How to Qualify for the ITT Tech Lawsuit & Student Loan Forgiveness Program
UPDATED Tuesday March 24th, 2020
If you attended ITT Tech between 2006 and 2016, then you may qualify for ITT Tech student loan forgiveness benefits via either the The Borrowers Defense To Repayment program or the Closed School Loan Discharge program.
If you don’t want to pursue a BDAR discharge or the Closed School Loan discharge, but would instead prefer to keep your ITT Tech credits, then you also have the option of transferring those credits to another school and using them towards a degree completion program.
In this Guide, I’ll explain how to qualify for each of these programs, giving you the details you need to determine which one will work best for you, explaining how to apply for the benefit, and focusing on giving you advice about how to increase the chances of getting your discharge application approved.
If you went to ITT Tech and you want to learn how to eliminate your student debt, then you’ve come to the right place! Please read through the Guide below, then if you have any questions about the programs, feel free to leave them in the Comments section at the bottom of this page and I’ll get you a response within 24 hours.
On Saturday, June 15th, 2019, it was announced that student loan cancellation benefits will be offered to 18,000 former ITT Tech Students, with up to $168 million dollars in debt being forgiven.
This agreement was reached as part of a deal between the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), State Attorney Generals from 43 different states, and Student CU Connect (CUSO), the company who distributed and managed private student loans for ITT Tech.
For full details on the new agreement, visit my Guide on Private Student Loan Forgiveness for ITT Tech Students.
If you need help with Federally-funded student loans from ITT Tech, then keep reading, because this Guide will explain exactly what you need to do to get rid of your Federal ITT Tech debt!
But Before I Delve Into Details on ITT Tech Forgiveness…
Let me give you one quick piece of advice – getting rid of your ITT Tech Loans via the Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Program or a Closed School Loan Discharge could take literally years, as DOE has gotten very bad about responding to applications in a timely manner.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!
Two Ways to Discharge ITT Tech Student Loans
As I stated above, there are two ways that students who attended ITT Tech can get rid of their loans, without paying for them!
Unfortunately, you cannot apply for both programs. Therefore, you’ll need to choose the student loan forgiveness program that gives you the best chance of actually getting rid of your loans.
Let’s take a look at the specifics of each program below so that you can decide which one will work best for you.
Click the links in the numbered list above to be taken to the specific section of the page covering each program.
Discharging ITT Tech Loans via Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment
The Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Program was made to help borrowers get rid of debt that only exists because they were tricked into taking out loans in the first place, basically, by a school that committed some kind of fraudulent activity against them.
In the case of ITT Tech, who faces massive lawsuits and $560,000,000 settlement in response to their violations for committing illegal behavior against students just like you, Borrower’s Defense Discharges are readily available.
The best thing about BDAR discharges is that they can completely eliminate your loans, meaning you won’t have to pay a single cent of the money that you owe, but there’s another added benefit as well: you may even be eligible to get a refund for the money you’ve already paid back!
Remember, you aren’t the only person who was impacted by ITT Tech’s deceptive marketing practices – there are thousands of other students just like you who need assistance too, and I can tell you that in all honesty, you’ve got a great shot at wiping out your debt if you can just follow the Department of Education’s Guidelines for submitting your BDAR application.
Listen Up, Because Here’s the Part that Really Counts…
Before you get too excited, remember the most important part of the BDAR process: you need to link your Borrower’s Defense claim to the fraudulent activity that ITT Tech is accused of in the massive lawsuit filed against them, as this is the best way to convince the DOE that you deserve to have your discharge request approved.
In order to do that, you will need to add details about the lawsuit into your Borrower’s Defense application, including monetary settlement figures and links to reputable sources containing information about the lawsuit and the settlement itself.
Your BDAR application as an attempt to build a case against the school, so you’ll need to include examples of what they did wrong in order to win the argument, and earn your discharge.
To get your discharge request approved, it’s absolutely vital that you pay close attention to the details of application process, and that you fill everything out perfectly, so let’s look at the application process in more detail.
How to Write Your Borrower’s Defense Claim
When writing your BDAR Claim, make sure to stress the fact that ITT Tech has been sued for violating the law by doing illegal things to encourage students to attend their school, and that you never would have borrowed any money to pay for ITT Tech courses if they hadn’t done something illegal to you personally.
