The Department of Education (ED) on Friday announced that it will expand the window of time for which former Charlotte School of Law students can apply to have their federal student loans discharged, in the wake of the school's abrupt August 2017 closure.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that "given the atypical circumstances of this closure," the timeframe to qualify for a closed school loan discharge would be extended from 120 days to 224 days prior to the school's closure. Students who withdrew on or after Dec. 31, 2016 would be eligible for a closed school loan discharge. ED noted in the announcement that this would affect "nearly a dozen" additional students, and nearly 300 total.
Currently, in order to qualify for a closed school discharge, borrowers must have been currently enrolled at the time of the school closure or have withdrawn not more than 120 days before the closure.
"My focus is and will continue to be on doing what's right for individual students," DeVos said in a statement. "Several students, through no fault of their own, fell through the cracks as Charlotte School of Law closed. It's important that they, too, are made whole."
ED made the Dec. 20, 2016 announcement after determining that the school's noncompliance with its accreditor violated the Higher Education Act (HEA) and that it made "substantial misrepresentations" about its accreditation and whether graduates would pass the bar exam. The school was on Dec. 31, 2016 barred from participating in Title IV programs.
"The [American Bar Association] repeatedly found that the Charlotte School of Law does not prepare students for participation in the legal profession," said then Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell, in a statement. "Yet CSL continuously misrepresented itself to current and prospective students as hitting the mark. We can no longer allow them continued access to federal student aid."
Publication Date: 3/12/2018