Biden to forgive another $415M in student loan debt—here’s who gets it

BY Sydney LakeFebruary 23, 2022, 2:12 PM
Demonstrators demand President Biden cancel student loan debt outside the White House in February 2022 in Washington, D.C.
Demonstrators demand President Biden cancel student loan debt outside the White House in February 2022 in Washington, D.C.
Paul Morigi—Getty Images for We the 45 Million

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education announced that about 16,000 defrauded student loan borrowers will receive a collective $415 million in debt forgiveness.That’s on top of the approximately $15 billion in federal student loans that have been forgiven during President Joe Biden’s tenure thus far. 

Biden had previously forgiven student loans for defrauded borrowers and those borrowers who had attended now-defunct schools in previous rounds of debt cancellations. Those rounds of cancellations helped borrowers who had been “taken advantage of by their institutions,” according to the Education Department, and students who had attended schools including Westwood College, ITT Technical Institute, Minnesota School of Business/Globe University, Corinthian Colleges, and Marinello Schools of Beauty. 

With the latest debt forgiveness, about 20% of the $415 million will go to borrowers who attended DeVry University. That’s because the Education Department found the university “repeatedly misled prospective students across the country,” from 2008 to 2015, by advertising a much higher job placement rate than was delivered.

According to the Education Department, DeVry had advertised itself as “Career Placement University” with a 90% job placement rate. It only had a job placement rate of 58%, though. 

About 1,800 former DeVry students will receive a collective $71.7 million. 

Who else gets forgiveness in this round?

The remaining $343 million from this round of forgiveness will be split among nearly 14,000 borrowers who attended Westwood College, Corinthian Colleges, Marinello Schools of Beauty, the nursing program at ITT Technical Institute, and the criminal justice programs at Minnesota School of Business/Globe University.

The Education Department found that between 2002 and 2015, Westwood College made “widespread and substantial misrepresentations” about career and salary prospects for its students. About 1,600 borrowers who submitted claims about Westwood will receive forgiveness.

Former ITT nursing students will also receive forgiveness since the Education Department found that the school had “repeatedly failed to obtain programmatic accreditation.” About $3.1 million in debt forgiveness will be split among 130 students. 

The Minnesota School of Business/Globe University also lacked the necessary accreditation and certifications in order for its graduates to become a Minnesota police officer or parole/probation officer, although that’s what the school advertised. About 270 former students will receive a collective $3 million in loan discharges. 

“The Department remains committed to giving borrowers discharges when the evidence shows their college violated the law and standards,” Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement announcing the forgiveness round. “Students count on their colleges to be truthful. Unfortunately, today’s findings show too many instances in which students were misled into loans at institutions or programs that could not deliver what they’d promised.”