ED Approves Additional Borrower Defense Claims, Bringing Total Debt Relief to Over $1.5 Billion Under Biden

By Owen Daugherty, NASFAA Staff Reporter

The Department of Education (ED) on Friday announced it was approving the borrower defense to repayment claims of more than 1,800 students who were enrolled at three different institutions.

The borrowers will have 100% of their loans discharged, receiving about $55.6 million in total student debt relief, ED stated in a release announcing the move.

“Today’s announcement continues the U.S. Department of Education’s commitment to standing up for students whose colleges took advantage of them,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement. “The Department will continue doing its part to review and approve borrower defense claims quickly and fairly so that borrowers receive the relief that they need and deserve. We also hope these approvals serve as a warning to any institution engaging in similar conduct that this type of misrepresentation is unacceptable.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a vocal advocate for widespread debt forgiveness, applauded the move in a post on Twitter.

“This is a great step. And now it’s time for more,” he wrote. “President Biden has the power to #CancelStudentDebt!”

This is the latest in a series of announcements from the department as it attempts to sift through the backlog of borrower defense applications made under the previous administration.

Borrowers who are set to receive relief from today’s announcement were previously enrolled at Westwood College, Marinello Schools of Beauty, and the Court Reporting Institute. ED in its announcement detailed substantiated allegations against each of the schools. 

ED, under the Biden administration, has cancelled more than $1.5 billion in outstanding student loan debt for nearly 92,000 borrowers, according to the release. In March, ED streamlined the borrower defense process, which it estimated would help 72,000 borrowers receive $1 billion in debt cancellation. Cardona approved $500 million in debt cancellation for 18,000 borrowers who attended the now-defunct ITT Technical Institute.

ED is also pursuing a “re-regulation” of borrower defense and held public hearings to receive stakeholder feedback on a wide range of policies last month.


Publication Date: 7/12/2021

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