Americans for Financial Reform (AFR) applauds the news that the Department of Education will grant automatic discharges to all former students of American Career Institute (ACI) in Massachusetts. Before being confirmed, any nominee for Secretary of the Department of Education must clearly articulate plans to rapidly pursue additional automatic group discharges, to ensure that all Americans are protected from future exploitation of taxpayer-backed loans by predatory schools.
AFR welcomes the news that the Department of Education has finalized a rule that will prohibit the use of forced arbitration at schools. We hope that as the Department moves forward to procedural guidance and to enforcement that it does everything possible to ensure that no defrauded borrower be left buried in debt from a school that broke the law, betrayed its students, and cheated taxpayers.
AFR Statement: Education Department Must Immediately Cease Collections on Defrauded Corinthian Students, Cancel their Debts without Application
Americans for Financial Reform (AFR) is dismayed to learn that the Department of Education is still actively collecting on nearly 80,000 former Corinthian students. These actions run counter to the requests of AFR and a coalition of advocates led by the National Consumer Law Center
Letter to Regulators: AFR Calls on the Dept of ED to Make Wronged Students Whole in the Borrower Defense Rule
AFR submitted comments to the Department of Education suggesting ways to ensure that their borrower defense proposal can truly provide a fair and transparent processes for students seeking debt relief following illegal acts by their schools.
Over 10,000 members of Americans for Financial Reform signed a petition calling on the Department to provide full loan relief to defrauded students, provide automatic loan cancellation when there is sufficient evidence of a school’s wrongdoing, not impose time limits on relief for defrauded borrowers, and close gaping loopholes allowing unscrupulous schools to prevent injured students from having their day in court.
“For years, advocates have urged the Department of Education to relieve the staggering debt of students who attended for-profit colleges like Corinthian which broke the law. Today, the Department released a forward-looking proposal outlining how students who were victims of illegal acts by their school may pursue a ‘borrower defense to repayment,’ or cancellation of the debt on their federal student loans. We look forward to working with the Department to improve the final proposal so that all students victimized by unlawful and deceptive conduct receive every penny of relief they deserve.”
“We join with the advocates, lawmakers, and law enforcement officials who have all called on the Department use its legal authority to discharge debts of students covered by the Department’s enforcement actions without further delay and without requiring each borrower to make an individual application.”
Letter to Regulators: AFR, 34 Orgs Press for Automatic Relief to Groups of Students Victimized by Predatory Practices
“We are deeply concerned by the slow pace and small number of discharges that have been processed and that many of the Department’s proposals in the current negotiated rulemaking process move in the wrong direction, reducing eligibility for relief, pitting students against schools, and creating unnecessary burdens on students and the Department.”
AFR in the News: There’s a newish cop on the beat as Department of Education launches enforcement unit (Washington Post)
“The department must move quickly to discharge the debt of all Corinthian students,” said Alexis Goldstein, senior policy analyst at the progressive Americans for Financial Reform. “Hundreds of thousands of borrowers from Corinthian remain on the hook for federal student loans. … despite the fact that the illegal actions identified in department enforcement actions were endemic throughout the entire chain.”
AFR Statement: Student Aid Enforcement Unit, Department of Education Must Grant Swift Relief to Defrauded Corinthian Students
“It is good that the Department of Education recognizes the depth of the problems of fraud at too many for-profit institutions of higher education, as evidenced by the formation of the Student Aid Enforcement Unit. But hundreds of thousands of borrowers from the now-bankrupt Corinthian Colleges, Inc. remain on the hook for federal student loans, and continue to accrue interest. This is despite the fact that the illegal actions identified in Department enforcement actions against certain Corinthian schools were endemic throughout the entire chain.”