This is the most important part of the process! You have to prove that ITT Tech violated some Federal, State or Local Law directly against YOU, by lying to you, making some kind of false promise, or committing some kind of fraud.
You’ll need to bring this up in the details of your BDAR Application, explaining exactly what you were told, promised, or shown, and detailing why that makes you eligible for a BDAR Discharge.
This is the key point of the BDAR process: you will only get an approval for a discharge if you can prove that you only agreed to borrow money to attend ITT Tech because they committed some kind of illegal activity to convince you that it was a good idea.
In the next section, I’ll explain exactly what ITT Tech did that led to the huge lawsuit filed against them, and which led to their eventual closing. If any of the things I outline sound like things you experienced, then you can use them in your BDAR application, so listen closely and write down anything that you remember happening to you.
What Fraudulent Activity has the Art Institute Been Accused Of?
A group of former students represented by Harvard University’s Project on Predatory Student Lending led the charge against ITT Tech, suing them for fraudulently inducing them to take on excessive student loans, and opening up the chances that these students could now file bankruptcy against those loans.
But what’s really important here is that the lawsuit also opens ITT Tech up to Borrower’s Defense Discharge Claims, because it proved in Court that the school did some highly illegal things, including luring students into debt with false or misleading statements about the schools accreditation, job placement rates, and transferability of credits.
In fact, ITT Tech was also sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2014 over the same issues, and in response to that lawsuit, the company was forced to close 140 campuses nation-wide, then initiate bankruptcy proceedings.
This is why you can file a BDAR claim against ITT Tech; they were clearly violating the law, committing fraud, and getting students to borrow debt that they wouldn’t have taken out if they hadn’t been lied to, and this is precisely what you need to explain in your BDAR application.
Did ITT Tech Do Any Of This To You?
If you experienced any of the following illegal activities, then you definitely want to file a Borrower’s Defense Application against ITT Tech, because there’s a very good chance that you can win an approval.
- Were you lied to about ITT Tech’s Accreditation?
- Were you told that ITT Tech graduates had a specific job placement rate?
- Were you told that ITT Tech’s credits were universally transferable?
All three of the statements above constitute illegal activity on behalf of ITT Tech, meaning that you can use these experiences as the reasons for your BDAR request.
Just keep one thing in mind – do not lie on your BDAR application. In fact, don’t even exaggerate. This is a legal process, and if the school or its representatives, or the Department of Education can prove that you are lying, then you may open yourself up to major legal consequences.
Where Can I File My Borrower’s Defense Claim?
If you’ve determined that you’re eligible for a BDAR discharge, then you’llw ant to visit the Government’s official website for filing your application, here.
Make sure not to file a claim anywhere else, or to submit your information to any other group or organization who claims that they can help you! Many of these operations are outright scams, and some are simply tricks to get you hooked on paying them for services that you don’t need.
You should only fill out the BDAR application at the official website above, otherwise you may have your identify stolen, you may be charged for useless services, and you’ll certainly delay the length of time it takes to get your debt discharged.
How Can I Check the Status of My BDAR Application?
Let me warn you about one thing well in advance: it could take over a year, maybe even two years, to hear back on the status of your BDAR request.
The Department of Education under Betsy DeVos and President Trump has been outright hostile to this program, and only begun issuing discharges recently after a Federal Judge ordered them to stop preventing approvals from being processed.
However, don’t let this stop you from submitting the BDAR application, because this may be your best and perhaps even only chance at discharging your loans. I’m just letting you know this in advance so that you don’t get discouraged if you don’t hear back from the Department of Education immediately.
Remember, the sooner you submit your application, the sooner you’ll hear back (even if takes a while) and the sooner your debt will be liminated!
Eliminating ITT Tech Loans via the Closed School Loan Discharge Program
Anyone who attended an ITT school that closed down while you were still attending, or “soon” after you withdrew from the school, and who did NOT complete their program may be eligible for student loan forgiveness via the closed school discharge program.
Closed School Discharges offer up to 100% forgiveness on the balance of any Federal Direct Loans, Federal Family Education Loans (FEEL Loans) and Federal Perkins Loans that were taken out to pay for services at the school which closed.
But what’s even better is that you are also eligible for a reimbursement for all money that you’ve already paid the Federal Government for the services provided to you by ITT Tech or any of its related schools.
