Corinthian College’s Misleading Job-Placement Info Could Result In Faster Debt Relief For Students

Thousands of students affected by the abrupt closure of for-profit college educator Corinthian Colleges’ Wyotech, Heald College and Everest University campuses could soon have more options when it comes to receiving debt relief after a joint investigation by the California Attorney General’s office and the Department of Education found additional evidence that the schools misrepresented job placement rates for several programs in order to enroll students. 

California Attorney General Kamala Harris, along with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell announced Tuesday that a new analysis found that CCI widely misrepresented job placement rates to both enrolled and prospective students at Everest University and Wyotech.

The new findings, which apply to 85,000 former students at Everest and Wyotech campuses in California, as well as students nationwide who attended Everest online, will lead to enhanced and streamlined debt relief opportunities, according to the California AG’s office.

Among the findings, the agencies determined an accounting program in Florida published a placement rate of 92% in 2010, while the actual placement was 12%. Likewise, a medical assistant diploma program in Los Angeles advertised a placement rate of 85% in 2012, when the true rate was zero, NPR reports.  

“Corinthian preyed on vulnerable students who are now buried under mountains of student debt,” Harris said in a news release. “Today’s joint investigation findings will expand the pool of Corinthian students eligible for streamlined student loan relief options, helping them rebuild their lives and pursue a brighter future.”

Harris says the findings will help students establish a case for “defense to repayment” loan relief on a program-wide basis.

Under the law, a borrower defense to repayment provides loan forgiveness to students if their school committed fraud or broke laws. The Dept. of Education previously said it would consider defense of repayment filings on an individual, case-by-case basis.

“The results of our joint investigation will allow us to get relief to more students more efficiently,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement. “Helping wronged students is much easier when everyone—Congress, State Attorneys General, accreditors, authorizers and the Department—does their part to protect students and works together.”

Former students looking for relief from their debts related to CCI schools can research their options through a tool provided by the California AG’s office.

The recently updated tool prompts students to answer a short series of questions, which will result in a personalized resource sheet with information about types of relief they may be eligible for, information on free local legal aid organizations that may provide advice and assistance in applying for relief, and information on cost-effective educational opportunities in their geographic area.

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