How to Qualify for a DeVry Student Loan Discharge or Refund
NEWS ALERT: On Thursday, December 13th 2018 the Department of Education announced that they’ll begin immediately approving $150,000,000 in Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Discharges for up to $150,000,000 previously held up in arbitration.
There’s a very good chance that DeVry borrowers will see their loans forgiven in this wave of forgiveness, and DOE began notifying borrowers of their discharge approvals on Friday December 14th, stating that the forgiven debt would be eliminated within 30 to 90 days.
If you’ve already applied for a DeVry Discharge, make sure to watch your emails closely, and if you’ve been waiting to submit an application, I would highly suggest that you send it in today to increase your odds of being approved during this round of approvals!
Some People Have Already Received Refunds…
As of 2019, the FTC’s DeVry Student Loan Forgiveness Program has already sent tens of thousands of refund checks to former DeVry students, offering about 173,000 people a total of $49,000,000 in student loan forgiveness benefits (averaging $280 per student), but this amount pales in comparison to what you could receive via the Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Program.
Below, I’ll explain the FTC’s forgiveness settlement with DeVry, including who qualifies for the benefit, why DeVry is being forced to pay back former students, and what you need to do to ensure you receive your check (if you haven’t gotten one already…).
Then I’ll explain your better option – how you can qualify for a complete loan discharge by filing a Borrower’s Defense to Repayment claim against DeVry, including explaining what Borrower’s Defense is, how it works, and what you’ll need to say to get your discharge approved.
But Before I Explain How Borrower’s Defense Works…
Let me offer you one quick word of caution – because the Department of Education has received so many BDAR Applications and is now taking over 2 years to respond to new submissions, sending in an application then just waiting for their approval isn’t going to be your best option for dealing with student debt.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!
DeVry Loan Forgiveness Comes in Two Tasty Flavors
As I mentioned above, there are technically two completely different DeVry Student Loan Forgiveness Benefits Programs, including:
- The FTC’s Settlement with DeVry, which issues small, but automatic refund checks (averaging about $280 per borrower)
- Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Discharges, which require a lot of work, but provide complete student loan forgiveness (plus potential refunds for any money already paid to DeVry!)
It’s pretty obvious that it’d be better to qualify for a Borrower’s Defense Discharge, but it’s the FTC Settlement with DeVry which has been making headlines in recent years, even though it only offers about $300 in loan forgiveness to each student who qualifies.
And while $300 is great, it’s nothing compared to what you’d get if you were get approved for a Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment Discharge, which could get you a complete discharge, plus refunds for anything you’ve already paid DeVry.
Let’s go through the differences of these two programs so that you can see exactly what you’ll need to do to ensure you receive as much financial support as possible.
1. Partial Refunds from the FTC Settlement with DeVry
On July 10th, 2017, the FTC announced that they were beginning to send out partial refunds to former DeVry students, averaging about $280 in refunds per student.
This stems from a lawsuit filed against DeVry that resulted from their improper and illegal activities used to recruit students by allegedly making false promises and committing false advertising.
Partial refunds were already provided to people who:
- enrolled in a bachelor’s or associate’s degree program at DeVry University between January 1, 2008 and October 1, 2015
- paid at least $5,000 with cash, loans, or military benefits
- did not get debt or loan forgiveness as part of this settlement
- completed at least one class credit.
These partial refunds are great, because they are the first time I can recall a big school getting forced to issue refunds to their students, but the $300 they offer to each individual student doesn’t really move the needle much either.
Fortunately, if you owe lots of money to DeVry, then you don’t have to settle for that tiny $300 check, and can go after the whole enchilada using a Borrower’s Defense claim.
2. Complete Forgiveness via Borrower’s Defense
The Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Program is the best-kept secret in the student loans industry, and one that the media rarely mentions (because of who funds their budgets…).
Borrower’s Defense allows you to request a complete and total discharge for any amount of money you owe a school, as well a refund for any funds that you’ve already paid them, if you can prove that you only borrowed money to attend that school as a result of having been lied to, defrauded, tricked or otherwise illegally scammed.
Because DeVry has admitted to all sorts of illegal activity, like running ads on TV, Radio and the Internet, which lied about their job placement rates and the income levels of their graduates, it’s not that hard to file a successful Borrower’s Defense claim against them, as long as you understand how the program works.
The bad news is that thousands of former DeVry students have already submitted a Borrower’s Defense claim, and so many Borrower’s Defense applications have recently been submitted to the Department of Education that it’s reportedly taking over a year for applicants to find out if their submissions are approved, so you’ll want to get your application in as soon as possible to avoid a long delay.
