Students who have obtained partial loan relief for full release

The ruling applies to students who have already had their application approved and only received a partial adjustment, the ministry said.

A senior ministry official briefing reporters said the agency continued to review both the backlog of claims that had not yet been resolved and those that had been denied.

The ministry described Thursday’s action as “a first step” and said it would consider rewriting the regulations later.

The loan repayment defense program allows students to have their federal loans canceled if they have been defrauded by their schools. The Obama administration had expanded the program to help students attending for-profit colleges like Corinthian and ITT Technical Institute, which have closed. But President Donald Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos withdrew it, saying it had become too easy for students to have their loans written off, and revised the curriculum to make it harder for them. to obtain relief, in particular by providing for only partial cancellation of loans. .

Congress voted to reverse DeVos’ changes last March, but Trump vetoed it.

The Education Department said a total of 343,331 requests for borrower’s defense relief had been received as of February 28. Of these, 61,511 had been approved and borrowers notified. Most of the rest had been declared ineligible or were still pending.

In addition to the complete cancellation of their loans, the Biden administration said that students who received only partial scholarships will be reimbursed for any payments made on the loans and that their eligibility for federal student aid will be restored. The ministry said it will also ask the credit bureaus to remove any negative ratings related to the loans.

“The move away from partial relief is a good start for a small subset of borrowers, but what we need from the Department of Education is an overhaul of the current borrower advocacy process,” said Toby Merrill, director of the Predatory Student Loans Project, which represents former for-profit college students.

“The previous administration turned the borrower’s defense into a total sham that was rigged to deny the claims without any real consideration,” Merrill said. “The Biden-Harris administration must now remedy these failings or else perpetuate a system that opposes the very students it is meant to protect.”

Career Education Colleges and Universities, an industry lobby group, said it had no comment on the actions of the Biden administration.

Congress voted to reverse DeVos’ changes last March, but Trump vetoed it.

Nearly two dozen state attorneys general had sued the Trump administration for its implementation of the borrower’s defense against repayment program, which allows borrowers to cancel their loans if their colleges have made false statements for get them to join. One of the plaintiffs in that lawsuit was California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who was confirmed Thursday as President Joe Biden’s health secretary.

The lawsuit, which was filed last July, argued that DeVos had changed the policy without justification, failed to provide a meaningful process for students to get their loans canceled, and created “arbitrary hurdles” for them, including forcing them to prove that their schools knowingly misled them.

Senator Patty Murray, who heads the Senate Education Committee, said DeVos used “flawed math” to deny students complete relief. Rep. Bobby Scott, chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, called it an “absurd formula.”

“This announcement is changing the lives of tens of thousands of people across the country,” Scott said.

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