U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr., seen here in October, said the department, working with more than 20 state attorneys, cleared the way for former Corinthian Colleges to have their student loan debt forgiven. Pool Photo by Olivier Douliery/UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, March 25 (UPI) -- Former Corinthian Colleges students left with education loans after the private college chain abruptly shut its doors last year can have their loans forgiven, the U.S. Department of Education said Friday.
Former students, from 2010 to 2014, at 91 Everest and Wyotech college campuses in 20 states "have a clear path to loan forgiveness under evidence uncovered by the Department while working with multiple state attorneys general." Former students must apply through the Department of Education.
An estimated 350,000 students took out student loans to finance Corinthian educations.
Joseph A. Smith, the department's special master for borrower's defense claims, said the department has already approved loan discharges for more than 8,800 former Corinthian students nationwide, totaling more than $130 million.
"Corinthian was more worried about profits than about students' lives," U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. said. "Through these important partnerships with states' attorneys general, we are pleased to offer relief to Corinthian students who were defrauded. And we will continue to take action to protect students and taxpayers from unscrupulous companies trying to profit off of students who simply want to better their lives."
The news from the department comes just days after a California state Superior Court judge issued a $1.1 billion judgement against the public college chain. It's unlikely, however, students will see any money from the school. The school shut its doors in April 2015 and filed bankruptcy a month later.
In addition to leaving students in the lurch, officials said the school misrepresented its job placement rates and its affiliation with the U.S. military.