One other benefit to applying right away is that it’s possible President Trump’s Student Loan Reform Program will literally end the Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Program (his Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has already been sued TWICE for trying to pause processing Borrower’s Defense claims), and submitting your application before he cancels the program could grandfather you into it, allowing you to qualify for a discharge even if he ends funding for the benefit.
Now that you know how powerful Borrower’s Defense is, and why it’s so important that you get an application in right away, let’s go through what you actually need to do to fill out your Borrower’s Defense application properly so that it’ll be approved.
How to Write Your Borrower’s Defense Claim Against DeVry
If you choose to file a Borrower’s Defense Claim against DeVry, you’ll need to keep one very important point in mind: this is a legally binding process, so you need to tell the truth, because lying could lead to facing very harsh consequences.
Please do not ruin Borrower’s Defense for people who DESERVE discharges, and make sure that you don’t exaggerate, fib, or outright lie about your own experience with DeVry, because if enough people make that mistake, this program is sure to be removed.
With that said – keep in mind that when you file your claim against DeVry, you’ll need to accuse them of committing some form of illegal behavior, and clearly state that this illegal activity was the primary motivation for your choice to borrow money to pay for their higher education programs.
In other words, your Borrower’s Defense Application will only be approved if you can successfully argue that you only borrowed the money to go to DeVry because they did something illegal, like lying to you about their job placement rates, or average salary data.
The nice thing about filing a Borrower’s Defense claim against DeVry is that it’ll be pretty dang easy to prove that, since DeVry has already admitted to committing all sorts of illegal behavior in the way that they advertised to potential students, doing things like falsely claiming that their graduates with Bachelor’s Degrees earned 15% higher incomes than graduates from competing schools.
Below I’ll go through some of the illegal behaviors that DeVry has been accused of, and admitted to, so you can think about whether or not any of these happened to you, then use them as reasons for why your DeVry loans should be discharged.
What Illegal Activity Did DeVry Admit To?
In late 2016, DeVry University finally admitted that its ads “misled prospective students”, and agreed to pay out $100,000,000 to settle a lawsuit with the Federal Trade Commission.
These are the funds that were used to pay back former DeVry students via the FTC’s automated payments, but what really matters here is that DeVry admitted to having done all sorts of illegal stuff, and stuff that you can use as evidence in your Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Application!
Some of the highlights were found when the Department of Education investigated DeVry’s advertised claims, such as one stating that 90% of their graduates since 1975 were able to find jobs in their study areas within just six months of graduation, which the Department of Education said DeVry could not prove.
If you happened to see an ad, or read a pamphlet, or receive an email, or be told by an enrollment advisor that this was a true fact, then you just may have an argument that your DeVry loans were created based on illegal activity.
DeVry also falsely claimed that their graduates with Bachelor’s Degrees earned, on average, 15% higher incomes a year after graduating than graduates from other colleges and universities, and again, DeVry wasn’t able to provide any proof for this statement to the Department of Education either.
If you ran across this claim, and that claim convinced you that it was a good idea to take out loans to attend DeVry simply because you’d make 15% more than you’d get after graduating from some other college, then you may be able to use that as your argument for Borrower’s Defense.
The key point here is that these statements are totally illegal, because they’re what’s known as “false advertising”, and that’s exactly the type of behavior that you need to include on your Borrower’s Defense Application.
Make Sure Your Claims Are Clear
When you fill out your Borrower’s Defense document, you need to remember that someone at the Department of Education will be reading it, and that you’ll have to convince them that you really only agreed to borrow money to attend DeVry as a direct result of the things they lied about in their ads.
The best way to do this is to tell a story about how much of an impact these claims had on you, as perhaps you were waffling between attending DeVry and a local, cheaper state-school, but then you heard that DeVry graduates earn 15% more money than graduates from other schools, so you agreed to borrow more money to attend DeVry than you would have needed for that local college.
Perhaps you were considering attending a trade school, or signing up to be an apprentice somewhere, but then you saw that 90% of DeVry grads were able to find jobs in their field within 6 months of graduation, which significantly reduced the risk you thought you were taking by borrowing so much money to go to DeVry.
Do you see what I’m trying to say? If you can’t tell a story like this in your application, then it’s likely to be denied, because Borrower’s Defense hinges on the idea that you would not have taken out those student loans had you not experienced fraudulent activity from a bad actor.