If you qualify for an ITT Tech Closed School Loan Discharge, you may have tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars coming your way!
Eligibility Requirements For ITT Tech Closed School Loan Discharges
The eligibility requirements for ITT Closed School Discharges are quite simple. Basically – you had to be attending one of the ITT schools that shut down while it shut down, or have withdrawn from the school within 120 days of the shutdown.
Here are the details in a handy bullet-point list format:
- You must have attended one of the 132 ITT schools who are shutting down, and you cannot have already completed the educational program you were enrolled in at ITT.
- You must have outstanding student loan debt from one of the following Federal student loan forgiveness programs: Direct Loans, FEEL Loans, or Perkins Loans.
- Your ITT school must have closed while you were still enrolled – OR – your ITT school must have closed within 120 days after you withdrew from the program.
As long as you satisfy the above requirements, you’ll eligible to receive an ITT loan discharge.
How Do I Apply For An ITT Tech Closed School Discharge?
First, you’re going to need to get and fill out the official “Closed School Loan Discharge Application”, which you can request from your loan servicer, or which you can download here.
After you’ve filled out the form and sent it to your loan servicer (you can provide it to them via snail mail, email, FTP, or however else they tell you is acceptable – contact them first to find out what processes they support), then you’ll have to wait for their response to see if your application is approved.
It’s seriously that simple! Get the form, fill it out, contact your loan servicer to ask how to submit it, then send it to them. DONE!
Where Can I Download the ITT Closed School Discharge Application Form?
Get it here.
Please note that this is the OFFICIAL United States Government form for the Loan Discharge Application for School Closures.
In order to receive your discharge and have your debt forgiven, you’ll need to fill this out completely and send it to whoever services your loans.
How Do I Find Out Who My Loan Servicer Is?
There’s two easy ways to do this:
- Login to the My Federal Student Aid website, here.
- Call 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243, or if you’re hearing impaired: 1-800-730-8913)
After you’ve provided your information to either the website, or over the phone, you’ll be told who services your loan so you can get their contact information so you can call them and find out where to submit your Closed School Discharge Form.
State Tuition Recovery Fund Refunds
Anyone impacted by the closure of ITT schools may also be eligible to receive money back from their state, via a program known as the State Tuition Recovery Fund.
To find out if you’re eligible for a refund via this program, you need to contact your state’s “Postsecondary Education Agency”.
Google your state name, plus that phrase (example: “California Postsecondary Education Agency“, and you’ll find out who they are and be able to sort out whether or not you’re eligible for additional refunds.
Your Other Option: Credit Transfers
Some people impacted by the closure of their ITT Tech School will undoubtedly want to continue with their education elsewhere, and it’s possible to retain the credits you earned from ITT and simply apply them to another school with a similar program.
If you choose to keep your ITT credits (getting the Closed School Discharge does require sacrificing them), then you’ll have to work with the new school to make sure they will actually approve the ITT course work you completed to decide if you can receive credit for what you’ve already done.
Once the new school has determined what credit you can receive, they’ll sort out what courses you need to complete at their institution in order to complete your program.
The Department of Education is working with ITT Tech’s officials and the reps from other schools, as well as state licensing and postsecondary education agencies from each state, to help go through ITT student academic records from all 135 closed schools to sort out how to determine which students will remain eligible for continued federal student aid funding.
Right now though, it’s basically a huge mess and nobody knows exactly how this part of the process will turn out, so if I were you, unless you were well into a program (nearing completion) I’d strongly consider taking the Closed School Discharge rather than attempting to transfer any credits elsewhere.
There is simply no telling how other schools will respond to ITT’s coursework – you may not get approval for ANY of your credits from ITT, so why take the risk if you can get a full refund?
Frequently Asked Questions
Everyone impacted by the closure of ITT’s campuses (all 136 of them) is trying to figure out their options, and many great questions have already been asked of the Department of Education.
Below you’ll find some of the most popular questions, with answers about how to proceed. Hopefully these will help you sort out your own strategy for dealing with ITT’s closure.
My School Closed and I Lost Eligibility for Federal Student Aid Funds. What Can I Do?
The Department of Education says that you have two options: you can either apply for the closed school loan discharge (explained on this page), or apply to transfer your ITT credits to other educational institutions.
