Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Education announced a new debt relief process for Corinthian Colleges’ students, and new steps to protect students and taxpayers from abusive career colleges.
Corinthian Colleges, Inc.—which operated schools under the names Everest, Heald, and Wyotech—has been the target of consumer and taxpayer protection enforcement efforts by the federal government and other authorities. The Department of Education investigated and found that between 2010 and 2014, Heald College misrepresented the job placement rates of many of its programs. Investigations by other entities are ongoing. Over the past year, Corinthian sold off many of its schools, and the remaining campuses closed shortly before Corinthian went bankrupt.
Here are a few resources from the announcement:
- Fact Sheet: Protecting Students from Abusive Career Colleges
- Blog Post: For Corinthian Colleges Students: What You Need to Know about Debt Relief
- Blog Post: Debt Relief for Corinthian Colleges Students
- Studentaid.gov Information for Corinthian Colleges Students
There is a lot of information in the links above, and we’re working to address additional questions through student outreach, social media and our website.
One question that we continue to see on social media and through comments on our blog is how can we prevent taxpayers from footing the bill, and ensure that colleges that are bad actors have some “skin in the game.”
The law makes clear that students who have been hurt by illegal acts by schools are entitled to debt relief, and we’re working to make sure that students who were defrauded do not suffer more than they already have. The Obama Administration is committed to making schools accountable through aggressive enforcement of the laws and regulations.
We've led the charge on low-performing for-profits & will cont to crack down on colleges that leave students w/huge debt & worthless degrees
— John King (@JohnKingatED) June 10, 2015
Over the last six years, the Obama Administration has taken unprecedented steps to hold career colleges accountable. We’ve cracked down on bad actors with enforcement and through investigations. We issued “gainful employment” regulations to help ensure that students at career colleges don’t end up with debt they can’t repay with a degree they can’t use. And we’ll continue to hold institutions accountable in order to protect students and taxpayers.
Earlier this week during a call to reporters, Secretary Arne Duncan said that “we are determined to protect students who have been victims of these unethical companies, by ensuring they get every penny of the debt relief they are entitled to, through a streamlined and straightforward process. We’re going to make that as simple as we legally can, while also safeguarding the interests of taxpayers.”
But the Department of Education can’t fully address this issue on its own. As part of this week’s announcement, Secretary Duncan called on Congress to do its part by strengthening consumer protections for students and accountability for colleges. During his press call, Duncan explained that we all have a role to play:
“We can no longer tolerate a situation where all the risk in higher education is borne by students and taxpayers, while members of Congress accept money from the industry and block change. We need Congress to stand with us on accountability, and we have to find ways so that states, colleges, investors and the federal government all have incentives to ensure student success. It’s going to take all of us.”
This week’s announcement for Corinthian students isn’t the beginning, or the end. It’s one more action by the Obama Administration to ensure higher education is affordable and that students are prepared for a career and life. Secretary Duncan looks forward to working with Congress to make this happen.