DeVry Is TRULY a Bad Actor Who Deserves to be Punished
If you’re on the fence about hurting DeVry, because you’re one of those people that doesn’t want to blame anyone else for your own mistakes, then let me make it clear to you why DeVry definitely deserves to cover the costs of your education.
When DeVry claimed that their 90% of their students were able to find careers within their fields within 6 months of graduation, they included jobs like being a Server at the Cheesecake Factory counting as working in the field of Business Administration, or being a Sales Associate at Macy’s counting as working in the field of Technical Management.
If that’s not enough to prove to you how loosely DeVry played with the facts to come up with their outlandish claims, them I’m not sure what it’d take to convince you that these guys were operating in the scummiest, most disingenuous way possible.
In fact, while I do have a great friend who makes a ton of money as a Computer Programmer, and which he only got to become thanks to his degree from DeVry, I’d consder DeVry to be more of a marketing company than a school, as it has truly failed so many of it’s attendees, and these failures have been documented by massive media outlets like Forbes, the New York Times, Market Watch, and others.
If you were tricked by DeVry’s deceptive advertising campaigns, then you owe it to yourself to pursue a Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Discharge in order to punish them, and to help convince other schools to avoid participating in similar illegal marketing activity to trap other students in debt.
Where Do I File My Borrower’s Defense Application?
There’s only ONE PLACE that you need to go (and should go) to file your claim against DeVry, and that’s the official U.S. Government website for the Borrower’s Defense Program, which is here: https://borrowerdischarge.ed.gov/FormWizard/BDU/BDULanding.aspx.
Do NOT file a Borrower’s Defense Application with anyone else, because everyone else who wants to take down all this information from you may be a potential Student Loan Scammer, and you could be opening yourself up to a world of hurt via Identity Theft or other problems.
When you’re filling out your Borrower’s Defense Claim, remember that it’s legally binding, so you need to tell the truth about everything you submit to the Department of Education. Do not lie. Do not even exaggerate.
Be honest and completely open about your experience, but don’t be afraid to point the finger at DeVry if they really did trick you into signing up for their school with illegal false advertising claims.
If you need help with your Borrower’s Defense Application, feel free to post questions in the Comments section below here and I’ll do my best to offer advice, or call the Student Loan Relief Helpline for their expert assistance. You can reach them at 1-888-906-3065.
Remember though, the Helpline is NOT a Government Service, and it will cost money to get their aid in completing all the paperwork. These guys are experts, and they can definitely ensure that your paperwork is completed properly, but they cannot guarantee that your Application will get approved, and they cannot do anything you couldn’t do entirely on your own, for free.
The value in bringing them in is that they do this day in and day out, they know how to structure a Borrower’s Defense claim, and they’ll increase the chances that you put forward a solid argument that deserves to be approved.
Where Can I Check the Status of My Application?
As of the time of this writing, there is no way to check on the status of your application.
After you submit it, you’ll just have to keep your fingers crossed and pray that your application makes it to the right people, is reviewed properly, and approved to provide you with a discharge.
Remember that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (and by extension, President Trump who appointed her) are not at all fans of Borrower’s Defense, and have been actively trying to kill the program off.
That’s the reason you need to get your application in now, and make sure that it’s filled out correctly, because if they cancel the program before you submit, you’ll be out of luck, and if they cancel the program after you’ve submitted an incorrect or incomplete application, there’s a good chance you’ll still be out of luck.
Will I Have to Pay Taxes on My Forgiven Debt?
Unfortunately, the answer to that question is a resounding YES.
Whether your loans are Federal or Private, the IRS is going to force you to claim whatever amount of money you end up getting forgiven as income on your IRS return.
I cover this topic in detail on my page Student Loan Forgiveness Benefits and Taxable Income Laws, but here’s a basic example:
If you get $10,000 in DeVry student loan debt forgiven, then you’ll have to add that $10,000 to your annual income on your IRS tax return, and you’ll need to pay a percentage of that $10,000 in taxes (whatever your tax bracket’s rate is).
As a further example, if your income tax bracket pays 33%, then you’d have to pay $3,300 in taxes on the $10,000 forgiveness that you received.
And while it’s still a good deal, because you’re netting a gain of $6,700, keep in mind that your tax bill will be due all at once, whereas your student loan payments were being stretched out over a long period of time.
I’m so worried that many people will end up getting hit by huge tax bills they weren’t anticipating, and can’t afford, so I’ve created an entirely new website specifically for helping people with tax-related problems, called Forget Tax Debt.
