Project Urges Secretary Cardona to Cancel Debts of For-Profit College Students Immediately | Press Release

March 4, 2021

Project Urges Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to Cancel Debts of Hundreds of Thousands of Former For-Profit College Students Immediately

Students promised loan cancellation by the Obama administration are still waiting for relief


BOSTON, MA – The Project on Predatory Student Lending, which represents over one million former for-profit college students, is asking newly-confirmed United States Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to cancel the debts of hundreds of thousands of those students under his existing authority immediately.

The Project on Predatory Student Lending urged Secretary Cardona to take these actions in a letter sent yesterday. In the letter, the Project explains that the Department of Education has refused to adjudicate hundreds of thousands of borrower defense claims, leaving borrowers’ lives in limbo for years. The Project reminds the Secretary of his existing legal authority to cancel these fraudulent debts without any additional action by Congress.

The Project asks the Secretary to take three specific actions to cancel the bogus federal student loans of hundreds of thousands of former for-profit college students. Those are:

  • Canceling debts of all former Corinthian College students;
  • Canceling debts of all former ITT Tech students;
  • Canceling all debts of for-profit college students who have filed borrower defense claims.


“This is a unique opportunity for Secretary Cardona to address the injustices that for-profit colleges and the Department of Education have created for hundreds of thousands of former students who were scammed by their school and have been let down by their government,” said Project Director Toby Merrill. “When these fraudulent debts have been cancelled, the Biden-Harris administration can begin to restore the promise of higher education in our country and work to ensure that higher education is not a debt trap for the unwary.”

The Department of Education has extensive evidence of the wrongdoing of a great many for-profit colleges, including the notorious and shuttered Corinthian Colleges and ITT Tech. Yet students who are weighed down by debt from those schools have now been waiting across three presidential administrations for their fraudulent student loans to be cancelled.

The vast majority of for-profit college students are first-generation, low-income, veterans, single mothers, and students of color. In fact, Black and Latinx students make up less than one third of all college students, but represent nearly half of those attending for-profit institutions.

The Project has analyzed the law and determined that the Secretary of Education has clear authority to cancel the student debts of defrauded for-profit college students.

The letter discusses a number of the Project’s cases on behalf of students cheated by for-profit colleges. For more information on the cases discussed in the letter, please visit our website.

To read the letter sent to Secretary Cardona, click here.


About the Project on Predatory Student Lending

Established in 2012, the Project on Predatory Student Lending represents former students of predatory for-profit colleges. Its mission is to litigate to make it legally and financially impossible for federally-funded predatory schools to cheat students and taxpayers. The Project has brought a wide variety of cases on behalf of former students of for-profit colleges. It has sued the federal Department of Education for its failures to meet its legal obligation to police this industry and stop the perpetration and collection of fraudulent student loan debt.