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Consumer groups are trying to get Ed’s department to forgive loans to Westwood College students

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Short dive:

  • Last week, a group of higher education institutions and consumer advocacy groups filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education to forgive debts for students who took federal loans to visit the now-closed Westwood College, a commercial network.
  • In late 2016, the Illinois Attorney General filed an application with the Ed Department to repay the borrower’s group defense on behalf of state students enrolled in Westwood’s criminal justice program. But the Ed Department has not yet made a decision on the application, which would forgive the debts of the deceived students in case of approval.
  • The lawsuit worth the letter earlier this month Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raul sent to the Department of Rare Sciences. “No more analysis or evidence is needed: Westwood has deceived all students attending the Illinois Criminal Justice Program,” he wrote. “The Department – and only the Department – knows which fraudulent borrowers continue to owe federal debt while working at Westwood.”

Diving Insight:

The lawsuit this is at least the second complaint filed against the Ed Department in recent months that seeks to resolve the group’s outstanding claims against borrowers. The Borrower Protection Rule allows students whose institutions have deceived them to forgive federal student loans.

The complaint comes at a time when the Biden administration is under increasing pressure to implement a broad student loan forgiveness. Advisors to President Joe Biden have been working on income-based forgiveness proposals. This was reported by Politico earlier this month. Meanwhile, the administration has repaid the debt of college-deceived students by canceling about $ 17 billion in student loans by early April.

But the Illinois lawsuit alleges that some students waited too long for help.

In 2015, the state reached an agreement with Westwood on allegations that the college misled criminal law students about their employment prospects after graduation. Nonprofit College agreed to put $ 15 million towards forgiving loans obtained by students through the institution. However, these actions did not affect their federal debt.

The lack of movement by the Ed Department on the state group’s borrowers protection application has left students in suspension, the lawsuit alleges. The National Student Legal Protection Network, known as Student Defense, along with the National Center for Consumer Law and the Committee of Lawyers for Civil Rights under the law filed a lawsuit on behalf of the affected students.

“For nearly six years in various administrations, the Department has evaded its obligations, leaving countless borrowers in the dark about whether or not they will receive the relief they need under federal law,” said Eric Rothschild, director of litigation. student defense. the statement said.

Meanwhile, the Ed Department relied on the facts and evidence included in the class application to approve applications for protection of borrowers filed by individuals, the lawsuit alleges.

In February, the department repaid $ 53.1 million in federal debt hold 1,600 borrowers who studied at Westwood College from 2002 to 2015 and filed individual applications to protect borrowers. The announcement followed a similar action by the Ed department adopted in July 2021when he stated that he had approved the party’s lawsuit to protect the borrower against the institution.

But those actions did not repay federal student loans to students who did not file individual applications to protect borrowers, the lawsuit said. It argues that the lack of a decision by the Editing Department is a constructive rejection of a group application that causes financial damage and emotional suffering to the affected students.

Three top rare and consumer groups – Student Defense, the National Center for Consumer Law and the Predatory Student Lending Project – filed a similar lawsuit against the Ed Department last month for students attending the Kaplan Career Institute, another commercial network. It is claimed that the department has evaded responsibility decide on a group application to protect the borrower filed by the Massachusetts Attorney General in 2016 on behalf of students who have attended Kaplan’s Career.

A spokesman for the Ed Department declined to comment, citing an unfinished lawsuit.

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