also assured that after completing all of the classes I needed for my degree that my student loan repayment “would be around $100.00 a month. And they give you years and years to pay that off.”
When it was getting close to time to start my externship I started asking about getting one set up. I was repeatedly told that something would be done “soon.” After a couple of months I was finally told that there were no options of an externship that I could do that wouldn’t interfere with my work hours and that I’d just have to “take a leave of absence or quit my job. ” if I wanted my degree. So, now I have over $4k in student loan debt from that school but no degree to show for it.
What are my options?
I’m not authorized to give legal advice (only an attorney can), but if I were you, I’d definitely pursue the Defense Against Repayment provision process. Read through my post to figure out exactly what you need to do (create the official letter saying you lied to, submit it, etc.), and I think you may have a chance at having your loans forgiven.
I submitted my Borrower Defense to Repayment on November 30, 2015 and then another one on January 21, 2016 because I had found more information that Kaplan University was using deceptive practices and that none of my credits would transfer to any of the colleges in my state. I haven’t heard anything from the Department of Education. Is there a number I can contact to find out the status of my requests?
I haven’t heard of any option for following up on submitted requests, but you may want to try contacting the Student Loan Ombudsman Group to see if they know of a way to do this. You can reach them here: 1-877-557-2575.
Please come back and let me know what you find out!
Michelle, I am submitting one for Kaplan as well. What information did you find regarding their deceptive practices? Did you ever hear anything back? Thanks!
My brother enrolled in an accredited Chiropractic School to earn his Doctorate in Chiropractic Medicine. Three years into his four year program, the school lost its accreditation. He was unable to transfer any of his units to other schools, lost three years of education, and is now over $100,000 in student loan debt for units he cannot use. After earning his Doctorate, he would have been responsible for passing his National Board Exam, but essentially he would have been a Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine with the earning potential of $118,000-$189,000/year. The school did not promise a job or income, but they did promise a Doctorate of Chiropractic Medicine from an Accredited Chiropractic School. Do you think his situation would qualify for a Defense Against Repayment Forgiveness? He had to file for bankruptcy because the loan payments forced he and his family to move in with my parents. He specifically brought up this issue with his lawyer, but his lawyer did not bring it up in court. Until reading this, I thought maybe his situation did not qualify. Thank you for your time.
Good news! Assuming your brother’s school loans were Federally-based, he should be able to qualify for the Closed School Discharge Program. This program was created just for his specific situation.
It’s possible he may be able to qualify for forgiveness under the Defense Against Repayment Provision as well, but I would pursue the Closed School Discharge first (click the link abve for details on it). If his lawyer didn’t bring this up in court, then he needs to consult with a new attorney that has specific experience in getting rid of student loans.
Where or which address do I mail my Defense to Repayment letter?
Did you read the entire article? You send it to whoever services your loan (the people you send your monthly payments to).
Thank you for writing this. One question. You mention hiring an attorney to help apply for this program. What kind of attorney do you recommend I contact? What specialty of law?
Find a bankruptcy attorney who has experience (or better yet, who specializes) in student loan debt.
I have a question – I received an Associates degree on line from Kaplan in 2005 and Bachelors from American Intercontinental in 2007 on line. I have been paying student loans since then. I thought it would help advance my career but it seems there is no respect for on-line degrees in the business field. I am now 61 and my health will force me to retire in another year, what options are there for me since these payments will equal greater than 50% of my social security income?
The big question is… are your loans Federal, or Private? If they’re Federal, then you have all sorts of options.
If they’re private, then you may be in trouble. There aren’t many options for receiving Private Student Loan Debt Relief. Most of the benefits programs currently available are tailored to provide Financial Assistance for Federal Student Loan Debt.
I was recruited in 2004 to attend school that was offering A bachelors degree in
Interior Design. This degree and all the classes were online. The question of the 50% rule has
Been mentioned in many recent articles. I understand the deregulation of this rule occurred in 2006.
Prior to deregulation in 2006 what did the law
Allow or disallow when it comes to student loans and tile lv funding?
I haven’t been following the space that long so I can’t speak to that time period with much authority. I would guess that Google could get you a pretty solid answer to your question though. When you figure it out, please come back and share with the rest of us! I would greatly appreciate any insight that you could shed on the issue!
Curiosity got the better of me and I did a bit of digging. Which 50% rule are you referring to, as it looks like there were a couple provisions discussing 50%. Here’s three different eligibility rules for institutions covering their access to Title IV funds:
I believe that these were the rules as of the passage of the 1992 Higher Education Amendment, so I think your answer is in one of these conditions.
Just seeing this reply. I was recruited to achieve the degree completely online in 2004. It appears at that time of my recruitment this was prohibited. The online degree would not be accredidated. I have since submitted a defense to repayment based on this lie and other misrepresentations.
Online degrees may have been accredited in 2004, but you’d have to check the specific school’s accreditation statements/status from that time to find out. Try looking at their website through the Internet Archive and see if you can find their old accreditation information.
This was only introduced in Congress on 4/30/2015, it never went anywhere!