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- Borrowers who attended one of the schools listed in the Sweet v. Cardona have until November 3, 2022 to request forgiveness of the student loan.
- A student loan expert says the key to getting your application approved is using the exact language of your school’s specific cause.
- Your student loans will be granted during the processing of your application.
In August, a federal judge granted preliminary approval to the class action lawsuit Sweet v. Cardona, setting the stage to clear about $ 6 billion in student loan debt for more than 200,000 borrowers. If you went to one of the 150 schools listed in the class action, you may be eligible for full or partial student loan forgiveness under a program called “Borrower Advocacy for Loan Repayment”.
To obtain the loan amnesty, a borrower defense application must be completed by November 3, 2022.
“It’s a daunting process,” says Sonia Lewis, AKA The Student Loan Doctor, who has helped over 20,000 people manage their federal student loans. “We have an on-demand class to help people with this process, but anyone can do it for themselves,” she adds.
If you filed a borrower defense application before June 22, 2022, you are already in the class. But if you have attended one of the nominated schools and have not yet sought the advocacy of the borrower, there is still time.
Your loans will be put on tolerance while you wait for a decision
Those who file borrower defense applications between now and November 3 will receive a decision from the Department of Education in three years. “Once the application has been received and processed,” Lewis says, “borrowers will be placed under an administrative tolerance while the government reviews the application.”
While your loans are being granted, interest will accumulate and may compound at the end of the grant period (meaning your interest will be added to your main balance and any new interest will increase on that larger balance). Making interest-only payments during the grace period will help you avoid this.
Lewis encourages people to apply for other forgiveness programs and “prepare for repayment starting January 2023”. He says that borrowers typically receive correspondence stating that their borrower’s defense application has been received. After that, administrative tolerance comes into play and you don’t need to make any payments until they make a decision. “Borrowers should continue to pay their loans pending an answer that their application has been received.”
Here is a simple three-step process Lewis recommends to help you get your borrower defense application approved more quickly.
1. Start filling out the Borrower’s Defense Application at studentaid.gov
First, you need to start filling out the Borrower’s Defense Application, which can be found at studentaid.gov. You will need the following information:
- Your name, address, date of birth, social security number and other contact information
- The name and address of the school you attended
- All relevant documents, such as:
- Membership Agreements
- Promotional material from your school
- Communications with school officials or employees
- student manual
- Course catalog
- Legal documents and more
Lewis says the point where most people get lost is when the form asks why you deserve a refund in the first place.
2. Google ‘[your school name] against Department of Education ‘
“This part is like passing a test,” says Lewis. “Type a Google search for ‘[your school name] against the Department of Education. ‘”From there, the Department of Education’s official announcement will list all the reasons why the school was sued in the first place.
For example, for ITT Tech, the Department of Education website states, “ITT has engaged in widespread and pervasive misrepresentation regarding students’ ability to get a job or transfer credits and lied about programmatic accreditation of the associate degree. of ITT in Nursing “.
3. Copy the exact language listed in the case in your application, if applicable
Once you google the details of the lawsuit, Lewis says you need to copy and paste that exact wording into the application. “Nine times out of 10, this is true for most of the students who graduated from those schools because it was universal.”
Section 4 of the Borrower Defense Application has some places where you can paste this information. There are 10 parts in Section 4:
- Admission selectivity: Relevant if the school you went to made false claims about the number of people they were admitting, or how difficult it was to get into the school, just to name a few examples
- Third party declarations: Relevant if the school you went to misrepresented or falsely stated its ranking on any list of “best schools”.
- Urgency to register: If your school told you that you had limited time to enroll in your program
- Educational services: If your school has misrepresented or lied about your teachers’ qualifications or the accreditation status of the institution
- Employment prospects: If your school has misrepresented or made false claims about job placement rates
- Cost of the program and nature of the loan: If your school did not explain the total cost of the program and what kind of loans you were taking to pay for your tuition
- Credit transfer: If your school has provided false information about your ability to transfer credits to and from another school
- Career Services: If your school did not provide the career services that were promised to you
- Judgement (these last two sections only apply to borrowers who received a Direct Loan between 1 July 2017 and 1 July 2020)
- Breach of contract
Within each section, there are also text boxes where you can explain your situation. For the ITT Tech example, you should write “ITT lied about the programmatic accreditation of ITT’s Associate Diploma in Nursing” in the text box under the educational services and “ITT has engaged in widespread and pervasive misrepresentation regarding the ability of the students to obtain a job or credit transfer “in the boxes of the sections Employment services and credit transfer.
Lewis says, “You’re going to take that information and retype it because that’s probably exactly what happened to you,” adding that the exact language might make it easier for people processing questions to process your answers.
If you are skeptical of starting the application, Lewis says, “These schools despised illegal practices. They are returning money to many of these schools, like a check in the mail if you attended.”