The Department of Education agreed to wipe out $6 billion in student loan debt — find out if you qualify

1 week ago 18
  • The Department of Education agreed to a $6 billion settlement to cancel debt for 200,000 borrowers.
  • Borrowers will receive a full discharge of their loans, a refund, and credit repair.
  • An additional 60,000 borrowers will have their cancellation decisions reviewed individually. 

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The Department of Education agreed on June 23 to cancel the student loan debt of about 200,000 borrowers, wiping out about $6 billion in total debt. More than 60,000 additional borrowers may also see their debt axed. Nearly all the schools involved are for-profit colleges or vocational programs. 

The settlement stems from a 2019 class action lawsuit, Sweet v. Cardona, which argued many borrower defense claims for loan cancellation were being ignored by the Department of Education. 

Borrower defense to loan repayment, often referred to as borrower defense for short, is a program from the federal government that allows you to discharge some or all of your student debt if your school defrauded you or violated specific state laws, like consumer protection statutes. You must prove you suffered specific financial harm as a result, such as not being employable as a result of your program.

How to know if you qualify

You don't need to do anything to join the Sweet v. Cardona class action lawsuit. You are a member if you submitted a borrower defense application on or before June 22, 2022, and have not received a decision, or received a form denial in or after December 2019. There's no cost to be a part of the class action lawsuit, and borrowers from any listed school qualify. 

The class is made up of 264,000 people who have a pending borrower defense application as of June 22, 2022 (the date when the agreement was signed). About 200,000 attended one of the over 150 schools listed below and will get a full discharge of their loans, a refund of what they've paid, and credit repair. The Department of Education has found significant indicators of misconduct by these schools and has noted a high number of borrower defense applicants from these schools.

The other 64,000 in the class attended schools not on the list below. They will get individualized decisions on their borrower defense applications within rolling deadlines, depending on how long their applications have been pending.

Timeline of decisions on Sweet vs. Cardona lawsuit

If you're a borrower whose school isn't on the list, you may have to wait to get your forgiveness decision. Predatorystudentlending.org

How do you apply for borrower defense?

To apply for borrower defense, you'll need your Federal Student Aid ID, school name and program of study, enrollment dates, and evidence to support why you believe you are eligible for borrower defense. You can apply online or by filling out a PDF and sending it in via email or standard mail. The application process will take roughly 30 minutes. 

To get more information on the status of your application, you may call the Department of Education's borrower defense hotline at 1-855-279-6207. You can speak with someone Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. 

There is a limited pool of borrowers who qualify for borrower defense, but it doesn't hurt to apply and see whether you're eligible if you believe your school defrauded you. 

Which schools qualify?

A

ATI Career Training Center
ATI College
ATI College of Health
ATI Technical Training Center
Al Collins Graphic Design School
All-State Career School
Allentown Business School
American Career College
American Career Institute
American College for Medical Careers
American Commercial College
American InterContinental University
American National University
American University of the Caribbean
Anamarc College
Anthem College
Anthem Institute
Argosy University
Arizona Summit Law School
Ashford University

B

Bauder College
Beckfield College
Berkeley College
Blue Cliff College
Branford Hall Career Institute
Briarcliffe College
Brightwood Career Institute
Brightwood College
Brooks College
Brooks Institute
Brown College
Brown Institute
Brown Mackie College

C

California College San Diego
California Culinary Academy
California School of Culinary Arts
Capella University
Career Point College
Carrington College
Center for Employment Training
Chamberlain University
Charlotte School of Law
Chicago School of Professional Psychology
CollegeAmerica
Collins College
Colorado Technical University
Concorde Career College
Concorde Career Institute
Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago
Court Reporting Institute
Court Reporting Institute of St Louis

D

Daymar College
DeVry College of Technology
DeVry University
Devry Institute of Technology
Dorsey College

E

Empire Beauty School
Everglades University

F

FastTrain
Florida Career College
Florida Coastal School of Law
Florida Technical College
Fortis College
Fortis Institute

G

Gibbs College
Globe University
Grand Canyon University
Gwinnett College

H

Hallmark Institute of Photography
Hallmark University
Harrington College of Design
Harris School of Business

I

ITT Technical Institute
Illinois Institute of Art
Independence University
Institute for Health Education
International Academy of Design and Technology
International Technical Institute

K

Kaplan Career Institute
Kaplan College
Katharine Gibbs School
Keiser University
Keller Graduate School of Management
Kitchen Academy

L

La' James College of Hairstyling
La' James International College
Le Cordon Bleu
Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts
Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts
Lehigh Valley College
Lincoln College of Technology
Lincoln Technical Institute

M

Marinello School of Beauty
McCann School of Business & Technology
McIntosh College
Medtech College
Miami International University of Art & Design
Miami-Jacobs Career College
Micropower Career Institute
Miller Motte Business College
Miller-Motte College
Miller-Motte Technical College
Minnesota School of Business
Missouri College of Cosmetology North
Mount Washington College

N

NUC University
National University College
New England College of Business and Finance
New England Institute of Art

O

Orlando Culinary Academy

P

Pennsylvania Culinary Institute
Pittsburgh Career Institute
Purdue University Global

R

Radians College
Remington College
Robert Fiance Beauty Schools
Robert Fiance Hair Design Institute
Robert Fiance Institute of Florida
Ross University School of Medicine
Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine

S

Salter College
Sanford-Brown College
Sanford-Brown Institute
School of Computer Technology
Scottsdale Culinary Institute
South University
Southern California School of Culinary Arts
Southern Technical College
Star Career Academy
Stevens-Henager
Suburban Technical School
Sullivan and Cogliano Training Centers

T

Texas Culinary Academy
The Art Institute
Tucson College

U

Ultrasound Diagnostic Schools
United Education Institute
University of Phoenix
University of the Rockies

V

Vatterott College
Virginia College

W

Walden University
Washington Business School
Western Culinary Institute
Western International University
Western School of Health and Business Careers
Western State University College of Law
Westwood College
Wilfred Academy
Wilfred Academy of Beauty Culture
Wilfred Academy of Hair & Beauty Culture
Wright Business School
Wright Career College

Ryan Wangman, CEPF

Junior Loans Reporter

Ryan Wangman is a junior reporter at Personal Finance Insider reporting on personal loans, student loans, student loan refinancing, debt consolidation, auto loans, RV loans, and boat loans. He is also a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF). In his past experience writing about personal finance, he has written about credit scores, financial literacy, and homeownership. He graduated from Northwestern University and has previously written for The Boston Globe.  Learn more about how Personal Finance Insider chooses, rates, and covers financial products and services here >>

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