Although the fact that President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness programme was prohibited by the Supreme Court earlier this year, his government is pushing forward with more targeted student debt cancellations permitted under current programs.
The Department of Education announced Wednesday that it is cancelling $72 million in federal student loan debt for over 2,300 students who attended the for-profit Ashford University in California.
Overall, the Biden administration has approved the cancellation of over $116 billion in student loan debt for over 3.4 million people, approximately 1.1 million of them are borrowers who were misled by a for-profit college and were granted relief through a programme called as borrower defence to repayment.
For decades, this student debt forgiveness programmed has allowed people to seek for debt relief if they believe their college deceived or defrauded them.
“My administration will not tolerate colleges exploiting hardworking students and borrowers. As long as I am president, we will never stop fighting to help deserving borrowers like you. those at Ashford University,” Biden said in a statement.
Between March 1, 2009, and April 30, 2020, Ashford University made “numerous substantial misrepresentations” to borrowers, according to the Department of Education. The school has been renamed the University of Arizona Global Campus.
The California Department of Justice’s successful action against the school and its parent corporation at the time, Zovio, formed the basis for the Education Department’s assessment.
In March 2022, the court found in favour of the state, imposing a penalty of more than $22.37 million, which is currently being appealed.
“As the California Department of Justice demonstrated in court, Ashford relied heavily on high-pressure and deceptive recruiting tactics to lure students,” stated James Kvaal, the United States’ under secretary of education, in a press statement.
Borrowers whose debt relief applications were granted as a result of this action should get an email in September. They will not be required to make any payments on the dismissed loans when monthly installments begin in October following the end of the pandemic-related hiatus.
Biden unveiled last year a plan to forgive up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt for low- and middle-income borrowers.
Other efforts by the Biden administration to provide narrower student debt relief have proven successful. It has not only made it easier to apply for debt cancellation under the borrower defence programme, but it has also increased eligibility for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness programme, which forgives outstanding debt for public sector workers after 10 years of qualifying payments.
In August, the administration announced SAVE (Saving on a Valuable Education), a new income-driven repayment plan that will cut monthly payments and the amount owed over time for qualifying student loan borrowers.
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