For most students, applying for the discharge is likely to be a tempting offer, but for anyone who came close to completing their degree program, and especially for those students who came close and didn’t rack up much debt, a credit transfer may be the better option.
Will I Owe Taxes On Forgiven Debt?
This is the last question people ask, but the first that should be on their minds, because the answer is a resounding YES, and it has wide-reaching implications.
According to the IRS rules, whenever you receive forgiveness benefits for loans or other debt, you’re supposed to report that forgiveness as part of your “taxable income” on your IRS tax return.
Which means that you’ll end up having to pay INCOME TAXES on the forgiveness benefit you receive, which could end up costing you a substantial amount of money.
For details on how it all works, visit my page on Student Loan Forgiveness Benefits and Taxable Income Laws.
Which ITT Campuses Closed Down?
All of them! All 140 ITT Technical Institute schools have shut down.
ITT Educational Services, Inc. does own another chain of schools called the “Daniel Webster College”, which will continue to operate as normal, but all “ITT” schools are now gone.
Can I Transfer My ITT Tech Credits?
Possibly. You may be eligible to transfer your ITT credits to another educational institution where you can receive credit for whatever work you’ve already completed, then work toward completing their similar program and getting your degree, certificate, or whatever it was that you were working on.
To find out if your credits are eligible for transfer, you’ll need to contact the new school, provide them with transcripts from the ITT school, and see if they’ll accept it. There’s a chance that all, or none, of your ITT work is transferable, so this is a bit of a gamble.
How Can I Get A Copy Of My ITT Transcript?
Before the ITT schools close down completely, they’re required to provide access to your academic records, and to make them accessible indefinitely (meaning forever).
Since this is all literally going down right now as I type this, there’s no information about how to access your transcripts yet, but the best way to find out how to get them will be to contact your state’s postsecondary education agency, or to look at whatever information your ITT school sent you over email when they explained the closure.
How Can I Get Details About How Much Aid I’ve Already Received?
You’ll need to login to the My Federal Student Aid Website, where you can find a complete record of the amount of money you’ve received in federal aid (student loans and other financial assistance programs, like grants, etc.).
What Does It Mean To Get a Loan Discharge?
It means that you won’t have to pay back any more of the debt that you owed on your student loan, and that you’ll get a refund for any payments you made previously, either voluntarily or through forced collection processes (like wage garnishments, etc.).
It also means that your discharge will get reported to all the major credit bureaus, so if you had any negative activity on your credit report that was related to the debt, it’ll disappear and your credit will be repaired.
If I Transferred From ITT And Finished A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PROGRAM At A New School – Am I Still Eligible To Have My ITT Loans Forgiven?
Yes you are!
If the program you studied at the new school is considered to be completely different from whatever you were studying at ITT (that probably means you couldn’t have transferred any related credits from ITT to the new school), then you’ll be able to get your ITT loans discharged.
You won’t be able to get a discharge for the loans related to the new school, but at least without the ITT debt you’ll be able to save some significant cash.
What Is The Deadline For Applying For An ITT Discharge?
There isn’t one.
I Think ITT (or another school) Defrauded Me – What Can I Do?
If you’re worried about fraud committed by ITT – don’t worry – because your closed school discharge will wipe out the related debt anyway.
If you’re worried about being defrauded by another school, then check out my page about the Borrower Defense Against Repayment Program, which operates similarly to the Closed School Loan Discharge Program, and offers complete Federal Student Loan Forgiveness benefits.
Where Can I Ask Other Questions?
I’ve built out this site to help explain all the nuances related to student loans, including both Federal and Private loans, so you should be able to find answers to any questions you have right here.
For Federal Student Loan Relief, visit my pages about Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Programs, Federal Student Loan Bankruptcy Discharges, Federal Student Loan Delinquency, Federal Student Loan Rehabilitation Programs, and Stopping Federal Student Loan Wage Garnishments.
And if you’re looking for Private Student Loan Relief, be sure to look at pages on Private Student Loan Forgiveness Programs, Private Student Loan Consolidation Programs, Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Discharges and Private Student Loan Default Help.
If you have any other questions that you can’t find the answers too, please feel free to post them in the comments section below and I’ll do my best to get you a response as quickly as possible.
Alternatively, contact whoever services your loan to ask about their processes and your eligibility for forgiveness, deferment, or other relief programs, or call the free and Official Government-run Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID.
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