This new site is just like Forget Student Loan Debt, where I offer free advice and information about all sorts of related problems, except that instead of talking about student loan problems, I’m covering tax related problems.
On Forget Tax Debt, I’ve already offered advice on a variety of issues, like Applying for IRS Tax Debt Forgiveness, Settling Your IRS Tax Debt, Evaluating Tax Resolution Companies, Applying for the IRS Fresh Start Program, and even Avoiding IRS Phone Scams, but I’ve got many more in the pipeline, so be sure to check it out!
Where Did DeVry Forgiveness Come From?
In late 2016, DeVry University finally admitted that its ads “misled prospective students”, and agreed to pay out $100,000,000 to settle a lawsuit with the Federal Trade Commission.
Under the terms of the settlement, DeVry was forced to allocate:
- $49,400,000 for FTC to provide partial refunds to anyone who paid for DeVry classes
- $50,600,000 in loan forgiveness and debt forgiveness benefits to anyone who owes money to DeVry
These funds are available to anyone who attended DeVry between 2008 and 2015, with some of the students receiving money, and others qualifying for student loan debt relief benefits (debt forgiveness on their DeVry-related student loan debt).
Typically, whenever programs like this are announced, benefits are only available to people with Federal Student Loans, so it’s pretty amazing that these benefits cover private student loans too.
And one thing to keep in mind about DeVry forgiveness is that no matter when you attended DeVry, you’re still eligible to submit a Borrower’s Defense Application for having the ENTIRETY of your Federal loans forgiven, so don’t let the timing thing throw you off, as that’s only applicable to the already settled lawsuit.
What Loans Are Being Refunded?
DeVry University is being forced to cancel all unpaid balances for any private student loans issued by the school between September 1st, 2008, and September 30th, 2015, so if you attended during that time period, you’re in for a major windfall.
[NOTE: These dates only apply to the lawsuit settlement that already occurred! EVERYONE is eligible to submit a Borrower’s Defense Application against the school, no matter when they attended.]
In addition, DeVry is going to also be forced to cancel $20,250,000 in debt owed to the school for tuition, books, lab fees and other costs associated with attending their academic programs, pretty much guaranteeing that anybody who went to DeVry during the impacted time period is going to get some kind of financial assistance.
The FTC is also going to host their own refund program, but the details surrounding that have not yet emerged. Be on the lookout for details from DeVry, as they’ve been told they must inform all previous students within 30 days after the judgment gets entered (meaning, very soon).
UPDATE: Reader Anthony reported that DeVry promised to contact everyone eligible for this forgiveness program by January 18th, 2017. If you did not hear from them before that deadline, but you are sure that you should qualify for some relief, then you need to contact DeVry, the Department of Education, or the Student Loan Ombudsman Group and start pushing for your benefit.
UPDATE 2: Reader Anthony also found out that anyone with loans issued by another institution other than DeVry (like Federal loans, or Private loans from a bank) will not be automatically eligible for the FTC’s DeVry debt cancellation program, but will have to use the route of filing a Borrowers Defense Against Repayment to get their loans forgiven.
The good news about the Borrower’s Defense route is that it makes you eligible for a complete discharge of all your loans, and even potentially refunds for any payments you’ve already issued, compared to a measly check for $280.
UPDATE: NOT ALL DeVry-Related Loans Being Forgiven…
While I initially interpreted the FTC Settlement as stating that any debt at all related to DeVry’s educational costs would be forgiven, reader Anthony provided another great analysis of some specific details of the program, and it turns out that only loans issued directly from DeVry itself are being automatically cancelled and refunded.
That means that if your loans originated elsewhere, say from the Federal Government, or from a private bank, then you won’t be automatically included in the cancellation and refund initiative.
On the bright side, this doesn’t mean you can’t receive forgiveness, as both the Student Loan Ombudsman Group AND the Department of Education’s StudentAid.ed.gov representative indicated that anyone with outstanding DeVry debt would be easily able to qualify for a Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment discharge, especially since the Government itself has already proven beyond a reasonable doubt that DeVry actively misled students, violated state laws, and essentially ripped people off.
If you still owe money for DeVry educational programs, you need to visit my page about the Borrowers Defense Against Repayment Provision, learn about the application process, and submit your application ASAP. These applications are taking months to get approved, so it’s best to get yours turned in as quickly as possible.
One thing to keep in mind – this is a one shot chance at getting complete student loan forgiveness, so don’t screw it up. It’s worth spending a few hundred or even a couple thousand dollars consulting with an attorney to get their assistance in creating your Borrowers Defense Against Repayment letter.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are lots of questions about this forgiveness program, since the news just broke, and so many students are being impacted.
