Statement on the Economic Stimulus Package and the Imperative to Cancel For-Profit College Student Debt | Press Release

March 18, 2020

As the government considers measures to mitigate the extreme financial burden COVID-19 has placed on citizens across the country, the Project on Predatory Student Lending urges Congress and the Department of Education to activate their authority and cancel all for-profit college debt immediately. As a first step, the Department of Education should cancel student loan debts for all Corinthian College borrowers. The Department of Education has its own evidence and findings to support this measure, in addition to evidence from additional government agencies including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, and multiple state Attorneys General.

 

Statement from Toby Merrill, Director of the Project on Predatory Student Lending

 

“We are calling on the Department of Education to take immediate action and grant all borrower defense claims in full, cancelling loans of borrowers cheated by predatory for-profit schools. In particular, we are urging immediate and automatic cancellation for Corinthian students. The government has already determined in its own findings that Corinthian students were ripped off and are entitled to relief. The government should do right by Corinthian borrowers and all students who were cheated and are legally entitled to relief by ensuring that all for-profit college debt is cancelled.

 

At a time when government is considering who needs help, we urge government leaders to remember that students targeted by for-profit schools are the same people who will suffer the most during and after this economic crisis. Many are hourly workers, without paid sick time, or are already living paycheck to paycheck trying to make ends meet. They were drowning in bogus debt before this pandemic and economic freefall. In this moment of heightened economic uncertainty, it is the Department’s obligation to alleviate the burden of fraudulent student loan debt. It is within the Department’s power to act immediately.”

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Established in 2012, the Project on Predatory Student Lending is the first legal services practice in the country focused solely on representing former students of for-profit colleges. Its mission is to litigate to make it legally and financially impossible for the predatory for-profit college industry to cheat students, and to relieve borrowers from fraudulent student loan debt.

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. It has also brought its clients’ experiences to bear on federal and state policymaking.

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