The US Department of Education has announced new steps in their efforts to hold career colleges accountable for ensuring that students receive a high-quality, affordable education that enables them to find careers. Efforts will pay particular attention to the concerns of students who had attended schools owned by Corinthian Colleges.
Previous efforts by the Department include implementing harsher regulations concerning falsified claims by colleges in order to enroll more students, as well as issuing “gainful employment” regulations in order to ensure that students do not end up with a debt they cannot repay. Institutions will continue to be held accountable by the Department to improve their programs, protect students, and safeguard taxpayers.
“While some for-profit career colleges play a critical role in helping students succeed in their educational and training pursuits, too often, bad actors in the sector have preyed on some of our nation’s most vulnerable students and taken advantage of hard-working Americans who simply want a better future for themselves and their families,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “I am committed to ensuring that every student has access to an education that will put them on solid footing for a career, and I will hold schools accountable for practices that undercut their students and taxpayers. Where students have been harmed by fraudulent practices, I am fully committed to making sure students receive every penny of relief they are entitled to under law. We will make this process as easy as possible for them, including by considering claims in groups wherever possible, and hold institutions accountable.”
The Department has been at work trying to obtain debt relief for previous Corinthian students in a fair, efficient and streamlined way, so that eligible students are aware of the opportunity.
The recent announcement pertains to students of Corinthian schools that have been shut down, as well as those who believe they are victims of fraud whether or not there school has been closed. Some Corinthian locations were sold and remain open under other providers.
When a college closes, students are allowed to withdraw their federal loans if they were attending when the school closed or if they had completed their studies within 120 days of the closing date. However, due to the unique nature of the Corinthian closures, the Department has chosen to extend the window of opportunity to reach back to June 20, 2014, in order to include those students who were in attendance at the now-closed campuses after an agreement was reached between the schools and the Department concerning the termination of Corinthian’s ownership.
In addition, the Department is taking steps to streamline the process that will allow students to seek loan forgiveness on the basis that they believe they were defrauded by their school under state law.