Durbin, Illinois AG seek debt relief for students defrauded by Corinthian College
Joseph Smith, a special master appointed by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to oversee the federal student debt-relief process for former Corinthian College students, met on Friday in Chicago with several of these students, who are now overwhelmed by student-loan debt.
Smith, who accepted an invitation to meet the students by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Illinois State Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
Smith is responsible for advising ED on issues related to Corinthian and is helping to develop a broader system to assist students at other institutions who are seeking debt relief on their federal student loans because they feel they were defrauded.
“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.”
Durbin has urged the department to develop a simple user-friendly process through which students financially hurt by Corinthian and other schools can easily navigate the process without the help of an attorney, while acknowledging the findings and evidence of state attorneys general and other federal agencies when considering possible relief for students.
While most former Corinthian students across the nation are eligible to discharge their federal student loans, students who attended the Illinois campuses (which were branded as Everest College), are not currently eligible for immediate relief because those campuses were sold to student-loan guarantor ECMC instead of being closed outright.
Madigan and Durbin are urging the Department of Education to take further action to assist the Illinois students wronged by Corinthian, possibly awarding them some type of loan forgiveness, as well develop a simple, borrower-friendly process for these students.
“Corinthian relentlessly pursued prospective students, pressured them to enroll, used false job-placement rates and misrepresented job prospects. As a result, students were left unprepared or ineligible for work in their fields,” Madigan said. “We must ensure these students obtain student loan relief so they can build a future they envisioned when they enrolled in college.”