Sen. Dick Durbin, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee

Biden recently approved the biggest group student-loan discharge for defrauded Corinthian students.
Sen. Dick Durbin said he should extend that relief to 3,600 defrauded Westwood College students in Illinois.
A group claim for Westwood was submitted six years ago, but the Education Department has yet to act on it.

After President Joe Biden enacted the biggest group student-loan relief for defrauded borrowers, a top Democratic senator wants him to extend the favor to others.

On Thursday, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin sent a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to follow-up on  requests for relief, known as borrower defense to repayment claims, for over 3,600 students defrauded by Westwood College in Illinois. The for-profit school shut down in 2015, and following its closure Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul filed a group borrower defense claim on behalf of students in the state’s criminal justice program. 

Durbin says it time Cardona approves that claim, as he did with nearly 600,000 students defrauded by Corinthian Colleges two weeks ago.

“These were the first group discharges since 2017, when former Secretary Betsy DeVos irresponsibly stopped processing borrower defense applications and issued blanket denials to clear the backlog before leaving the Department,” Durbin wrote. “While I applaud the Department’s actions to undo the harm caused by the Trump Administration and streamline access to debt relief that hundreds of thousands of borrowers are legally entitled to, I believe the Department also must provide group discharges for borrowers who attended Westwood College.”

Durbin was referring to a methodology implemented under DeVos that compared the median earnings of graduates with debt-relief claims to the median earnings of graduates in comparable programs in order to determine if schools had overpromised earning potential and defrauded students. Compared to a 99.2% approval rate for defrauded claims filed under President Barack Obama, DeVos had a 99.4% denial rate for borrowers. 

According to investigations from the Illinois Attorney General’s office, Westwood misrepresented costs and employment prospects to students, leaving many of them with big student debt loads but no degree. That’s why, along with pressure from Durbin, a group of advocacy groups including Student Defense, which advocates for borrowers’ rights, at the end of May sued the Education Department for failing to process Westwood’s group discharge claim for six years.

“For nearly six years, across administrations, the Department has shirked its obligations, leaving countless borrowers in the …read more

Source:: Business Insider


Biden’s Education Department must continue to ‘undo the harm’ Trump caused student-loan borrowers by wiping out debt for an additional 3,600 defrauded students, a top Democratic senator says

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