Across the nation, an estimated 85,000 for-profit college students find themselves in the same bind-- they have student loans to repay but dozens of unanswered questions. Many of these students attended for-profit schools like Corinthian Colleges, which closed suddenly in 2015 leaving them with debt and no degree. To assist borrowers stuck in this disturbing and regrettable situation, NASFAA on April 4 resumed its partnership with Beyond 12 and the Center for Research on Educational Access and Leadership in a joint effort to connect these students with volunteers who are knowledgeable about financial aid, higher education, and academic planning.
The partnership, originally announced in June 2015 by U.S. Department of Education (ED) Under Secretary Ted Mitchell, was one more step in what ED says is a six-year history of cracking down on career colleges that use misleading claims to lure students to enroll. It comes at a time when 12 state attorneys general are urging ED to "deny federal recognition of one of the largest accreditors of for-profit colleges, including the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges,” in an effort to protect future students from falling victim to predatory practices employed by some for-profit institutions.
"While some for-profit career colleges play a critical role in helping students succeed in their educational and training pursuits, too often, bad actors in the sector have preyed on some of our nation's most vulnerable students and taken advantage of hard-working Americans who simply want a better future for themselves and their families," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in the June 2015 announcement.
While ED has provided some guidance for these students, many of whom may qualify for federal loan discharge based on borrower defense to repayment, there is a huge gap in financial aid knowledge for this population. Financial aid administrators from NASFAA member institutions will serve as volunteers April-June 2016, providing unbiased assistance, answering general financial aid program questions, and helping students to determine their eligibility for federal student loan discharge.
Affected students seeking counseling through the partnership must submit a request for assistance via NextStepsEdu.org. Once there, they may submit a “help ticket” and can expect a response from a financial aid administrator within 3-5 business days.
“Sudden campus closures can seriously disrupt the lives and educational pursuits of students,” said NASFAA President Justin Draeger. “NASFAA is pleased to be involved in an initiative to help displaced students understand their financial options and navigate their next steps to hopefully complete their educations elsewhere.”
NASFAA will continue to share updates on this effort as they become available. For more information, contact [email protected].
The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents more than 20,000 financial aid professionals at nearly 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. NASFAA member institutions serve nine out of every ten undergraduates in the United States. Based in Washington, D.C., NASFAA is the only national association with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators. For more information, visit www.nasfaa.org.
Publication Date: 4/20/2016