How To Use the Borrower’s Defense Lawsuit To Get Student Loan Forgiveness

On June 25th, 2019, Harvard Law School’s Project on Predatory Student Lending launched a massive class action lawsuit against Betsy DeVos, the head of the Department of Education, for her role in preventing former for-profit college students from getting the student loan relief benefits they’re legally entitled to receive.

Named plaintiffs are suing on behalf of a class of more than 158,000 former students who have already filed applications for the Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Program, most of whom remain in legal limbo, waiting on DOE to make a decision on their cases.

This case was brought about because existing law makes students and former students eligible for complete Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Benefits if they can prove that the school they attended misled them or violated state laws relating to their education, but the Department of Education has clearly violated students right by failing to review and approve BDAR applications in a timely fashion, leaving these borrowers on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars in debt that shouldn’t exist in the first place!

In this Guide, I’m going to explain what Borrower’s Defense is, how it’s supposed to work, why Betsy DeVos is personally responsible for preventing the Program from operating as it should, and finally, how you can use this new lawsuit to help earn a student loan relief discharge of your own.



How Is Borrowers Defense Supposed to Work?

Borrower’s Defense has been around for decades, but it wasn’t until 2015 that it really took off in popularity, with the birth the Student Debt Strikers in the wake of the collapse of Corinthian Colleges.

All of the sudden, ordinary Americans buried in student loan debt became aware of the BDAR program and realized that there was a legal avenue for them to pursue a complete Federal student loan discharge if they could prove that their loans should never have existed in the first place.

BDAR requires submitting an application to the Department of Education, proving that the borrowers student loans were only created as a result of their schools’ illegal misconduct, whether that comes from a result of fraud, false advertising, false promises, illegal recruiting tactics, or some other illegal activity.

Basically, borrowers submitting a BDAR application are alleging that they were tricked into taking out student loans, and that they never would have agreed to borrow that money had the school not committed some illegal act against them.

As a result of the newfound awareness for the BDAR opportunity, over 200,000 former students have attempted to receive relief via BDAR, and while tens of thousands of of those applicants no doubt deserve to have their applications approved, the vast majority of them remain in legal limbo as Betsy DeVos’s department refuses to adjudicate these applications.


What Did Betsy DeVos Do Wrong?

The blame for DOEs failure to respond in timely fashion to BDAR applications lies squarely on Betsy DeVos herself, as the department was able to approve over 27,000 applications in just a six month period leading up to January 20th, 2017, when she took over DOE and began grinding the process to a halt, preventing borrowers from asserting their legal right to debt relief.

Under her leadership, the Department of Education has literally stopped reviewing BDAR applications, leaving all the applicants in legal limbo, destroying their credit and limiting their access to receiving additional Federal student aid.

Many of these borrowers who deserved a debt discharge have now fallen into Federal Student Loan Delinquency & Default, leading their credit to be destroyed, and resulting in Student Loan Wage Garnishments, Student Loan Tax Credit Seizure, and all sorts of other financial problems as a direct result of DOE’s failure to handle it’s responsibilities.

Again, BDAR was working great until Betsy DeVos took office, but as soon as she was appointed and began pulling strings, the program ran off the rails, and has become one of the most frustrating experiences in the entire student loan repayment process, leaving tens of thousands of Americans desperate for financial relief.

SIDE NOTE: The Department of Education is currently setting new records for Federal Student Loan Collections Enforcement Activity, taking more money than ever before from borrowers who have fallen into delinquency and default, so the timing for this lawsuit couldn’t be more appropriate.


How Can You Use This Lawsuit to Get Student Loan Forgiveness?

First, you need to make sure that you have filed a Borrower’s Defense Application yourself.

If you’ve already submitted one, but haven’t heard back from DOE yet, then you’ll want to contact the Project on Predatory Student Lending to offer a comment about your experience with this program. You can do that here.

By filling out the Project’s form and submitting your story, you’ll help build a larger case of evidence against Betsy DeVos and her DOE, which the lawyers in this case will use to help increase the chances that their lawsuit wins in court, and forces Betsy DeVos’s hand to start approving BDAR applications again!

If you haven’t already submitted a BDAR Application, then visit my Guide to Submitting a Successful BDAR Application, put together the proper paperwork, and submit it, then immediately get in touch with the Project on Predatory Student Lending to offer your comments after it’s been submitted!

One quick note on commenting to the Project: you cannot lie when submitting this form! Do not even exaggerate anything. Consider everything you submit as if you were providing testimony in court, because signing the form at the end is the same thing as agreeing to face perjury charges for lying.


What Else Should You Do?

Lawsuits being lawsuits, and courtrooms being courtrooms, there’s a good chance that this case drags on and on for several years, especially as the big For-Profit Schools, Student Loan Servicing Companies and Debt Collection Agencies pile on with counter-suits and complaints of their own.

There’s a huge machine working together in coordination to prevent any sort of legal relief from being offered to student loan holders, because these business interests make literally billions and trillions of dollars on the debt’s continued existence, and they do NOT want loans to be forgiven.

Sitting around just waiting for this lawsuit, or any other relief program to come and save the day is not a good idea.

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 (typically about 40% your total outstanding balance), then get you a new loan for the much lower, settled amount so you can pay off the old deb, repair your credit and start making much lower monthly payments. NOTE: McCarthy Law can ONLY help with Private student loans, so please do not call them if you only have Federal 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!


Get Help With Your Student Loans!

No matter what happens with this lawsuit or any of the incredible student loan relief proposals recently submitted to Congress by people like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, the good news is that there are EXISTING programs that can help you with your debt TODAY!

I’ve spent the past 10 years building out over 100 different Guides on this site, covering all aspects of the repayment process for both Federal and Private student loans, so if you’re having trouble with college debt, please make sure to take advantage of the resources I offer here on FSLD.

If you need Help with Federal Student Loans, visit my Guides on:

Federal Student Loan Relief Programs



And if you need Help with Private Student Loans, you’ll want to review my Guides on:

Private Student Loan Relief Programs

If doesn’t matter how much you owe, what type of loans you’ve got, or whether or not your loans are in repayment, or have fallen into delinquency or default – there are so many relief programs currently on offer that you’re nearly certain to find some form of assistance from the programs listed above.

If you have any other questions about student loans, please ask them in the Comments section at the bottom of this page and I will do my best to get you a quick response!

Just make sure to let me know if your loans are Federal or Private, because that’s the most important factor in determining which benefits programs you can utilize.



Finally, Please Help Me Out!

Running this website is like having a 2nd job – I spend several hours each day reviewing the news, thinking about new solutions to the student loan crisis, and updating pages or writing new Guides like this one right here.

But I can only continue to dedicate hours and hours of my day to this site if more people like you start visiting and taking advantage of this content.

If my site helped you figure out how to deal with your debt, please post a link to it wherever you talk about related issues online, whether that’s Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or some kind of Forum – every little thing helps, and word of mouth is the best way to get the news out that FSLD exists!

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Thanks for visiting, and thank you so much for your support!


Disclaimer:Information obtained from Forget Student Loan Debt is for educational purposes only. You should consult a licensed financial professional before making any financial decisions. This site receives some compensation through affiliate relationships. This site is not endorsed or affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education.

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