How to Cancel Your Student Loans if You Attended a Corinthian College

Learn about loan forgiveness for students who attended a Corinthian College.

By , Attorney · University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Update: On June 1, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education announced it will automatically discharge all remaining federal student loans borrowed to attend any campus that Corinthian Colleges owned or operated, resulting in 560,000 borrowers getting $5.8 billion in full loan discharges. This discharge includes borrowers who haven't yet applied for a borrower defense discharge (see below). The Department will notify students who attended Corinthian schools of this decision, and discharges will happen in a few months.

Corinthian Colleges, Inc. was a company that ran for-profit schools (Everest, Heald, and Wyotech), which became well-known for using deceptive advertisements and aggressive marketing techniques that misrepresented job placement rates. Corinthian typically targeted low-income, vulnerable people who had to take out large student loans to attend school.

After graduation, though, many students found that they were unable to repay their federal student loans and private loans when their Corinthian education failed to lead to good-paying jobs. As a result, former Corinthian students often ended up defaulting on their loans. After the federal government and other authorities investigated Corinthian's shady practices, the company initially sold most of its schools, and then, on April 27, 2015, Corinthian shuttered its remaining locations.

If you attended a Corinthian College—Everest Institute, Everest College, Everest University, Heald College, or Wyotech—you might qualify for a discharge of your federal student loans. In addition, California residents might qualify for a state program that reimburses students for amounts spent on tuition to attend a Corinthian College.

Relief for Corinthian Students Announced in December 2018

On December 13, 2018, the U.S. Department of Education announced it would forgive $150 million in federal student loans for students who attended a closed school. Under amended federal regulations (81 FR 75926), the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan Program), Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL Program), and Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan Program) programs now provide for the automatic discharge of loans if, among other things, borrowers could not complete their program of study because the school closed.

Closed School Discharges

Federal law, 34 C.F.R. § 685.214(c) (Direct Loan Program), 34 C.F.R. § 682.402(d)(8)(ii) (FFEL Program), and 34 C.F.R. § 674.33(g)(ii) (Perkins Loan Program), provide for an automatic discharge of some or all of the Direct Loan, FFEL, or Perkins Loan program loans an eligible borrower—or, if applicable, the dependent child on whose behalf a parent took out a PLUS loan—obtained to attend a school that closed on or after November 1, 2013.

Specifically, if you meet the eligibility requirements for a closed school discharge of your loans obtained to attend a school that closed on or after November 1, 2013, but before July 1, 2020, and you have not enrolled at another school that participates in the federal student aid programs within three years of the date your school closed, you will receive an automatic closed school discharge.

You're generally eligible for a closed school discharge if:

  • you were enrolled when the school closed or
  • you were on an approved leave of absence when your school closed or
  • you withdrew not more than 120 days before the school closed, if your loans were first disbursed before July 1, 2020 (or your school closed within 180 days after you withdrew, if your loans were first disbursed on or after July 1, 2020) and
  • you did not enroll at another Title IV-eligible school within three years of the date the school closed.

If you don't want to wait three years for the automatic discharge, you may apply earlier—as soon as the Department of Education confirms the school's closure date. Also, if you don't get an automatic closed school discharge based on your attendance at a school that closed three or more years ago, but you otherwise meet eligibility requirements for a closed school discharge, you should submit a closed school discharge application. Contact your loan servicer for more information on how to do this.

For more information on closed school discharges, go to the U.S. Department of Education's website on closed school discharges to get more information.

Borrower Defense to Repayment

If you don't qualify for a closed school discharge, you might qualify for loan forgiveness based on a borrower defense to repayment claim, if you can prove that the school defrauded you.

Department of Education Fined for Collecting on Corinthian Loans

On October 24, 2019, former U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education were fined $100,000 for violating a judge's order to stop debt collection efforts against former Corinthian students with pending borrower defense applications. Despite the order, the department had seized students' tax refunds and wages.

In a video statement, the Education Department said loan servicers had "mistakenly" billed approximately 16,000 students and parents, and those borrowers have since been reimbursed. (See Manriquez, et al. v. DeVos, et al., Case No. 17-cv-07210-SK, United States District Court, N.D. California).

Special Program for California Residents: Student Tuition Recovery Fund

California residents enrolled at Corinthian Colleges campuses in California and residents who were enrolled in an out-of-state Corinthian Colleges distance education program as of June 20, 2014, or who withdrew within 120 days of this date, might qualify for reimbursement of private student loans and other money spent on tuition under the state's Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF).

To learn more about the Student Tuition Recovery Fund in California, go to the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education website. You can also email [email protected] or call 888-370-7589.

Private Student Loan Discharges

If you're a resident of a state other than California—or you don't qualify for relief under the STRF—and want to find out if you have any options for discharging private loans you took out to attend a Corinthian school, contact your private loan lender.

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