About 5,700 Washingtonians can get loans canceled
OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson is reaching out to notify thousands of Washingtonians who attended schools operated by Corinthian Colleges Inc. that they are eligible for cancelation of their federal student loans.
Ferguson and the Attorneys General of 45 other states and the District of Columbia are reaching out to certain students who attended Corinthian schools — including Everest Institute, Everest College, Everest University, Heald College, and Wyotech — to let them know that student loans used to attend those schools are eligible to be canceled.
Approximately 5,700 Washington residents who attended programs at Corinthian schools are eligible for streamlined federal student loan cancelation. Those students will receive a letter explaining the relief available, with a short application that must be filed with the U.S. Department of Education.
If a student’s federal loan is canceled, the student will make no more payments on the loan. Any payments already made may be refunded.
“Student borrowers victimized by Corinthian’s deceptive and illegal practices deserve this important loan relief,” Ferguson said.
After intense scrutiny by various government entities, for-profit Corinthian Colleges abruptly ceased operations in 2015, transferring some of its campuses to a non-profit called Zenith Education Group.
Corinthian owned and operated Everest College campuses in Everett, Fife, Tacoma, Bremerton, Renton, Seattle and Vancouver until February of 2015, when they were sold to Zenith. The Fife location is no longer open.
The Department of Education found that while it was operating, Corinthian made widespread misrepresentations between 2010 and 2014 about post-graduation employment rates for certain programs at its Bremerton, Everett, Renton, Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver campuses, and elsewhere across the nation.
Lists of the affected campuses, programs and dates of enrollment are available here and here. Students who first enrolled in the listed campuses and programs during the dates identified by the Department of Education are eligible for streamlined discharge of their federal student loans. More information is available here.
Corinthian students who do not fall within the affected campuses, programs and dates of enrollment do not qualify for the “streamlined” discharge. However, if they believe that the school lied about job prospects, transferability of credits, or other issues, they can still apply to have their federal student loans canceled using the Department of Education’s universal discharge application here.
It may take time for the U.S. Department of Education to process applications, so anyone who applies for loan discharge should continue making payments on the affected loans until informed by the Department or their loan servicer that their federal loans are in forbearance while their application is pending or loans have been canceled.
More about this outreach to former Corinthian students can be found at http://www.corinthianoutreach.com/. Students can also call the U.S. Department of Education hotline at 1-855-279-6207 or e-mail questions about discharge of their federal student loans to FSAOperations@ed.gov.
Attorney General Ferguson is committed to standing up for students by going after predatory for-profit colleges and making sure loan servicing companies play by the rules. He has also cracked down on debt adjustment companies that charge fees to help borrowers consolidate their federal student loans and enroll in income-driven repayment plans — tasks that borrowers’ loan servicers can and should help them with for free. More information on the office’s student loan work, including its Student Loan Survival Guide, is available here.
Free student loan debt assistance
Ferguson urges current and former students never to pay up front for help with student loan debt relief. The U.S. Department of Education never charges application or maintenance fees. For information on legitimate sources of free assistance, contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or the National Consumer Law Center.
For problems with your student loan servicer or a debt collector contact the U.S. Department of Education’s Student Loan Ombudsman at 1-877-557-2575 or http://www.ombudsman.ed.gov, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office.
The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.
Peter Lavallee, Communications Director, (360) 586-0725; PeterL@atg.wa.gov