Durbin seeks debt forgiveness for former Everest students
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) hosted a gathering of federal officials and former Everest College students in Chicago Friday to advocate for including the students in the Department of Education's student debt relief program.
Also attending were lllinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Department of Education Special Master Joseph Smith, who's in charge of debt relief for former Corinthian College students.
Everest College was a brand of schools owned and operated by Corinthian in Illinois until the company sold its campuses to the debt collection agency ECMC in February before declaring bankruptcy in May.
Because Corinthian's recruiting and management practices were broadly considered predatory and misleading, students who accrued federal debt attending Corinthian schools have been allowed to apply for debt relief for those loans. Under current guidelines, Everest College students have been ineligible for the same program because their Corinthian school was sold to a collection agency instead of just being closed.
Durbin called Friday's meeting to work on a remedy.
“For years Corinthian lured students with flashy ads and misleading promises, leaving them with mountains of debt and little to show for it in the way of a meaningful education," Durbin said. "Corinthian’s fraudulent behavior has left thousands of students in financial desperation. We can’t simply write these students off as collateral damage and move on. I’m pleased that the Department of Education and Special Master Smith are working to provide federal student debt relief to those students and I have encouraged the department and Mr. Smith to develop a simple process for victimized students to receive this relief.”
Madigan was responsible for three lawsuits against Corinthian, which was targeted by approximately 25 state and federal investigations. Last week, a federal court ordered Corinthian to pay $531 million in restitution for defrauding former students.
Reforming the for-profit college industry continues to be a regulatory priority for Durbin, who has also called for increased federal oversight and funding cuts for the for-profit giant University of Phoenix, which has also been accused of predatory marketing practices.
The for-profit college industry currently receives over $25 billion in federal funding each year.