Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C., on January 27. The department has agreed to a settlement wiping out nearly $6 billion in student loan debt for more than 200,000 borrowers who were defrauded by their schools. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
June 23 (UPI) -- The Department of Education has reached an agreement wiping away roughly $6 billion in federal student loan debt for 200,000 borrowers who had claimed in a class-action suit that they were defrauded.
The proposed settlement was filed in federal court Wednesday.
The Biden administration had previously approved $25 billion in loan forgiveness for 1.3 million student borrowers. In April, loans of at least 40,000 borrowers were canceled under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
The borrowers in Wednesday's settlement were represented by the Harvard Law School's Project on Predatory Lending in their lawsuit filed in 2019.
"This momentous proposed settlement will deliver answers and certainty to borrowers who have fought long and hard for a fair resolution of their borrower defense claims after being cheated by their schools and ignored or even rejected by their government," said project Director Eileen Connor.
Theresa Sweet, plaintiff in the case and a former Brooks Institute student, said in a statement: "More than a quarter million defrauded students have been waiting far too long for justice that should have come without delay, but for which we instead had to fight tooth and nail. But we didn't give up. Defrauded borrowers stepped up to the plate over and over to share their stories, speak to the court, and refuse to take any of this lying down. Now, when I look back at the day I graduated from college, I think of a lesson my school never taught me - know your rights, and never stop fighting for them."
"We are pleased to have worked with plaintiffs to reach an agreement that will deliver billions of dollars of automatic relief to approximately 200,000 borrowers and that we believe will resolve plaintiffs' claims in a manner that is fair and equitable for all parties," Education Sec. Miguel Cardona said in a Wednesday statement.