The Judge in Sweet v. DeVos just ruled that Secretary DeVos must give prior notice to the Court before denying any more borrower defense claims from student loan borrowers cheated by their school. The court had threatened to enjoin the agency from issuing borrower defense denials, which prompted the Department of Education to stop voluntarily.
Now that the the tide of denials has stopped, the key is whether the Judge will vacate the tens of thousands of denials that were sent to 94% of borrower defense applicants since June 2019. The class members have asked the Judge for an injunction and to vacate the prior denials – and is taking depositions now of officials with the Department of Education.
While I understand that memories of what was said by whom may be difficult in a BDTR application, I agree with others who have noted that “the fact that so many of us had the exact same form denial shows that they didn’t even look at our applications and the evidence of corruption at these schools.”
More than 500 borrowers appeared at an October 1 fairness hearing (required for court approval of any settlement), to argue that the Department of Education acted in bad faith by its blanket denials without any consideration of their claims.
There does appear to be a mountain of evidence against these schools — tens of thousands of students are reporting the same fraud over and over again.
For those who believe that the borrowers knew what they signed up for, and should suffer the consequences, think of this: say you save up your money, or take out a loan to buy the car of your dreams. Then you learn the car won’t start, in fact, it’s up on blocks in the car lot, it can’t even be driven off the lot. The car dealership has closed, the lender is still owed their money. Interest keeps accruing. You have no car, yet can’t get to work, you have no recourse. You can’t go buy another car b/c you’ve used up your resources to buy this car (federal loans are limited, once used, you aren’t eligible for more).
Now take that times 100, a good education is worth 100 cars. A wasted four years of someone’s life. Another few years as he or she realizes that employers laugh at a degree from ITT, IADT, Corinthian, Everest and all the rest of the closed for-profit schools.
The final kicker: you can’t even file bankruptcy as these are non-dischargeable federal loans. Still feel the buyer deserves this? Many of these former students basically threw their lives away before they ever began as the decision to attend these fraudulent schools often occurred when they were 18-20 years old. Keep in mind these schools spent a ton of marketing dollars, used shiny highly polished brochures, posters with amazing results that were pretty much pulled from thin air, proclaimed “relationships” with industry leaders and had an army of forceful well trained sales people as recruiters. An 18 year old didn’t have a chance.