Biden Cancels $1.5 Billion of Student Loans for Former Westwood College Students

Defrauded students who attended Westwood College will get a full discharge of federal student loans taken out to attend the school.

By , Attorney

On August 30, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education announced that $1.5 billion of student loan debt will be discharged under the borrower defense to repayment rule for 79,000 defrauded borrowers who attended Westwood College.

This student debt relief is in addition to the Biden Administration's cancellation of $10,000 in federal student loan debt ($20,000 if you went to college on Pell Grants) for those earning less than $125,000 per year.

In addition, student loan payments are paused until 2023.

Who Qualifies for a Westwood College Loan Discharge

The Department said it will discharge all remaining federal student loans for borrowers who enrolled in any location of Westwood College, including enrollment in an online program, between January 1, 2002 through November 17, 2015. The school stopped enrolling new students on that date and shut its doors in 2016.

Around 79,000 borrowers, whether or not they've applied for a borrower defense discharge, will get relief. You don't have to take any additional steps to get a discharge.

Westwood College's Conduct Leading to the Student Loan Discharges

The Education Department found that Westwood misled prospective students by misrepresenting that its credentials would help students' career options and earning potential. Specifically, Westwood promised that potential students would be employed in their field within six months after graduation and that a Westwood degree would make them "employable for the rest of [their lives]."

The Education Department also found that Westwood made widespread, substantial misrepresentations to students that its criminal justice program would allow them to get jobs as police officers in Illinois. But Westwood didn't have the accreditation necessary to meet state employment requirements.

Other Student Loan Relief Under the Biden Administration

The Department of Education under President Biden has canceled billions of dollars in federal student loan debt. In addition to the payment relief discussed in this article, the administration has announced that:

Also, the American Rescue Plan Act exempts student debt forgiveness from federal taxation until January 1, 2026, and covers Direct Loans, FFELs, and private student loans. (Forgiven amounts might be taxable in some states.)

Effective date: August 30, 2022