If you believe that you have been defrauded by your school or if your school violated certain state laws, you may be eligible for student loan borrowers defense. Here are the general steps to apply for student loan borrowers defense:
Gather evidence: You will need to provide evidence that your school misled or defrauded you in some way. This could include emails, advertisements, or other documentation.
Complete the application: You can apply for student loan borrowers defense online through the U.S. Department of Education's website. The application will ask for information about your school, the program you were enrolled in, and the specific allegations you are making.
Submit supporting documentation: You will need to provide any supporting documentation you have that demonstrates that you were misled or defrauded by your school. This could include emails, enrollment agreements, or any other documentation that supports your claim.
Wait for a decision: Once you have submitted your application and supporting documentation, you will need to wait for a decision from the U.S. Department of Education. The process can take several months.
If your application is approved, your federal student loans may be forgiven, and you may be eligible for a refund of any payments you have already made. If your application is denied, you may be able to appeal the decision.
It's important to note that applying for student loan borrowers defense can be a complex process, and it's a good idea to seek guidance from a qualified attorney or other expert if you're unsure about any aspect of the process.
Should I Apply for Borrower Defense?
To decide whether you should submit an application for loan forgiveness under borrower defense, first find out if your student loans are eligible.
Only federal direct loans are eligible for forgiveness under borrower defense, and those loans must have been taken out for payment to the school that is the source of your claim.
If your claim relates to federal loans Perking Loans taken out prior to 2011, they may not be eligible or the Federal Family Education Loan Program. However, if you consolidate FFEL or Perkins loans into a direct consolidation loan, you may be eligible for borrower defense loan forgiveness.
You may have a case for borrower defense if you were misled by a school about the education you received. Some examples are if your school made false promises about your employment prospects, the cost of the education or whether the school was accredited.
By contrast, claims that do not relate to your loan or educational services are not eligible for borrower defense. These include personal injury claims or allegations of harassment.
Your school does not need to have closed as a result of fraud. In fact, if your school closed and you are not able to transfer the credits, you should also apply for a closed school loan discharge. You can apply for both at the same time.
If you think you may have a claim for loan forgiveness under borrower defense, there are two key things to consider before you submit your claim.
First, for your claim to be successful, your school must have violated a state law or certain federal standards, depending on when you received your student loan. State laws vary, so check with your state attorney general's office to see whether you have a case based on the laws in your state.
Second, you should consider that if your application turns out to be unsuccessful and you did not continue making monthly payments while it was under review, your loan balance may have grown.
Because of all the recent changes to the review process, the Department of Education has a backlog of borrower defense applications, so it may take some time to get a determination about your application. The Biden administration has said it will begin to approve applications more quickly under its policy to provide full relief, but it's unclear how long it will take to get through the backlog..
While your application is evaluated, your student loans are placed into forbearance, which means that you will not need to make payments, but the loans will still accrue interest. That interest would be added to your loan balance if your application is not eligible for loan forgiveness, and you are responsible for paying the full amount.
If you are worried about your student loan balance growing, you can consider making payments even though they are not required, or at least paying the interest that accrues while you wait.
How Do I Submit an Application for Borrower Defense?
If you think you have a strong case and want to seek student debt relief under borrower defense, visit StudentAid.gov/borrower-defense to submit an application. Review the application ahead of time and prepare your documentation before beginning the process.