My favorite part about this story isn’t that tons of people will be getting money back, but that just like the ITT Tech Student Loan Forgiveness Program, and the Corinthian Colleges Student Loan Forgiveness Program before it, another For-Profit School is being punished for aggressively pursuing profits above student’s best interest.
Anyway, here are some of the most common questions related to DeVry’s Debt Forgiveness Program:
What Did DeVry Do Wrong?
According to the complaint filed with the FTC, DeVry ran ads on Television, the Radio, Online and in Traditional Print Media claiming that their job placement rates and income levels were significantly higher than what actual students reported, which is false advertising, and highly illegal.
The Department of Education investigated some of their claims, such as one stating that 90% of their graduates since 1975 were able to find jobs in their study areas within just six months of graduation, finding that DeVry couldn’t provide any proof for the claims.
DeVry also falsely claimed that their graduates with Bachelor’s Degrees earned, on average, 15% higher incomes a year after graduating than graduates from other colleges and universities, and again, failed to unearth any proof for the statement.
These statements, are what’s known as “false advertising”, which is entirely illegal.
Fortunately, if you’re a DeVry student or graduate who attended during the affected time period (any time after 2008), then you may be eligible for restitution via the DeVry Student Loan Forgiveness & Repayment Program (I made this name up, it’s not official).
How Do I Claim My Forgiveness Benefit?
If you were eligible for the automated forgiveness refunds issued as part of the FTC settlement, then you should have already received them.
If you think you should have received one, but haven’t yet, then you need to contact your Loan Servicer to request information on the process and figure out what went wrong.
The FTC’s official page on the program said that students should have been “on the lookout for information… on your eligibility for a refund or for a notification from DeVry explaining your debt forgiveness”, but we all know that DeVry could have “forgotten” to include everyone on those notifications…
The FTC also said that DeVry was supposed to inform the credit bureaus and debt collection agencies about this debt forgiveness program, and that they were supposed to inform you of your personal benefits as well, within 30 days after the court’s order was finalized, but that deadline has long passed, so again, if you didn’t hear from them, then it’s time to contact your loan servicing company.
If you’ve been struggling to get your diploma or academic transcripts from DeVry because of your failure to pay down outstanding debt related to their programs, then you’re in for some good news as well, because the school is being forced to issue diplomas and transcripts to all students and graduates, regardless of remaining debt.
Finally, the school was supposed to set up a toll-free phone number you could call if your credit report continues to show the wrong information about your DeVry-related debt, basically allowing you to call them on their BS and force them to fix your information with the credit bureaus, but I haven’t been able to find this number anywhere online so I am unable to share it with you all at this time.
Are DeVry Refunds Available Now?
Yes, the FTC refunds should have already been provided. If you think you’re eligible, but never received one, you need to call your loan servicing company to find out what went wrong.
Who is Eligible for DeVry Forgiveness Benefits?
Anyone who attended the school between January 1st, 2008 and September 30th, 2015, including people who completed degree programs, as well as those who didn’t.
How Can I Claim My Refund?
You should have received it already, but if you did not, then contact whoever services your loans to see if you really do qualify for the benefit.
Alternatively, if you want to pursue a Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Claim, then scroll up to the section of this page covering that information.
How Much Money Can I Get?
The FTC refunds were pretty weak (for most people) only providing an average of about $300. I did receive feedback from several visitors who got more, and many who got less.
Via the Borrower’s Defense path though, you could qualify for a 100% discharge of all outstanding loan debt, plus refunds for anything you’ve already paid back.
Do I Need to Pay Money for My Refund?
No! If a debt consolidation company or some other vendor contacts you offering to help you get your DeVry student loan forgiveness refund, then hang up the phone!
You’ll be working directly with the school to get this benefit – do NOT pay anyone else to help you get the funding, because that’s already certainly bound to be some sort of scam.
What if I Have Other Questions?
First, be sure you look at my Guide to the Borrower’s Defense to Repayment program, here, then consider checking out the other Guides I’ve developed on student debt.
To get Help with Federal Loans, visit my pages on Federal Student Loan Forgiveness, Student Loan Bankruptcy Discharges, Student Loan Delinquency, Student Loan Rehabilitation, and Student Loan Wage Garnishments.
And for Help with Private Loans, look at my pages about Private Student Loan Forgiveness, Private Student Loan Consolidation, Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Discharges and Private Student Loan Defaults.
If you still have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments section below.
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