Student loan borrowers await debt relief Image Credit: Time
Student loan borrowers await debt relief Image Credit: Time

Student-Loan Borrowers Await Debt Relief

WHEN CORINTHIAN COLLEGES AND ITT Technical Institutes collapsed in 2015 and 2016, respectively, after allegations of fraud and misleading marketing, it seemed like a moment of reckoning for the for-profit college industry.

Abigail Abrams

Tens of thousands of students were left with no degrees or those not worth the paper they were printed on, plus millions of dollars in student-loan debt. President Obama’s Education Department passed regulations aimed at streamlining the process to forgive loans taken out by defrauded students.

Relief has yet to arrive. Nearly 100,000 student loan borrowers with billions in total debt from an array of mostly for-profit schools are still waiting for their accounts to be cleared, and the process put in place to help them—known as “borrower defense to repayment”—has ground to a halt. The Education Department has the authority to discharge defrauded students’ federal loans, but 11 months into the Trump Administration, not a single claim has been approved, and just two have been denied.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced in June that her department would rewrite the Obama-era rules, saying they were unfair to students and schools, and left taxpayers with a hefty bill. After another delay, the new regulations will now likely go into effect in July 2019. “Fraud, especially fraud committed by a school, is simply unacceptable,” DeVos said in June. “Unfortunately, last year’s rulemaking effort missed an opportunity to get it right.”

Advocates for student borrowers disagree. “There is a general sentiment of frustration with the fact that we’re doing this again,” says W

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