Attorney General Phil Weiser is asking the U.S. Department of Education to cancel federal student loan debt for thousands of students who attended the since shut-down, for-profit school, ITT Technical Institute.
A bipartisan coalition of 24 states and the District of Columbia – led by Weiser and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum – filed the borrower defense application Thursday.
The application states that ITT Tech defrauded students by encouraging them to enroll and take out loans based on false information about the value of an ITT Tech degree and high-paying jobs after graduation, in violation of state consumer protection laws.
“The experience and costs of college affects students’ careers and finances — for better or worse — for the rest of their lives,” Weiser said. “I urge the U.S. Department of Education to forgive these loans and rectify the injustices suffered by these students.”
Weeks prior to the closure, the U.S. Department of Education prohibited ITT Tech from enrolling new students who use federal financial aid and prohibited the school from awarding raises, bonuses or severance packages to the company's executives.
The application requests full debt relief and refunds of payments made for students who enrolled in ITT Tech between 2007 and 2010, approximately 282,000 students across the country.
Based on a 2012 congressional report, during this four-year period, ITT Tech showed a document titled “Value Proposition for Employed Graduates” to prospective students to convince them to enroll and, in most cases, borrow thousands of dollars in federal student aid.
“Misleading students during that planning process, as ITT did in this case, is illegal and wrong,” Weiser said.
Federal law allows the U.S. Department of Education to forgive federal student loans when borrowers were deceived in obtaining loans.
States that signed the application include Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.