AG Healey, U.S. Education Secretary King Announce Debt Relief for Corinthian Students
AG Calls on Department to Establish Process for All Students Preyed upon by Predatory For-Profit Schools to Receive Automatic Relief
BOSTON – More than 2,000 students who were victimized by Corinthian Colleges in Massachusetts are eligible to have their federal loans forgiven, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today at an event with U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, students who were defrauded at 91 former Corinthian campuses nationwide – including Corinthian’s two Everest Institute campuses in Chelsea and Brighton – are able to have their loans discharged under evidence uncovered while working with state attorneys general, including AG Healey. To date, this is the largest group of borrowers eligible for loan relief from the ongoing investigation into the now defunct for-profit school.
“For nearly five years, our office has been working to secure loan forgiveness for students preyed upon by Corinthian,” AG Healey said. “Today marks an important first step in providing the debt relief these students deserve. I thank the Department for its partnership and look forward to working together to help even more students in Massachusetts and hold other predatory schools accountable for their illegal and unfair practices.”
“When Americans invest their time, money and effort to gain new skills, they have a right to expect they'll get an education that leads to a better life for them and their families. Corinthian was more worried about profits than about students’ lives,” Secretary King said. “Through these important partnerships with states’ attorneys general, and particularly with Attorney General Healey, we are pleased to offer relief to Corinthian students who were defrauded. And we will continue to take action to protect students and taxpayers from unscrupulous companies trying to profit off of students who simply want to better their lives.”
U.S. Department of Education Special Master Joseph Smith – charged with reviewing the debts of students who attended Corinthian schools and establishing state law discharge procedures – also attended today’s event along with other Department officials and students who attended for-profit schools in Massachusetts.
Today’s announcement follows an event AG Healey held in September with Senator Elizabeth Warren, at which former Corinthian students worked with the Attorney General’s Office to apply to the Department for a group discharge of their federal loans after the school misrepresented its medical programs and job placement rates and falsely promised high-paying jobs that resulted in substantial debt, and at times, loan defaults. In November, AG Healey submitted a 2,700-page application to the Department requesting the immediate cancellation of their loans, complete with investigatory findings, supporting evidence, and compiled attestations.
“Today’s announcement from the Education Department is good news for many former Corinthian Colleges students who were cheated, including at campuses in Massachusetts,” Senator Warren said. “Corinthian sucked down billions in federal student loan dollars by roping in students with lies and then saddling them with mountains of debt. I’m going to keep fighting alongside Attorney General Maura Healey to secure discharges for the hundreds of thousands of Corinthian victims who are still waiting for relief.”
AG Healey continues to lead efforts to help students who were deceived by Corinthian Colleges and other predatory for-profit schools. According to her lawsuit against the Everest Institute in April 2014, the school engaged in deceptive marketing and egregious high pressure sales tactics that left students with exorbitant and unaffordable student loan debt and without proper training or a well-paying career.
AG Healey has rallied state attorneys general and members of Congress to speak out on the importance of loan discharge, authored letters, and organized calls and meetings with the Department of Education to help students struggling with their federal loan debt. The AG’s Office also has an active role on the U. S. Department of Education’s negotiated rulemaking committee, created to establish state law discharge procedures and group relief for students.
As part of today’s announcement, eligible Corinthian students can apply for debt relief through a form posted here. The Department of Education will also be reaching out to students through postal mail, email, partner organizations and other means.
Attorney General Healey has taken a series of actions against predatory for-profit schools. Along with Corinthian, the AG’s Office is currently in litigation with for-profit school American Career Institute for alleged unfair and deceptive practices and has reached settlements worth more than $6 million with four additional for-profit schools in Massachusetts – Kaplan Career Institute, Lincoln Tech, Sullivan & Cogliano and Salter College. In February, AG Healey sued a for-profit school over allegations that it operated without a license and misrepresented its training programs, leaving dozens of students without promised careers in nursing. In November, AG Healey took action against student debt relief companies and launched a Student Loan Assistance Unit to assist borrowers who are having trouble paying their student loans.
Students looking for more information or assistance should visit the AG’s Student Lending Assistance page or call the Student Loan Assistance Unit Hotline at 1-888-830-6277.